Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina: A Review

Personal Development for Smart People

Steve Pavlina is an A-list personal development blogger, a prolific self-help writer whose website attracts two million visitors each month. It is one of my go-to websites, offering more than 700 thought-provoking articles on life, love, careers, health, lucid dreams, inspiration and plenty more. Buy Now on Amazon

In October 2008, Steve published his first book, titled Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth. The book received an extremely positive response from Amazon reviewers - averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Besides personal development, it's no secret that Steve Pavlina is also a fan of lucid dreaming. He has has written numerous articles on his website about lucid dreams, consciousness, the nature of reality and similar concepts - without alienating those who haven't experienced this kind of amazing mind phenomena before. It's well worth checking out.


Personal Development for Smart People

If you like Steve Pavlina's website, there's a decent chance you'll enjoy the book, too. It's written in his usual confident, to-the-point style, accessible to anyone who considers themselves a smart person. How do you know if you are a smart person? As Steve himself puts it: if you have to ask, you probably aren't.

Steve pitches his personal brand of philosophy in the following way: there are seven universal growth principles in this world. They are all connected and yet can all be applied independently to any area of your life - habits, careers, finances, relationships, health, spiritual development, and others.

The book is broken down into two parts; first the fundamental principles, then the practical applications of them. In his inimitable style, Steve makes it abundantly clear what you need to do to make changes in your life for the better. The result is an engrossing read with clear real life applications.

The Fundamental Principles

Here is a brief summary of those fundamental principles. When I first laid eyes on this list I thought Steve had gone all New Age on us. Some of the principles seemed far too broad and touchy-feely to be as universally applicable as he made out. However, getting into the book makes it clear he has thought deeply about these principles and what they represent. So don't let the title headers put you off:

  • Truth - Accept reality and rid your life of falsehood and denial
  • Love - Improve your ability to connect with yourself and others
  • Power - Build your motivation and discipline to create the life you desire
  • Oneness - Stop fighting against resistance, and make the world your ally
  • Authority - Take command of your life, and learn to make clear decisions
  • Courage - Summon the inner strength to take action in spite of fear
  • Intelligence - Live authentically, and express your genuine creativity

This first half of the book gives you a big picture to relate to, with each chapter focusing on a specific principle. Even in the theory section, I felt overwhelmed by the ideas and potential applications for these principles. Although they are entirely based on Steve's personal and subjective experiences, I see no reason why they don't apply to everyone. Steve is a human being, last time I checked, and a smart one at that.

The Practical Applications

The second half of the book takes these seven concepts and lays out a practical guidebook for personal growth. This is the hardest part of personal development - not actually coming up with the theory but putting it into action. Most of us need a serious kick up the butt when it comes to taking action, and so, with specific instructions, Steve explains how to improve your life by applying his universal growth principles:

  • Habits - Create a daily routine that gives you a sense of flow
  • Career - Build a career you're truly passionate about
  • Money - Achieve financial abundance without compromising your integrity
  • Health - Adopt health habits that empower your physical body
  • Relationships - Enjoy loving relationships that help you grow
  • Spirituality - Raise your awareness and live more consciously

Your Universal Growth Compass

Steve describes his seven principles as a "universal growth compass", which can be applied to any part of your life, when you apply the right lens.

Steve has a grounded view of reality, and yet he is not afraid to tackle abstract concepts from different walks of life. His writing is compelling and always leaves me with that "aha!" feeling which inspires me to implement his advice right away. In fact, I've no doubt that once you read Personal Development for Smart People, you will adopt new strategies of your own in whatever parts of your life that seem most lacking right now.

For instance, you might suddenly wonder why you go about the same mundane day job - when you could pursue your life purpose; something that really gives you reason to evolve as a person. Steve offers intelligent ways to identify which career path is right for you. Armed with this new drive or life purpose, you will seek out new ways to earn a living and fulfill your basic needs as a creative human being.

Or perhaps you find it hard to connect with strangers. In this case, a single adjustment in your perception can turn anyone into a friend who you feel you have known your whole life. I understand this is not an easy step - but it is manageable with time, and Steve offers constructive ways to adjust your outlook accordingly, with powerful techniques like The Time Travel Meditation.

Personal Development for Smart PeopleIn fact, Steve Pavlina argues that any specific problem can be corrected when armed with this principle-centered approach to personal growth.

So if you are feeling unfulfilled in one or more areas of your life, or just want an intelligent read that may make you think twice...

Take a look at Personal Development for Smart People - and find yourself empowered to change the way you live.Buy Now on Amazon

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Read the first chapter for free.