Anthony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within

Anthony Robbins wrote this book in 1991 to help people take control of their lives in every area. It is a very action focused book, very motivational and indeed a complete personal development manual. He draws heavily upon his Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training to enable us to make changes in our lives and turn our dreams into reality.

His enthusiasm and passion for life - "live with passion" being one of Tony Robbins' favourite phrases - comes across in the book in a very conversational style. Tony tells a lot of his own story of personal growth and about the therapeutic transformations that he has made in many people’s lives.

One of Tony Robbins' most powerful personal development insights is about making a decision. He explains that making a true decision to change is actually about cutting off any other alternative possibility - the words ‘decision’ and ‘incision’ have a similar route and it is all about cutting. Anthony Robbins says that your life can be changed in a moment of decision. He goes on to talk about how we can make decisions to change our emotions and our beliefs and gives us tools to enable inner change to take place.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Anthony Robbins explains his tools, based upon Neuro-Linguistic Programming, to enable us to interrupt our patterns of thought and behaviour and create leverage to motivate us to stay on track with the decisions that we have made. Leverage, Robbins explains, is achieved by creating, in our minds, pain to move away from and pleasure to move towards. This is not so much personal development as personal transformation.

He draws heavily upon the work of John Grinder, who was one of the driving forces in the creation of Neuro Linguistic Programming. He explains some of the technical aspects of it, such as ‘submodalities’, in a way which are accessible and applicable to everybody.

A submodality, by the way, is simply a way that you represent in your mind the world around you, using your different senses. We can see this in our own lives by the words that we use. That last sentence was a case in point: it could equally have said "we can feel this in our own lives…" or "we can hear echoes of this in our own lives by listening to the words that we say". Some of us naturally talk about seeing and using visual sub modalities, others hearing, using auditory sub modalities and thirdly those more rooted in their body and feelings will use words that come from kinaesthetic submodalities. Tony Robbins provides interventions that enable you to change your state, change the way you feel about things and so change your life - even just by changing some of these sub modalities.

Life Coach

As with many life coaches - and Anthony Robbins was the original life coach - the ability to ask yourself the right question, or at least a better question, will lead you to a better quality of life. It can take a while to realise that the constant chatter in your mind - or what NLP practitioners call "self talk" - is going on virtually all the time. That chatter is probably reinforcing old patterns and keeping you stuck in a particular way of thinking. In "Awaken the Giant Within", Tony Robbins gives you the keys to a better quality of life by helping you to ask yourself a better type of question.

Words are more important in personal development than many of us at first realise. We can change the quality of our experience of life by changing the words that we use to describe it. For example, a common saying might be "this is a complete nightmare" when we could say "this is a problem". This small shift in words does not deny that there is an issue to be dealt with and does not deny that it is not welcome, but our emotional reaction to the words is quite different. It is not positive thinking mumbo-jumbo - i.e. saying that something is better than it is - it is simply not using words that make you feel worse than it actually is.

Tony Robbins teaches that we have the power to react to the world, events and other people in whatever way we want. Tony's mentor, Jim Rohn, said that it was not important what problems came into your life, it was important how you react to them and that rather than wishing your problems were easier or not accepting them, wish that your skills to deal with them were better.

In this book Tony Robbins gives alternative words to change your vocabulary, including those on the positive side. Many of us talk about things being "nice" but he suggests that we could talk about them being "fantastic" or "spectacular". Using these words helps exercise our "emotional muscle", to live and experience the full range of emotion rather than being constrained to the same tired patterns of thought and behaviour that we have lived with for many years.

In the second part of this book, Tony looks at values, rules and personal identity and finishes with a whistle-stop tour through each area of your life, physical, relationships and finances.

Tony Robbins clearly is one of the most sought after coaches, speakers and teachers in the world. Most people will not be able to have him as their life coach or even attend his big events like "Unleash the Power Within" and so it may be difficult to see what he has got to offer. Reading this book will start to give you an insight into why so many people seek to learn from him.

Paul McKenna Change Your Life In 7 Days Book Review

Paul McKenna, Change Your Life In 7 Days

Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, sounds like one of those pseudo-scientific, new-age dark arts and most of us would avoid getting into something that sounds so technical and weird all at the same time.

Paul McKenna however in his book "Change Your Life In 7 Days" uses NLP and a self-hypnosis CD to teach you the tools that you need to change your life. He sees Neurolinguistic Programming as software for the brain and he gives you access to the source code to reprogram yourself. He runs through a range of NLP tools and sets them within a seven-day programme. He gives you lots of different ways of thinking about yourself to break your old patterns of thought and literally reprogram your habitual patterns of thinking.

He talks about your pretend self, your self-image, and how to changing your 'inner you' can change your life. How you can literally " change your mind" about your life. In changing your mind you're able to take control of your life. Withou you, anyone and anything could end up being in control of your life and Paul McKenna in this book gives you the tools to get you back into the driving seat.

Paul McKenna explains your emotional state and where feelings come from, using good NLP techniques like making movies in your mind and changing what's called the 'submodalities' of them. In English this means changing how the 'movies' look and sound in order to change the way that you feel about them.


McKenna also introduces a technique called 'anchoring' in order to boost your confidence. He calls this the confidence switch and it is a way of associating all the feelings of confidence that you have ever had with a physical gesture, such as squeezing your fist, so that when you feel in need of a confidence boost, you simply squeeze your fist, or whatever you have chosen to associate it with, or "anchor" it to.  You then feel all the feelings of confidence that you have had in the past, thereby enabling you to tackle the situation that now presents itself with confidence.


Like all good NLP practitioners and life coaches, Paul McKenna suggests some useful questions to ask ourselves, which prompts us to think new thoughts and start to make changes about the way we think. These changes in the way that we think can begin to change our emotional responses, our habitual patterns of thinking and behaving and even to simply transform our lives as a new reality dawns upon us, as we try and answer a question that we have never heard before.

McKenna focuses on success and sets out 7 key beliefs of successful people, including several of the founding concepts of NLP and life coaching, such as 'there is no such thing as failure, only feedback', chunking down large tasks that seem difficult into small achievable chunks and to keep trying something else until it works.

Goal Setting

When we have the tools, we then need to know what it is we're trying to build with them. In day four of Change Your Life In 7 Days, Paul McKenna introduces us to dream setting, his version of goal setting. He encourages us to dream big dreams to brainstorm and commit them to paper. He takes the well-known business approach of setting SMART targets (where SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and with a Timeframe) and applies it to our own lives, so that we set goals which we can achieve and so we will know when we are succeeding.

Another highlight is day five when he talks about health with an excellent exercise on imagining your immune system at work and how effective a power nap can be to make you more productive.

The last two days of the week review money and happiness to round off an intensive seven days of personal growth and development using Neuro-Linguistic Programming tools and techniques. Paul McKenna provides a very accessible mainstream book with the bonus of a CD to reprogram your mind and it is a great introduction to personal development and NLP.