The Magic of Believing book review

The Magic of Believing book review

The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol

I first heard about “The Magic of Believing” in 1973,listening to Larry Glick’s late-night talk show on WBZ Boston — he was absolutely sold on it and kept bringing on celebrity guests who felt the same way, and I eventually bought a copy. I was skeptical going in, and for a while after – this was’nt the first self -help book I had read and not the most polished in style. But there was something about it — the down-to-earth commonsense of the author I think (Bristol seems to have been above all a practical guy)– that kept me reading it to the end. I started to do some of the mechanical things — aids to visualization — he suggested, figuring what the hell, what’s to lose?. I decided the goal to set was to move up from my earnings at the time ($20k per year) to three times that amount — virtually “impossible” where I was working.


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To cut to the chase. A year later I was making a lot more money per year, I kept doing better each year and I am still doing well. Things fell into place without any planning too many to relate. I gave up a salaried job I hated in order to free-lance but without any real prospects for doing well at it — the idea was to tread water until I found something I liked better. But a first client appeared out of nowhere and referred me to another. Work kept coming in and did not stop. Every year I did better. I don’t really know how it works, and I don’t particularly care. I do know it worked for me — and still does, and not just financially. So do I believe Bristol was on to something? You bet your life I do. I have also had a chance to observe other people for whom things seem to work out well, none of whom have read this book. They confirm one of its basic principles. People tend to get what they expect — they fulfil their own prophecies. In general, optimists thrive, the pessimists don’t. What this book shows is that these attitudes are not “givens” — to an extent they can be self-generated.

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The Magic of Believing book review