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Getting What You Want: The 7 Principles of…

Getting What You Want: The 7 Principles of Rational Living

by Robert J. Ringer

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0399146865, Hardcover)

No one can accuse Robert J. Ringer of pulling punches. But, then again, as the author of such previous bestsellers as Winning Through Intimidation and Looking Out for No. 1, it should come as no surprise that this writer calls it like he sees it. Unfortunately, in Getting What You Want, Ringer seems more interested in persuading readers not to like many of the things--and people--he doesn't, as opposed to providing a road map to rational living, as promised by the subtitle.

Ringer begins by defining a rational life as "a life guided by conscious effort to make rational decisions that result in an individual's getting what he wants over the long term, so long as actions stemming from those decisions do not involve the use of force or fraud against anyone else." He then divides the book into seven chapters, each focusing on one of his seven principles of rational living, ranging from "Base Your Actions on Truth" (principle 1) to "Avoid Those Who Drain Your Personal Resources" (principle 4) to "Learn from Bad Breaks, and Move On" (principle 7). Ringer repeatedly hammers home the theme that we live in an increasingly values-challenged, irrational world (hence, the need to be rational), offering up examples at every possible opportunity.

Consider Ringer's thoughts on Elvis Presley, who, he argues, exemplifies the need of so many people to idolize celebrities--"a contagious strain of self-delusion" that is a direct assault on principle 1:

He never wrote a song, couldn't play a musical instrument (other than barely being able to pluck around on his guitar prop), couldn't act, and put himself into an early grave with a remarkable lack of self discipline that ballooned his weight and saturated his body with harmful substances. To his credit, he never championed a cause; in fact, he never claimed to believe in anything.

Bill Clinton, criminal defense attorneys, all political causes (including the American Revolution), the rapper Ice Cube, O.J. Simpson, and McDonald's founder Ray Kroc don't fare much better in the author's opinion, each being an affront to one or more of the seven principles.

What does all this have to do with getting what you want? Not much, but Ringer, at least, starts off well by noting in his opening paragraph that there have been "thousands of books written on the subject of achieving happiness, each offering the author's views on how to bring about that much-sought-after, but very elusive, state of mind." Want it or not, here's one more. --Patrick Jennings

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:03 -0400)

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