Book review #1: The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

The Success Principles, written by Jack Canfield, is a comprehensive, detailed guide to achieving success. Jack teaches how to live an abundantly rich and fulfilling life using the wisdom and teachings of successful, accomplished people in various fields. To collate The Success Principles Jack interviewed over 70 professionals – from engineers to business people to spiritual advisors – and so these principles can be put into practice by virtually anyone.


In this review I’ll breakdown the structure and content of The Success Principles and share my key learning points.

Part 1: The Principles to Success

Canfield starts by empowering his readers. He states that your dreams are achievable and not only do you deserve to live a great life, it is your right to do so. I was encouraged to develop a vision of my future in precise detail: what it looks like, where I am living, the things I’m doing, etc.

Jack then goes on to affirm the importance of self-belief, giving specific examples and testimonies of the power of self-belief, and further exploring goal-setting and visualisation.

For example, Tim Ferriss became the national San Shou kickboxing champion after only 6 weeks of playing the sport. He won because he decided exactly what he wanted and worked diligently on his strengths to win the title. Yes, it did take a lot of hard work but what really made all the difference was his self-belief.

Part 2: Transform yourself for Success

In this section Canfield describes the specifics of self-belief and achieving goals. He discusses the obstacles to attaining success and how to overcome them. He covers beliefs derived from one’s upbringing, emotions of guilt, hatred, fear and denial, as well as negative self-talk.

Jack follows by giving specific techniques that can help you to take action now. For example, he talks about getting motivated by learning from others. This could be in the form of audio programmes or personal growth seminars. He also suggests implementing new habits such as reducing the amount of TV you watch, keeping a daily gratitude journal, reading everyday and talking to yourself like you’re a winner.

Part 3: Build Your Success Team

Building your success team means surrounding yourself with the people who can make you grow and thrive. It’s about finding the right people such as mentors or coaches that can guide and support you on your journey.

One thing Jack does stress is delegating, that is identifying the tasks you could give to someone else so that you have increased time to focus on your genius: what you are particularly skilled at. Moreover, it’s probable that those other activities can be performed to a greater level by someone else.

These chapters are essentially about taking control and putting yourself in the driving seat by getting the resources you need to succeed (time, knowledge, capital). The key here though is to be proactive and committed to your objective.

Part 4: Creative Successful Relationships

Here we learn how to become a better, more loving and open human being so that we strengthen existing relationships and create a solid foundation for new ones. Jack talks about having integrity and being an honest person, someone who means what they say and says what they mean. Underlying these principles is communication and Heart Talks is a good example of this.

A Heart Talk is a conversation between two or more people where the only person who is allowed to speak is the one holding the heart. But you don’t have to use a heart. You could use a book or a stuffed animal. It’s just needs to be big enough to be seen by everyone in the discussion.

Whilst the person with the heart is speaking, everyone else has to listen patiently and attentively. When their time is up the next person is given the heart to speak and when they’re done the heart is passed to the next person and so on. After the heart has been held once by everyone the second round of talks begin. If you don’t have anything else to say you skip your turn and pass the heart to the next person. The talk ends when each person has skipped the heart at least twice i.e. all that was needed to be said has been said.

The Heart Talk is effective because it forces you to speak your mind and release any emotions that have been retained. Furthermore, you get the chance to listen to the worries and concerns of others in your team or family. Overall, you ensure better communication and problems can begin to be resolved.

Part 5: Success and Money

This part includes a thorough guide to attracting wealth and money. Of course you have to seek-out the knowledge first, but the laws for generating and maintaining wealth have always existed and will continue to exist, and so it’s our responsibility to adhere to them.

Jack stresses that you have to decide what you want your income to be and concentrate your efforts on getting there. His tips including tracking your spending, investing, differentiating between liabilities and assets, tithing (giving 10% of your income to charitable causes), paying yourself first and seeking out proper financial expertise.

There’s plenty of advice to provide anyone with the essential tools for good money management and help more experienced savers meet bigger financial goals.

Part 6: Success Starts Now

As if we weren’t already super motivated to make a change, Jack gives us a final push towards living our best life, highlighting the importance of uplifting others as you continue to excel in your journey.

The Wrap Up

The Success Principles will be an excellent reference book for me for when I need a top up of motivation or if I’m looking for greater clarity in life. This book is packed with so much useful advice, covering all aspects of personal development, that it makes not getting started absolutely impossible.

I have already recommended this book to two friends who are loving every page. Jack Canfield is a positive guy on a mission to empower people and encourage them to do and be better. More power to him.

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