Review of John T. Reed’s Succeeding

January 11th, 2010

Disclosure: John T. Reed does not offer any affiliate programs.  Therefore, I make no money from my review one way or the other

John T. Reed is a real-estate guru who is famous for his guru ratings page.  In addition to writing books on real estate investment, he also writes on self-publishing and youth football.  I have read some of his real estate investment books, and decided to try out his book “Succeeding”.

The reason I chose this book for my first review is because John T. reed does not sell this book in any bookstore.  You have to buy it from his site.  So, there are really no real reviews of his book.  Buyers have to buy it on faith.

And that’s a shame because it is all and all a good, practical book on the subject at hand—Succeeding.

The Good

If you are looking for a book that tells you that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, then this is NOT the book.

Reed’s “Succeeding” is much more thorough.  It’s a book of nuts and bolts advice that, if followed, will increase your chance of achieving your goals.

The best thing I like it how Reed starts from the premise that there are some things you can control and some things you cannot.  And we should work on the things we can change and not worry about the things we cannot.

Great stuff, if not slightly borrowed from Epictetus.

But it’s amazing how many personal development books don’t make the distinction and leave you feeling worthless because you can’t change what they promised you could.

Reed is of the opinion that you can’t change your personality and you should tailor to your strengths instead of trying to fix your weaknesses.

I couldn’t agree more.

He also gives good advice on investment, I thought his advice on index funds sounded too simplistic till I called up my financial planner and realized that Reed was pretty much on the money.

Reed also covers one thing you NEVER find in success books:  risk

A lot of success books try to live up to the Old West cowboy gambler stereotype.  Reed does not subscribe to that theory. Gambling big, though it sounds great, also means you lose big.  That’s probably why professional gamblers never bet their whole bankroll.

So his chapter on risk is a welcome change.

But the one thing he does that I like is put money in its proper prospective.  Yes, money is important (and he has a couple of chapters on wealth and investment) but it’s not everything.

One interesting part is Reed’s section on spousal choice.  His advice: date 40 marriageable women before getting married and live together beforehand.

The Bad

I read another of Reed’s books on self-publishing.  In it, he encourages writers who self-publish not to hire editors.  He seems to believe that he’s just fine without one.  That, however, is not my opinion.

Reed most certainly could have used an editor.  For example, Reed rightly notes in his book that going to West Point and Harvard can be a disadvantage in that people feel bad about it. In Succeeding, however, he mentions the fact those two facts so often that even I (who think it is awesome that he did both of those things) am starting to think enough already, John, I get it.

Also, I thought the book was not well-organized in places.  I was having trouble following the book until I realized that the chapters weren’t necessarily linked by any theme.  I almost put the book down before it started to come together.

An editor could have fixed that too.

Also, the book itself is simply a comb-over style binding.  Reed likes it, but I don’t.  I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I would like it to be a bit better.

One last thing is that Reed’s tone can come off as “preachy”.  I don’t have a problem with it personally, but some people will find it off-putting.  Go to Reed’s web site and you’ll get a taste of how he writes.  If it bothers you, you won’t want to read this book.

The Verdict

Despite the bad, I recommend “Succeeding”.  It is a refreshing change of pace from other books on the subject.  You may not agree with everything Reed says (I certainly don’t), but a lot of what he says makes sense.

All in all the book will make you think and it’s a welcome change of pace from a lot of the other books out there on the subject.

If you want a copy of Succeeding, you’ll need to order it directly from Reed. You can get it here.

As I noted above, I get no commission if you buy the book off my recommendation.  But if you do order it, please let him know that Carlon Haas from Don’t Step in the Poop sent you.

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