In his book 25 truths, Ed Douglas came up with a list of life principles that he determined are commonly shared by the happiest and most successful people he has met. I chose this book to review because I am a collector of quotes and am fascinated by what accomplished people consider the reasons for their success. Is it luck, divine intervention, hard work, an Ivy league education, knowing the right people? 25 truths is written from a Christian world view, and is meant to be an inspirational guide on life. In 25 Truths (recommended for grades 6-12+, paperback/150 pages/$12.50), the author introduces a truth paired with a quote or bible verse, expands on the truth with personal stories and reflections, and concludes with a page of discussion questions. It can be used as a small group study, individual enrichment, or as I used it – as fuel for at the dinner table family time conversation. I did sneak a few readings on car rides and took advantage of other teachable moments when we were all together. We had some excellent discussions, and gave serious thought to Mr. Douglas’ insights on life. Ed Douglas is a businessman, husband, father, author, coach. He has written books on financial planning (Making a Million with only $2000), and has been a banking president, chairman, and CEO. Success: check. Happy: check. I was very willing to listen to what he considered to be life’s truths. I plunged and read the whole book before sharing it with my family. Having three teens with one occupied in summer college courses, another busy with activities, and one with a limited attention span, I needed to find the zinger truths to lasso them in. I started with one that I felt was foundational for growth and success:
- Truth #18 Set Goals and Write Them Down
We all need to know where we are going, so we need goals. Not just hopes, or wishes or a dream, but defined and written out short term and long term goals. As Mr. Douglas points out, a study done in 2007 determined those who write down their goals and go a step further and share them with a friend are 33% more likely to complete their goals than those who simply formulate goals in their minds. He writes,
Written goals are nothing to fear. Then can help you to decide what is important in your life as well as helping you accomplish those items of importance.
He encourages you to write annual goals for the main areas of life: spiritual, educational, professional, financial, family, athletic, and recreational. We talked about this truth as we answered his questions: did we think it an important truth? What was the last goal we had written down? Are you more likely to accomplish a written goal?
We were challenged. Although I am still pondering what my all my goals should be, after reading this chapter I have written down three goals. Let me know if you want me to share them with you!
Since this review was a family venture, here are more thoughts on the book.
Dad: The truths presented in this book are likely the kind of truths that you would want to express to your children at some point. You might be looking for a platform or opportunity to bring each of these up. 25 truths provides the perfect way to discuss these bits of wisdom. I did think the author’s stories were either too general or too personal for me to identify with, so you may wish to expand upon the topics with your own stories like I did. Use this book as a conversation starter.
First Son: The truths have a lot of practical application, good for evaluating and discussing. Once you finish reading you can reference it as a check-list; how are you doing in achieving the principles in your own life?
Second Son: The book contains realistic and meaningful truths for everyday living. Love, don’t hate, don’t lie, protect your reputation, spend time with family. These are moral standards you should have for your life, and 25 truths is a good reminder of this. As a sixteen-year-old brought up in a Christian household, I recognize and follow many of the truths. A few I hadn’t considered before and it gave me new awareness.
Third Son: I really wasn’t that interested in the book. It was basic stuff I was already taught as a kid.
Note: third son is twelve and besides being brutally honest, he is insightful, and a deep thinker. I was so pleased to hear him say, “I was already taught (these truths) as a kid”.
If my family is a good gauge of the appropriate audience for this book, I would say it is fine for all ages, but those who seek out wisdom and are at a stage of life where they are sponging advice and seek guidance for success will be the ones who take away the most.