Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: Racing Towards Excellence

A copy of the book, Racing Towards Excellence, Demystifying The Inside Track to Academic Career and Financial Outperformance, by Muzaffar Khan and Jan Sramek, was sent to me to read and review. The book has 274 pages and was published by Leveraged Publishing of London in 2009.

This book is divided into two sections. The first one is called "Theory" and the second part is called "Practice". The book is written mainly to college students and young adults but it applies to any person of any age group. It explains the importance of personal development and gives the reader steps to do that. It tells about life skills being needed to accomplish your goals and becoming a balanced person.

The first section of the book seemed to ramble to me. It gave a little background information about the authors lives and how they came to write the book.

A point that the book made was that our lives are made up of four accounts which is the framework of our performance and happiness. These accounts are:

  • Emotional Health

  • Material Health

  • Mental Health

  • Physical Health

You must invest in all four accounts to have happiness. Because each account needs a positive balance for survival, each account is important. If any account gets too low, you cannot be happy. If you are hurting on the inside because of a failed relationship or you feel rejected by others, it could lead to depression. This does not lead to happiness no matter how much money you have.

The book defines success and long term happiness as one and the same.

The objective of this book is to help you understand yourself and build solid foundations for your personal development.

One thing that the book states is that you should treat yourself and others in a nurturing way. This will add to each of your four accounts. You can create either virtuous cycles or vicious circles for yourself by your actions and habits. You must be willing to defer gratification in order to wait to obtain something you want of value.

The habits you have show whether you are treating yourself with loving intentions or not. If you repeatedly do things that hurt your life, you are not treating yourself with love. You can start a new action and make it into a habit in your life in 30 days. If you change one bad habit and replace it with a good habit you are on your way to changing your life for the better. After thirty days you will have the momentum to keep changing your bad habits into good ones.

Three simple ways to improve your performance are:

  • Learn to read faster.

  • Learn to memorize.

  • Learn to type faster.

These are ways to improve your performance that most people don't really think about. It helps in learning and studying for exams and it helps your on the job performance as well.

The authors also give ideas on time management. Some of them are:

  • Use your personal time wisely by evaluating how you use your time.

  • Technology and computers are part of our daily lives. Learn to use them more efficiently so they do not become time wasters.

In the last part of the book it discusses leisure being an important part of our lives. It helps to decrease stress in our lives. Do things you enjoy not just things that are comfortable. Do things that are not harmful to your life. You can change your leisure habits so that they are more enjoyable and at the same time help your performance in life and not hinder it.

I think the main point I got out of the book is that you need to treat yourself and others with loving intentions. In this way you help yourself and the people around you at the same time. Keeping your life in balance leads to happiness.

The one thing that I saw from a christian perspective is that I feel they left God out of the equation. He is our power to change the one that guides us into the right paths.

Racing Towards Excellence

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