Book Review – Robert Holden’s Success Intelligence

I thought I’d share a quick review of the book that’s on my bedside table right now. I’m reading Success Intelligence by Robert Holden PhD, the bestselling author of Be Happy. I’d heard many good things about the author and have fancied reading his books for a while, so when this one popped up in my local library I borrowed it immediately. I was pretty enthusiastic about reading it and started with such gusto that I think I wore myself out!

Here’s the Blurb:

Success Intelligence examine show to enjoy real, soulful success while living in a manic, busy and hyped-up world. This landmark book is an invaluable guide to achieving genuine success and happiness.

success intelligence robert holden book review

I’ve had it on loan from the library since before Christmas but I’ve still not finished it. I hope this isn’t a reflection on my reading ability, and I usually get through books pretty quickly, so I think this is a motivation thing – the reading is pretty heavy-going and although I enjoy Holden’s anecdotes, I find my mind wandering and it’s hard to get back into the main message of the book. I am reluctant to speak badly about such a well-written, helpful book, but I always without fail fall asleep before I’ve finished a chapter. And that’s not just because I’m reading at bedtime – even in the mornings when I think I’ll really put my mind to it and crack on with reading it – I start reading, the content gives plenty of food for thought and I’ll stop to think about what I’ve just read… and drift off to sleep. As a self-help book for insomniacs, this would be pretty good! 😉 But seriously, the book does share excellent ideas and really does make you think and apply Holden’s ideas to your own life – the Success Intelligence method been featured on Oprah, so it must be good, right?.

There are tasks throughout the book – each chapter has a “Success Intelligence Tip” at the end which asks you to reflect on your own abilities and behaviours eg ‘Talents’ – write down answers to “What am I really talented at in my work?”, “What makes me very good at relationships?” and “What have a I mastered about living life well?”. I therefore think that it would be best to read this book “actively” and not for relaxation as I usually do. It would be very helpful to do the tasks in order self-analyse, but I’ve not done any of them (they’re at the end of the chapter and I’m asleep by then) so maybe I’m not getting the most out of the book. But I don’t want to go back to the beginning again… I’ll never finish it! A lot of the themes of the book are around slowing down, taking time to appreciate life and dedicating time to yourself in order to feel more fulfilled and satisfied – but I find myself saying ‘I have a busy life and can’t even find the time to read the book’  and that’s pretty rubbish by Holden’s standards: it turns out that I’m doing exactly the opposite to his recommendations. Must do better.   

Seeing as I’ve not read the whole book yet, I’ll reserve my judgement until the end. The language of the book hasn’t put me off; it’s certainly not written in cheesy self-help lingo nor is it too smarty-pants to understand, I think Holden has got it just right – easy to understand, but with enough complex ideas that it really makes you think (shame I find thinking so tiring, really). I think I’d like to try reading Holden’s Be Happy first to get a bit of background on the author and I think some of the parts of Success Intelligence assume a prior knowledge of Be Happy. As a writer, I’m enjoying his style (very calming and sensible tone) and the content really is great – I’m not into self-help mumbo-jumbo but this book totally makes sense intellectually and I can’t help but believe what Robert Holden says; he’s such a smiley happy chappy in his photo on the back cover.

5 Responses

  1. Hi Michelle, thanks for recommending ‘Be Happy’ and ‘Happiness Now’, I’ll definitely be giving them a go – I really think I’ve jumped in at the deep end with Success Intelligence! I am certainly becoming a fan and will also check out Gretchen Rubin too, thanks very much for sharing the details of her books. I’ll let you know how I get on with them! 🙂

  2. Hi Cassie, can definitely vouch for ‘Be Happy’ and ‘Happiness now’ which I have on my Kindle. Very easy to read and worth the money 🙂
    Are you ‘into’ the whole happiness thing, or is it just curiosity? I’m a bit of a fan, and the other author who has been really interesting to read on the subject is Gretchen Rubin and her Happiness Project and Happier at Home books.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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