It is valuable to ask what flaws might exist in this work. In no way is TAGR “perfect”…it is, rather, the best of its type ever written, which is quite enough.
But it is also fair to ask what changes an individual might make in any text. Those changes wouldn’t necessarily make the text BETTER, but at least it would be more complete or useful in that one person’s opinion. Here are some thoughts:
1) The biggest single issue I have personally is that it doesn’t say much about the protection of money once you have it. The book “Richest Man In Babylon” fills this gap nicely, specifically the recommendation to save 10% of everything you earn for retirement or passing to the next generation. A FABULOUS suggestion, which creates an entire cascade of positive effects. Man oh man, if I’d done this when I started my career, life would have been HUGELY more stable. Arguably the largest material flaw of my entire existence.
2) It is incredibly simple considering the amount of information it contains…but still very complicated. It is possible that some of the aspects of Mind could have been confined in fewer chapters. Maybe.
3) Some of the book is rather charmingly out of date. I mean, it was written before WW2, and there are scientific, social and psychological theories and are rather quaint, and in some instances, just flat wrong. This gives room for people to discount the very real and valuable information that is timeless.
4) It can seem overly positive, without admitting that luck and innate capacity play as large a part as they do. On the other hand, the “Mastermind” can indeed compensate for much, and except in extreme cases, “luck” does favor the prepared mind…and the bold. This is a fine line. Ultimately, I think I have to say that we get far, far more urging to limit our dreams than we do to go for it. If I had to fail to one side or the other, I suppose it is better to be too optimistic.
5) It is unfortunate that the book was written when it was, and the vast majority of its examples are white males. This can make it difficult to “translate” some of the concepts for POC and women. In addition, there are quite a few VERY male-centric comments and theories, which may present problems as well. But you know what? I’ve known dozens of women who adore the book, and not one of them has complained much about this, although they do bring it up humorously. There are a few unfortunate racial comments as well, but frankly I find Hill to have been remarkably “enlightened” about race…for his time. All in all, far better for it to have been written too early than too late.
6) I wonder what he would have made of some of the more advanced tools: NLP, Eriksonian Hypnosis, Transactional Analysis, Behavioral Modification and other things, as well as tools of meditation from Asian and other cultures. Hill’s book seeks to help people align their inner and outer worlds to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness. And did it so well that virtually every other “success” book can be traced back to it one way or another. But there ARE better techniques than emotionalized repetition of words and visualizations. Or…maybe they are merely refinements. Really, his techniques work.
Overall, what do I think?
1) Nothing can promise you success, just as no driving course can guarantee you won’t have an accident, and no martial art guarantee you won’t lose a fight. But I cannot imagine anyone using even 10% of the information in this book and not improving their results. And someone using 90% of it…?
2) Honestly, I’ve never met a successful person who did not deliberately or accidentally, consciously or unconsciously, use the techniques in this book, display the attitudes, hold the beliefs, take the actions in some form. Not a single one. In fact, I’ll go far enough to say that you cannot point out a successful individual who does NOT use the principles, and would have a very difficult time finding an unsuccessful individual who uses, say as much as 25% of what is contained in these pages.
How does this book relate to social change? Again, applying the “Five Fold” method (oh, I’ll find a trick acronym to help us remember the steps eventually. Don’t have it yet though.)
1) Love yourself. You have to do this to combat fear, convince yourself you are worthy of greater accomplishment, free yourself from needing to get the approval of others. You are as worth fighting for as your own helpless, beloved child would be. ANY lesser willingness to give it “everything” is a sign of negative implantation. In addition, if you BEGIN with the feeling of love and connection, you simply enjoy the process of life far more deeply than those who can only feel “good” if they accomplish. Don’t “accomplish to be happy” but rather “happily accomplish.” Any time I council someone in despair or fear about the state of the world, wondering how we will ever survive and heal, I remind them to BE THE CHANGE THEY WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD. It starts with them. How can they expect their community, or America to heal if THEY cannot? And the antidote for fear…is love.
2) Expand your sense of “self” to include others. This is the beginning of understanding. The Khoisan “Num” belief, that we are “One soul looking out through many eyes” is a beautiful statement of this. And it allows us to begin the “Soul Mate” process where you find someone traveling your road, at your speed, and bond with them to create a life partnership or family. The family has ALWAYS been the primary building block of society. When the family is strong, society is strong. And the opposite is true as well. Being a strong individual with a strong marriage/partnership is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself…or the world.
3) Understand the flow of human history without guilt, blame, or shame. In American history, this means that what happened to black people was not a matter of special evil on the part of whites, and the way blacks responded to that damage was not indicative of incapacity on their part. Europe didn’t “take” Africa because the individuals were superior or inferior, but because accidents of history and geography allowed Europeans to leverage their capacities in amazing and wonderful and sometimes tragic ways. As you forgive yourself and others, you need to understand animal behavior, the formation of human societies, the flow and development of technology and information systems such that you can release the feelings of inferiority or superiority that cripple your ability to just…see human beings.
What I call the “Southern Matrix” of racism and self-justification is about rationalizing the need for cheap human labor and self-excuse of the violations and abominations related to the institution which evolved to support that need. Further, the belief systems (racial inferiority) that supported it, and the whole amazing rafts of bullshit to justify the history that followed. Ugh. Continued to this day. Massive amounts of fear and guilt and denial. And on the other side, anger and hatred on the part of those who suffered…along with a toxic mixture of superiority and inferiority complexes. SO many black people are secretly afraid that whites are correct in considering them inferior. Just tragic. Free yourself. IMO, all that is needed to rid yourself of being intimidated by anyone, ever, is to free yourself from the sense that anyone should be intimidated by you.
4) Identify your tribe. Find your “mastermind” among those who believe in human equality, especially those who pass the first three “gates” of perception. Those who are “awakened adults” or who wish to become awakened: they can be led. But those asleep dreaming they are awake? Still caught within the illusions of pain and fear? Build a better world for them to awaken to, but let them sleep. And of course, learn to identify the monsters. Avoid them when possible, but be prepared to deal with them head-on if necessary. The children are not safe if no one will tread on the snakes. Offer them peace, and if they cannot accept it, and continue to attack, defend yourself. Most are cowards and will back down. Those who will not, and are strong enough to hurt you? There are more of us than there are of Them. Form alliances. Make sure you have people to watch your back. I sure as hell do, and I treasure them.
5) SUCCEED. Massively as you can, according to your goals and dreams, in alignment with your deepest values. Nothing is as attractive or convincing as success. If you can radiate “aliveness” and joy…are a healthy animal…have a passionate love relationship and are living your dream people will want to know what you’re doing. Such people have “charisma.” They are congruent, and can stand before a crowd and speak honestly and openly and spontaneously about their experiences, and inspire thousands. BE THAT PERSON. Even if you choose a quiet existence, you show by your very presence that IT IS POSSIBLE TO WIN AND STILL BE A GOOD PERSON. People are desperate to know this. DESPERATE. They are so afraid that you have to cheat, steal, lie, or prostitute yourself to accomplish. To “sell out” to succeed. That you have to become something you are not.
No. You have to become what you truly ARE. This is what you learn if you take step #1, and ONLY if you have consciously or unconsciously taken this step.
So we travel the five steps, each of which could be a lifetime study. And we have juxtaposed it against the thirteen steps of the greatest secular self-improvement book ever written. I ask you to ask questions, or challenge me on any of these points. Make me prove or extend my thesis. Show me what I’m not considering. Ask for specific means to utilize these ideas.
Here’s my first suggestion: use the M.A.G.I.C. Formula in connection with a “Morning Ritual” of motion, thought, and emotion:
Action, constant and passionate
Gratitude for the blessings in your life
Intentions, clear and balanced, and
Conviction that you Can and Should pursue your goals successfully.
Again, by grafting these thoughts onto TAGR, I can think of no better way to help individuals or society, in alignment with what I have experienced to be true in life. And those of you who agree?
You are my tribe, and I love you dearly.