As I mentioned in my reviewer’s description, I generally only post reviews for books that I rate as three stars or higher, and this book, “Wake up and Live!”, by Dorothea Brande, barely made it into the three star designation. This is not to say that the book had absolutely nothing to offer, it’s just that I generally did not find this book to be an enjoyable read, nor did I find a plethora of useful information contained within its pages.
The initial four chapters, the first third of the book, deal specifically with failure: why we fail, why we have the will to fail, and the rewards of failure. It is the author’s contention that, “Absurd as it may seem at first consideration that anyone would solemnly enter into even and unconscious conspiracy to fail, it is a matter of observation that there is hardly one person in 100 who does not, in some fashion, deliberately cripple and thwart themselves.” And, while I have no information to prove or disprove this statistic, I do know that Dorothea Brande uses the first 38 pages of “Wake up and Live!” to redundantly advocate her position and this made for tedious reading.
If the reader does make it past those initial 38 pages, they will discover that the author finally commences to share the means by which we can overcome our desire to fail: a change in mindset from an expectation of failure to the complete opposite belief - that it is impossible to fail. In the words of the author, “Act as if it were impossible to fail. That is the talisman, the formula, the command of right-about-face which turns us from failure towards success.”
Although the aforementioned premise is the predominant idea in “Wake up and Live!”, Dorothea Brande does share a few more thoughts that might prove beneficial to the reader, “…it is the sum of small things successfully done that lifts a life out of bondage to the humdrum.”; “At first say as little as possible to others of what you intend to do… Those who are still slaves to dreams, to the Will to Fail, are made uncomfortable by the sight of anyone who is breaking free.” and, “By going over your day in imagination before you begin it,...you can begin acting successfully at any moment.”
For anyone wanting some assistance on how to incorporate some of these concepts into their lives, one of the final chapters is dedicated to exercises referred to as the, “Twelve Disciplines.” While these exercises themselves are not outlandish or extreme, and while they might prove enjoyable/worthwhile for some readers, I would surmise that a number of the activities are already familiar to those people interested in personal development.
In the final analysis, I feel that I did derive some benefit from the words shared by Dorothea Brande in “Wake up and Live!”; however, based on the gift of hindsight, I would say that the time reading this book could have been better spent reading one of the many other books that I have waiting, unopened, on my bookshelf.