Awaken The Giant Within By Tony Robbins – Book Review


Best for:

Those who are ready to examine and evaluate a huge sequence of strategies and frameworks (some outdated or woo-woo) for practical self-improvement. Also those who like questions, exercises, and activities centered around self improvement.

Difficulty to digest:

Awaken the giant within may be more difficult to get through because of its sheer length and content density. Each section unloads massive amounts of information, which need to be implemented in real life and experimented with. While the writing is simple to understand, it may take several reads or one slow, extended read to unpack and try all the concepts.

Key Insights:

Awaken The Giant Within is a massive amount of text, with a considerably high number of ideas to examine. The first two sections deliver countless exercises and frameworks for taking control of your life and increasing happiness. The next two sections are focus on putting these techniques to work in your life, in a more practical way. We’ll examine just a few of the ideas within the book here.

Gain control of your destiny by conditioning your mind.

A huge section of the book is dedicated to convincing you that you’re in control of your own destiny. Ultimately, you are responsible for how your life turns out. By conditioning your mind in certain ways, it becomes easier to reach your goals. For example, examining beliefs which limit your potential such as ‘I’ll never be rich’. Once you know, you can then train yourself to stop that train of thought and replace it with another thought such as ‘my hard work will pay off financially’. Eventually, this exercise will train your brain to provide positive thoughts the majority of the time.

Robbins also spends time talking about the type and quality of your thoughts. He champions the use of powerful and frequent questions (why does this always happen to me? is weaker than how can I fix this?), more emotionally expressive vocabulary (you look nice vs. you look stunning), and metaphors as ways to increase the quality of your life. By paying attention to the quality of your thoughts and actions, you empower yourself to lead a more fulfilling life.

Who are you and who do you want to be?

The second part of Awaken The Giant Within delves more deeply into values, rules, and identity. In essence, he examines the idea of what makes someone who they are at the core. Here, he speaks at length about the value of considering your values, listing them, and regularly revisiting them. When you live in harmony with your values, you’ll be happier.

In addition, it’s worth examining your rules and other people’s rules around behavior. (ex. If someone loves me, they help with the household chores without being asked) Without discussing these rules, conflict can arise between individuals without each of them knowing the underlying cause.

Finally, Awaken the Giant Within covers how you can become trapped within your identity, but also break free. Saying things like  ‘I’m not someone who overeats’ can create more leverage than ‘I’m trying not to overeat anymore’.

These are just handful of the ideas within the book. If you’re really looking to go deeply through a comprehensive volume of ideas for increasing your well-being this book can be a valuable asset. To get the most out of it, be sure to follow the exercises and answer the questions – the more you engage the more you’re likely to get out of it.

Other considerations:

Due to the length and sheer volume of exercises, it can be difficult to know where to begin. The way the book is organized doesn’t particularly lend itself to creating a plan or system for trying ideas in the book. There is a section based around a 7 day program, however, by that point in the book you’ll have covered so many sections and ideas you it will likely be difficult to implement. You will need to develop your own style and plan for using the book.

After reading the book, all the various techniques can be overwhelming. To get the most out of it, you may want to take notes while you read, picking out the concepts which impact you most powerfully, then revisiting the book later if you feel there’s more you haven’t mastered. You can also go through the book slowly, trying these techniques and frameworks one small piece at a time.

Finally, don’t take everything in the book at face value. Some concepts are much more psychologically sound than others. If you’re feeling skeptical, you may want to research the specific idea further. In some circumstances, the outcomes are correct, but the underlying mechanisms are not. Take what you read with a grain of salt and think for yourself!  


ANSWER THE EXERCISES IN THE COMMENTS:

Regardless of how happy you are now, there’s always room for improvement. What thoughts or behaviors in your life do you wish to change for the better?
There are an almost unlimited supply of psychological tricks and frameworks for improving your life. You don’t have to use all of them and some may not be helpful for you specifically. What’s one trick or mental tool you use to create happiness in your life?
Many of you have created a list of values, when is the last time you revisited them or updated them? For those that don’t have your values list, what are the handful of things you most deeply value? Are you living in a way that’s consistent with those values?


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