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You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way    by J. R. Parrish order for
You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way
by J. R. Parrish
Order:  USA  Can
Benbella, 2009 (2009)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In his Preface to You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way, multimillionaire J. R. Parrish (who started as a milkman) offers his small book to 'recent high school and college graduates to provide them with a head start in life by teaching them how to function at an exceedingly high level in the real world'. He offers sage advice based on his own life experiences (including his mistakes). A personal story begins each chapter, and regular quizzes check readers' performance on the current topic. Succinct snippets of wisdom - such as 'When you lose, don't lose the lesson' - stand out in bold red through the pages.

Chapters cover the spectrum, addressing Human Relations; Habits; Making Your Dreams Come True; Dating, Marriage, and Parenting; Career and Finance; Love and Truth. Parrish explains why 'Learning human relations skills is the fastest way to improve every aspect of your life'; how to find and keep a mentor; the importance of praise; how to deal with anger which usually 'distills down to blame'; why 'failure is a prerequisite to success'; how to practice and improve self-discipline; how establishing Why can help with persistence; the importance of staying present in this short-attention-span world; and that 'If you choose a profession you're passionate about, you'll never have to work a day in your life, because you'll be doing what you love to do.'

In his final chapter, Love and Truth, Parrish aptly quotes Buddha saying 'No self, no problem.' He concludes by re-emphasizing the importance of having mentors in your life and of protecting your reputation. He ends with sixty-eight whisperings (maxims), including 'An old young person will be a young old person' and 'We don't see things as they are but as we are.' I am giving my copy of You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way to my son who is about to turn twenty-one, and hope he will benefit from these important life lessons that sadly do usually have to be learned the hard way.

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