“It’s time to direct your energy to the things you love, the things that allow you to thrive, and the things that make you human and allow you to feel what it means to live a life on purpose.”
It has been ages since I’ve read anything besides fiction and maybe the occasional memoir or biography. I can’t remember the last time I read a self help book besides this one. So when I saw that “A Productivity Book” held the number 1 spot on my 52 book reading challenge I did a bit of internal grumbling. Don’t I feel silly now, because not only did I enjoy this book very much, but I needed this book. Let’s just start with the opening lines:
Wow, do I feel simultaneously impressed while also feeling personally attacked (only mildly). This first page made me feel uncomfortable, because, yes, he was speaking to me. Directly to me. Because I’ve had these very thoughts. How many of us haven’t had those feelings at some point in our lives? Neves poses these uncomfortable questions for a reason, and he doesn’t hold back throughout the rest of the book. It’s a series of uncomfortable questions and statements that leave us feeling a bit vulnerable and questioning just about everything. However, what Neves does that’s important is he gives us the tools for grappling with the answers to these questions.
To be honest, while I read this book, I had my post draft open so I could make note of notable quotes I might want to use. I wound up with 15 of them. 15!!! No, I’m not going to throw 15 quotes at you in this review. The point is, that’s how many statements I deemed poignant and important enough to share with potential readers who might pick up his book. And really, if you at all feel a little stuck in your existence or, perhaps, wake up dreading the day or maybe even just some little facet of your day, this book is something you should read. For my part, I’m tired. Tired of wishing I had made one decision over another. Tired of feeling like I don’t really live up to my potential. And tired of blaming other people for things I didn’t reach for and didn’t achieve in life. And I’m tired of not being present for the things that are truly important.
While I can’t relate to every aspect of Neves’ story, there’s a lot I can. For instance, I’m not internet famous. I’m probably not viewed as even remotely successful by any stretch of the imagination, but I still grapple with fears and inadequacies and regrets. I tend to look nostalgically toward the past as the best time in my life to which I surely will never return, and that’s not fair. That’s not fair to me, and it’s not fair to my family who deserves the best of me every day. The best advice I got from Neves in this book is to live every day as if the best thing to happen to me hasn’t happened yet.
Neves’ approach is all about adjusting your attitude so that you are your own advocate, that you invest in your own future and believe in yourself in a meaningful way. But he doesn’t just encourage these things with memorable quotes. The book is full of written exercises that he encourages you to actually do so that you can gather your own thoughts in a journal form that you can look back on. These all encourage digging deep and really getting to inner truths you maybe have been ignoring for some time. If you don’t hold yourself accountable, who will? But it’s also pinpointing what you actually want for yourself and encouraging you to prioritize that and recommit yourself every day to that intended purpose.
This is a short book. It’s only 236 easily digestible pages. It’s simply put, but it packs a lot in. Neves doesn’t waste any time waxing poetic. He gets straight to the point with useful but poignant advice. Many of his stories are also quite humorous or touching, and that helps make his book more relatable. Neves is also a life coach and keynote speaker on leadership and career success, and he has a podcast called The Best Thing. This podcast would be a great companion to this book. In it, per his website, he talks to other people about the best thing to happen to them outside of “the traditional markers of success like getting married, having kids, graduating from college or buying a house.”
Overall, I thought this was a fabulous and important book for anyone to read, no matter how successful or not you feel in life in your public or internet profile. We all need a little something even if it’s just a shift in perspective.