Vandervort notes that an unexamined life is not worth living and teaches readers how to pay attention.
“What is it that makes the top 1 percent of the population more successful than the other 99 percent?” They make it happen, says the author. What is “it”? Life, love, luck, family, health, wealth and happiness—the whole caboodle. But Vandervort doesn’t just get the blood pumping. He gives guidance and declares that the responsibility for leading a gratifying life belongs to the reader: “As the captain of your ship, you have set the course to your destiny.” Each chapter ends with a summary and what might be called a checklist/quiz: Are goals measurable, achievable and results-oriented? These action steps force one to focus. The guide also encourages readers to question their own assumptions. For example, Vandervort asks, “What are your political views, and why do you hold these particular views?” He encourages the reader to write these views down and offers guidance on other issues as well, including establishing a professional team within the workplace, considering estate planning, locating and reviewing insurance policies, analyzing when and when not to use technology and assessing friendships. The overall message is to remain vigilant, be aware. David Foster Wallace might have said those words with more empathy, but few have said them with more vehemence. Vandervort is a nuts-and-bolts man, even when talking about birth control, budgeting or recovering old skills. He believes it’s all up to the reader. “Make no excuses: you can achieve whatever it is that you want out of life, but it is up to you and only you to make it happen,” he says. Giving up is not an option, though everyone will fail time and again, suggests the author. The point is to learn from those failures and be that much more prepared for the next encounter.
A hardheaded, no-nonsense guide to living an attentive, effective life.