Over the Christmas period, I organised my library and separated out all the books that could be classified under the heading “Personal Development” (normally in most UK bookstores they are kept in the management, psychology or personal wellbeing sections) and I amazed myself as to how many books I had amassed since around 1989. There were some excellent and life-changing books – Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Sir John Harvey Jones and Norman Vincent Peale being the most well read. There were others that were as fresh as when I first bought them. Yes I am ashamed to admit that there are quite a few where I probably did not get past the first chapter. Apologies to Jack Welch and Dr Wayne Dyer….
I have not stopped my reading or purchasing of books or downloading some very good books from the internet (thank you again to Jonathan Fields and Scott Young) but it seems that almost daily a new book is published that attempts to map out some facet of our personality or demeanour that needs to or should be changed. My point is: after all this time you would have thought that someone or some group would have worked out or distilled enough of our human psyche so that it was possible to write a book, possibly encyclopaedic in length, to match the title of this post. No, why not?
The more cynical part of me says that anyone interested in or motivated by exploring the concept of Personal Development – living our lives to the full (not busy lives but successful lives) – would be downright foolish to try and write such a book because if it did take off and become the next x million seller they would have nothing left to do, and the whole industry would be doomed. In fact whilst I think there are people who are striving to write some such book the reality is that with the world’s population rising to close to 7 billion and with the diversity that that brings amongst the adult population (the focus on children and the aged is another project of mine waiting in the wings), there is no way that any one book could ever hope to appeal across the entire spectrum (I am ignoring the obvious limitations of there not being one universal language). Now that is what I call an amazing opportunity. Let me say that again. That is what I call an amazing opportunity.