4 out of 4 stars
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I've always been a fan of self-improvement books, especially the motivational ones with a positive, encouraging author. Even if I continue spending most of my time relaxing, reading books and playing video games I come away feeling happier due to the outpouring of positivity. However, Darin Colucci's Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success is one of the first self-improvement books that immediately made a change in my life. I actually had a hard time focusing on the last two chapters because I was so excited about putting the advice to work!
Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success is a step-by-step guide to finding what you want in life and going for it. Darin starts by defining, explaining and giving examples of "confident clarity" - being able to confidently state exactly what you want. Darin uses Derek Jeter as an excellent example, pointing out that in 5th grade he confidently wrote for an assignment, "I'm going to play shortstop for the New York Yankees." From here, Darin covers fear and how to resist or overcome it, how to find good advice and ignore the bad, and the importance of a positive attitude, good manners and unwavering perseverance among other topics. Each chapter covers one specific key, including examples (either from Darin's own life or from the lives of successful people like Steven King, Jim Carrey and Jerry Weintraub), and then recaps with The Takeaway (a bullet-point, super-brief summary) and a Task (an assignment to instill the lesson into your own life). The book then ends 10 small changes that can have great results like showing gratitude, finding the right friends and the awesomeness of to-do lists (Darin specifically says they're awesome!).
Darin's writing is incredibly encouraging and easy to follow. Also, because the book focuses on the overall attitudes and traits of success, they can apply to anyone in any field. As I said earlier, I enjoy self-improvement books so I've read a great deal of them. Much of Darin's book has been covered in other titles, but the way he does it is much more enjoyable to read, more easily digested and - most importantly - it encourages putting into practice. Typically when I'm done with a self-improvement title I feel empowered and encouraged, but it fades away a day or so later. With Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success I was so excited that I had trouble finishing the book, and I'm already making plans to work toward my own dream. That alone makes the book a huge success in my eyes!
I really enjoyed just how unique some of the chapters were. Self-improvement books often cover the same concepts, but Darin had at least a few very unique ones: reaching out to other successful people and volunteering. Darin suggests finding someone who has found great success in a field you're interested in and then reaching out to them. It sounds simple but Darin gives some great tips for how to do so, and he says it in a way that really makes me believe I can do it. Volunteering is something I always thought of as just something one does to help the needy, but Darin uses it like an internship that you make up yourself. Who wouldn't want a free employee at their company? Darin is quick to point out that volunteering somewhere and then giving less than your all defeats the purpose - if you find somewhere to volunteer and learn more about what you love you should give it 100% and show them what you can do even though you're not making a cent for it. At the least you'll end up with a great referral, but you may even work yourself into a paying job!
There wasn't a single page of this book I didn't enjoy, which makes it incredibly easy to give the book 4 out of 4 stars. It's perfectly edited, the format is superb, the writing is very enjoyable and the subject is covered excellently. Anyone who feels like they could be doing better with their life should invest in Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success by Darin Colucci. Just as I can't think of a single flaw with the book, I can't think of a single person who shouldn't read this book.
Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success
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