Simple truths tend to ring loudest. Such is the case with Heidi Grant Halvorson’s simple book 9 Things Successful People Do Differently. It’s not an exhaustive tome by any means but it is a very accessible and applicable read in the same lane occupied by the timeless One Minute Manager.
It’s not often my daughter encourages ME to write about a business topic. Particularly because she is in 4th grade. Nonetheless, she did. The journey started exactly a year ago when I gave her a copy of Halvorson’s little red book to read on a flight from LAX to DFW. It looked like an interesting title on the habits of successful people and it appeared accessible for my 8-year old who sits in a 3rd grade classroom M-F while reading and engaging on a 7th grade level. (She’s still a bit young for Blue Ocean, but I have a copy on stand-by – ha, ha) Also, the author being a woman gave me the opportunity to reinforce the vision I have consistently shared with my daughter: You are among a new generation of women that will make an even greater impact in life and business as the male dominated world evolves. So I handed her the book and off we flew.
I was and I wasn’t prepared for the response. At the end of each chapter she talked to me a bit about the core point and I asked her a couple questions which led to more discussion followed by me encouraging her to make a note or two in the book itself at the end of each chapter. The surprising angle, which should not be so surprising, was that she related each chapter’s core point to the context in which she lives. In chapter 5 Halvorson describes getting better rather than being good. My daughter related this to reading. She measures the number of words she reads and set a goal to read 2 million words in 3rd grade, which she achieved. Without my prompting she explained how she can ONLY get better at reading. She noted that CAN’T merely get good at it because her school won’t let her. How? Well, upon achieving a new reading level, the instructors praise the student appropriately and promptly move the finish line to the next level which has a new list of interesting books. There you go, she experiences “getting Better rather than being Good” in real life.
This chapter-by-chapter dialogue continued until she finished the book. Then came the question “Do you tell people about books like this?” followed by “Are you going to tell them about this one?” So, here I am.
So, a bit of a spoiler alert – here’s Halvorson’s list:
- Get Specific
- Sieze the Moment to Act on Your Goals
- Know Exactly How Far You Have Left to Go
- Be a Realistic Optimist
- Focus on Getting Better, Rather Than Being Good
- Have Grit
- Build Your Willpower Muscle
- Don’t Tempt Fate
- Focus on What You Will Do, Not What You Won’t Dot
For the very good commentary that accompanies each chapter, go pickup 2 copies – one for you and one for a son/daughter or niece/nephew. You may be surprised at the outcome.