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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Book Review #9: Invitation to Success

A book was recommended to me recently, and after looking it up on the web, I was intrigued enough to order it.

Hal Zina Bennett's Invitation to Success: An Allegory about Creativity is a thin book consisting entirely of conversations between the author and an anonymous businessman, who speaks to Bennett about his philosophy of life, but binds him to anonymity.

Respecting this restriction, Bennett dubs him Nobel Acton and the book recounts Acton's eleven habits of creativity and innovation.

Published in 1997, the book is once again one of those books that brings to mind The Secret, but only insofar as bringing up the question why were people suddenly so receptive to the information contained therein, when it has been around so much longer, so openly, and so much more profound terminology?

The eleven habits are not new. But they are presented in such a way, that I willingly looked at them again. I mean that although I knew I was reading something that I already knew in some ways, it nevertheless sparked excitement in me again, because of the way it was presented, because of the way the ideas were formulated.

For instance, the third habit is this:

Make it a habit to see that all ideas have lives of their own. They can serve you only if you commit yourself to them - which you do by utilizing them as templates for your volition (volition and will are used interchangeably in the book).

And the eighth habit is this:

Make it a habit to put your creative acts first, and allow no encumbrances - not even your own self-pity or fears or arrogance -- to subvert them. Creativity and craftsmanship are sacred. Never begrudge them the space they require in your life, since if you fail to give them this space the world will never know or enjoy the benefits of your valuable contributions.

It's a book to be kept close ... to pull out in moments of not seeing the goal clearly, or moments of needing reinforcement in order to see clearly that the only path is forward. There are a number of such books in my life, some figure more in a spiritual direction, and some, like this one, are more motivational, but the underlying theme is the same: it is all up to you. What you decide to do with that knowledge is what can make the difference.

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