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The Present - A Book Review

Remember when you were younger? Do you remember the joy in earning a couple of dollars for mowing lawns or babysitting? Remember when you were happy getting a few odd jobs to make a little pocket change to buy a toy? What happened when you got older? Where did the enjoyment go? When did your career become a tedious job? The Present – The Gift that Makes you Happy and Successful at Work and in Life, by Spencer Johnson takes us on journey to rediscover that lost joy.

As with most books by Spencer Johnson and Ken Blanchard, The Present is told in story telling mode with valuable lessons to be learned by both the story character and the reader. The Present begins with the story of a young boy who becomes lifelong friends with an old man. The old man begins to tell the boy the story of “the present.” Out of all the presents the boy would ever receive in life, this one would be the most valuable. This starts the boy on a journey, throughout his life, to find “the present.”

Like most kids, the idea of a present is always something tangible, but the boy was to learn this present was not. During his childhood, the boy took great joy in the simple things. He would whistle as he did work mowing his neighbor’s yards, always wondering what the present could be. As he grew older, he became more dissatisfied in his work and relationships. His hopes of becoming happier could not seem to come true. As he grew older his career suffered even more - eventually costing him a promotion. Once a star, he began making mistakes and experienced even more difficulties. Throughout his life, he would return to the old man to talk about the present.

All Spencer Johnson books take readers on a journey – offering many motivational moments along the way. For example, “Success is becoming who you are capable of being and progressing toward worthwhile goals.” We learn that we each define success in our own way. What one may think of their success is totally different from someone else’s. I found the most inspiring tip is to learn to focus on now and learning to respond to what is important now. This will help to shape a successful future.

While I love the fact that Spencer Johnson’s books are always a short read, the endings are always predictable in that the character will solve the problem and the readers will always be left with a positive “moral of the story.” Despite the predictable ending, it’s the journey which is most important therefore the book is insightful and definitely worth the read.

This book is part of my personal career library.


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