Review of Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within

February 2nd, 2010

Disclosure: Everyone says that that Tony Robbins is an amazing speaker.  But I have NEVER heard Tony Robbins speak.  My only “contact” with Tony Robbins was watching him in “Shallow Hal.”  So, my review covers this book “Awaken the Giant Within” ONLY and does not take not account the man himself, the other products he sells, or the quality of his seminars/programs.

The Good

I can definitely say that this book was not cheesed in any way.  It’s 512 pages of small font writing.  There was only one problem: he really doesn’t seem to say much.   As a writer, I did like the chapter on changing vocabulary.  Words are important in how you describe yourself and others.   The checklists he gives on “power words” in the vocabulary chapter is quite useful.  It’s also important if you are a writer.

I originally bought this book as a way to help me make better decisions.  But the most I got out of the decision section was simply “make more decisions.”  And that was probably the most helpful part of the book.

The Bad

Right from the beginning of this book, my poop detector started going off.  Robbins begins the book with a story about riding in a helicopter and realizing just 12 years ago he was the janitor at some building.  Not the same as “I was living in my car…” but it comes close.

Then there’s how  outdated the book felt.  This book is chockfull of stories to illustrate what Robbins is trying to tell you.  The problem?

You ever seen “The Wedding Singer?”  There’s a  scene where the wedding photographer shop says to a couple that they’ll last forever, like “Ivana and Donald, Woody and Mia, and Burt and Loni”

Well, that’s the same feeling I get when reading this book.

He talks about a private school that closed down.  And the story of how happy Billy Joel is now that he married Christy Brinkley was especially comical given the present state of that marriage.

All I can say is UPDATE THE BOOK!

Usually, these kinds of books are full of inspiroof (proof by inspirational story).  Now, that is bad enough.  But  this book gives you inspiroof s of people who never actually followed the system in question.  The system being NAC (not NLP: nero-linguistic programming. Totally different, right?  Note to self: make new program NLT: Neuro-linguistic training).

When a book gives you insiroof of people who don’t follow your system, it insults my intelligence.  I mean,imagine a Christian missionary  who’s trying to get you to follow Christianity and used the Buddha as an example of someone who followed the teachings of Jesus.  That guy would be laughed out the door.

And THAT brings me to the part of the book that annoyed me the most: Robbins’ non-stop self-promotion.

Tony Robbins definitely has a high opinion of himself.  I actually spit out some of the water I was drinking when I saw that he quoted himself in his own book.  He quotes the Bible, Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, and himselfThat takes some serious conjones.  I should have put that up there  with the good part of the review.

The book also constantly makes reference to his other products and the amazing results.   At many points in the book, I thought I was reading sales copy.

In fact,  I started wondering which copywriter wrote this book.  I mean wow…I could not help but get that feeling that if I really want to learn the things in this book, I should try Tony’’s seminars or other products.  At least that was the point of most of the book.

Look, I read a book to get information and learn something—not to read sales copy.

A lot of ads stress results  like a better lifestyle, more money, etc. rather than the nuts and bolts.  Robbins seems like he’s doing the same thing.  OK, Tony, I get it.  You have money, a great wife (well, had), and you’re just as successful as you can be.

Frankly, I don’t read these books to hear about how wonderful the author’s life is.  And what’s the point?  How often does Steven Covey mention himself in the 7 Habits?  I don’t envy Tony Robbins.  I have no idea if his life is any better than mine.  The fact is I am not interested in his life.  I am interested in my life.  And in “Awaken the Giant Within”, Robbins talks about himself so much that I started wondering if it were an autobiography.

The Verdict

I absolutely do NOT, recommend this book.  It was all fluff and no substance.  And I think I’m being kind to say that.  This book does something that I see in public speaking that I call spooking.  Spooking is when someone gives  a speech where they don’t actually give out any information, but just say enough to get people to buy whatever you’re selling.

For example, I once sat for an hour where this guy gave a speech on how to use speaking to promote your business.  The whole time he just kept saying how wonderful it was to be a speaker and what a great lifestyle it was.  And then to cap it of, he had a $5,000 bootcamp to sell to you.  In other words, I didn’t learn a damned thing about how to use public speaking to promote my business.  I was given an hour-long sales pitch.  I was “spooked”.

This book felt just like that.

I was so disappointed by this book that I jumped online to see why people like this guy so much.  I have no idea…but I guess is that he’s a great speaker.  If you are desperate and looking for answers, you won’t find it in this book.  You’ll need to go to Robbins’ seminars to get that (I guess).

So, you won’t  even get a link to where you can buy it.  Google it if you really want it.  All I want is a refund.

But I’ll go ahead and strip down the 512 pages of the book for you and save you the money.

Here goes: if you want to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical, and financial destiny, you must:

1) Make more decisions

2) Feel good about yourself

3) Don’t do things that will cause you pain in the long term

4) Reward yourself when you do something good.

There you have it–512 pages in 4 sentences sans all the self-promotional drivel.  Now, go forth and prosper.


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