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Publisher's Summary

Did you know that achievement can be learned? As Bernie Roth explains, achievement is a muscle. And once you learn how to flex it, you'll be able to meet life's challenges and reach your goals.

Based on a legendary course Roth has taught at Stanford University for several decades, The Achievement Habit employs the remarkable insights that stem from design thinking to help us realize the power we all have within to change our lives for the better. By ridding ourselves of issues that stand in the way of reaching our full potential, we gain the confidence finally to do things we've always wanted to do. Combining design thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication skills, and life adjustments, listeners will learn:

  • Why trying and doing are two different things
  • Why using reasons (excuses), even legitimate ones, to explain one's behavior is self-defeating
  • How to change your self-image into one of a doer and achiever
  • How subtle language changes can resolve existential dilemmas and barriers to action
  • How to build resiliency by reinforcing what you do rather than what you accomplish
  • How to be open to learning from your own experience and from those around you

Our behavior and relationships can be transformed - if we choose to, we can be mindful and control our intentions to create habits that make our lives better. And with this thoughtful book as your guide, you can.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Bernard Roth (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I should have known better...

Any additional comments?

As old as I am, I still sometimes fail to listen to that small voice in my head that screams, "Don't Do It!!!" This was just such a case. I read the reviews for Dr. Roth's book. They were generally positive and some were even enthusiastic. But I came across one well-written review (and I am sorry that I don't have his name to give you as a reference) that really caught my eye. It was spot on. And like the stubborn person I am, I bought Dr. Roth's book anyway. And...I regret it!

I can save you a lot of time by giving you the two major themes of the book...

1. "Doing something is better than not doing something."
2. "I love my platitudes and bumper sticker folksy adages, so here are 12 chapters full of them"

The book fails to meet the lofty expectations generated by that great title. In fact, this book fails to meet any expectations at all. It is a series of random stores and anecdotes. It is Dr. Roth's "I love me...you will too" recitation of many experiences he has had and his observations on life based on his interaction with college students spanning 50 years. Wonderful! This is your life, Dr. Roth! Hardly a roadmap to developing "The Achievement Habit".

As I said, I sometimes don't remember to follow my own instincts. This book was just a series of platitudes so I'll give you one I learned a long time ago that's truly applicable here:
"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach". I should have remembered this one...

89 of 94 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Absolute garbage- do not read

I found this book to be completely useless. 11 chapters of very minimally thoughtful stories and anecdotes. Even among the often trite self-help books this one ranks at the bottom

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not about an "Achievement Habit"

What disappointed you about The Achievement Habit?

When I finished the book and thought back to fully digest what I had just read, none of it applied to how this book was sold - none of it was about an "achievement habit." It was just a bunch of anecdotes of his time as a higher-up university professor and leader, none of which I could really relate to. (And I imagine most people wouldn't relate, either.) There was very little in the book that he tried to connect to the reader - it read more as a quite dry memoir about his successes. Great, but don't bill this as a book for readers to learn a specific action plan "Achievement Habit" when there was so little that was actionable in it.

What could Bernard Roth have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Give more actionable steps to help your readers relate. There were a few specific exercises near the end, but one of them was meditation, which really could be found in any book.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator was fine. He sounded as if he could've been the author - a little dry and pedagogical but otherwise not grating in my opinion.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

A little frustration - there are so many self-help kind of books out there, and to "stand out" they market the book to appeal to readers, but the actual substance of the book doesn't match up.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Drivel

Boring anecdotes and a grinding narrators voice. I am an engineer and found very little of value. Stopped listening after 4 chapters.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • brian915
  • Newburyport, MA United States
  • 02-03-16

I wish I'd paid attention to the reviews

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone; the ideas in "The Achievement Habit" are poorly organized and even more poorly expressed. I had a hard time listening to the material for more than fifteen minutes at a time, owing to the author's condescending and self-satisfied tone.

What could Bernard Roth have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Tone down his self-regard. I get it, you're a big deal, you make the point of mentioning Stanford and your experiences at least once-per-page. But does every story have to be you putting someone in their place (even if the person being corrected is you, it's always via self-correction. Don't you have anything to learn from anyone else?)

As the other reviewers have noted, the book could have delivered the same material without the, often loosely associated, anecdotes.This may be useful information for someone without much life or work experience, but not for someone who has been through lots of previous self-reflection and growth.

Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

n/a

Do you think The Achievement Habit needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No, please

Any additional comments?

Mr Roth strikes me as one of those persons who's ideas were so influential that they've now become part of the fabric of our times. And he seems to be at that stage where he's not breaking any new ground but isn't ready to cede authority to anyone else.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • David Jones
  • Bethel Springs, TN United States
  • 06-21-16

Touchy feely mixed with a few solid suggestions.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Basically its focus. Remove the unhelpful autobiography and sentiment. focus on practical advice.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Basically actually deliver useful information promised in the title.

What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

He has a pleasant voice and excellent modulation.

Did The Achievement Habit inspire you to do anything?

Yes, avoid the writings of Mr. Roth and consider other titles read by Mr. Pratt.

Any additional comments?

I regret the time I spent listening more than the money I spent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent handbook for life

If you have any doubts whether you should spend the full 7 hours and 23 minutes listening to this audiobook, go to the last chapter and listen to it from beginning to end for a summary of everything covered in the prior chapters. This book is worth listening to over & over again.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Written by an engineer

I work closely with engineer's and this book is dry like talk with engineers. The life stories and lessons are good but the book is tough to listen to for long. I feel this was written for engineers instead of everyone. I hope he writes another book and makes it more exciting while sharing his success/ideas.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Be Ready to Shift Your Paradigm

What did you like best about this story?

This is a great book IF you are ready to shift your paradigm of priorities. Real and sustainable achievement happens when you constantly question your priorities, thoughts, and behaviors. This book will be worthless for those looking for a 'specific formula' vice a way to change the way they live their lives.

What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

Sean Pratt's narrative makes it feel like you are listening to an everyday conversation.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Don’t Let the Title Fool You

A better title for this book might be, “I’m an Awesome Stanford Professor with an Incredible Design Course”. It’s not a terrible book, but I find the title is so misleading that I can’t give it a better review. The book is mostly fluff with some useful tips loosely scattered about.

There’s good information regarding different approaches you can take towards overcoming obstacles to accomplish your goals, but then there’s also a lot of content that I feel is completely irrelevant to his point. There’s a number of pretentious anecdotes about fancy banquets, traveling to different countries to teach his revolutionary class abroad, and the amazing projects he helped his students design.

Granted, stories like these do not necessarily make for horrible content, but what do these tales have to do with an Achievement Habit? Unfortunately, not much. If you end up getting the book, try to count how many times the words “achievement” and “habit” are mentioned (both together and separate). It seems more like filler material to overemphasize a simple point that requires little to no justification.

There’s nothing wrong with the performance. The material is kind of dry, so the narrator did as well as anyone could hope.

I would advise on-the-fence buyers to save their money or consider the book on habits by Duhigg instead.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • jannine
  • 07-23-17

Makes a lot of assumptions that I couldn't agree with.

A couple of things happened when I was reading this book. First was that I found myself getting rather animated when I disagreed with the author about 'reasons'. Second, the penny dropped that this is how Neurotypical people think and operate. Further, they assume that all people can (and should) think and operate the same way. As a person who cannot think and operate like this, I found this book to be an incredible insight into how intelligent mainstream people operate and assume others should too.

Another thing that happened is that I have stopped giving 'reasons' when I say no to things. It is far better to just say no (although I maintain that reasons and excuses are not the same thing) I feel I have saved myself time and energy, and perhaps even increased my credibility with this small change.

Having made myself push on despite my irritation, I am very glad I committed to finishing this book. For all the areas I agreed with the author, I have another way of communicating my thoughts now. For all the times I didn't agree, I have a better understanding of the other side of the argument.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Barry
  • 02-13-17

fantastic

really insightful and uplifting. has given me a new perspective on my own life as well as work life. real practical and pragmatic book and highly recommend you listen or read

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • 01-10-17

good book AND a lot to take in

loads of great tips in this book to get to the heart of a goal. work out my values and to make the most of my life. I definitely need to go back through and take notes of the practices to be applied. thanks for sharing and explaining all of these.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine Jeffries
  • 08-24-17

Did not hold my interest

Really like it at first but the narrator had a voice that made me drift off and stop concentrating constantly.
The parts that sounded like maths were the final straw for me. I did take some good points away from the first few chapters though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JoLovely
  • 05-30-16

Good book, full of life lessons

I'd need to listen again to start taking action though and it reads more like a memoir than a how to. I still really liked it and there are a lot of common sense tips in the book.

I loved the voice of the guy who reads it, though I was disappointed that it wasn't the author.

The only downside is that the sound quality is not good. I listen to a lot of books on my cycle into work along a busy road (on a cycle highways, so it's safe!) and I found this book quiet in places.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • abdulle
  • 03-28-16

5 stars

finally, some practical advice on self betterment.
I have listened to few online video on the subject and by far I have found this book simpler to follow, understand and implement. My favourite part is the good reasons we give for our mishaps. They are all gooooooood reasons.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • KNgoma
  • 07-13-18

A Great book for all procastinators

This is great for all procrastinators out there! One of the best books I’ve read which I believe most people would enjoy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ruqiyo Ali
  • 07-10-18

Good tips and tools for self awareness and check

I have tested decision making tools, which uses questions and it worked for me.
The book is full of good practical tips for self check and awareness. The book doesn't sweet take to you and telling all is great but it tells you you to be true to yourself.
Overall, I like it a lot. It good book to listen to and pick up a lot of good ideas for habit settings.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-04-18

Amazing Book!

Couldn't wait to finish it!
Amazing book with great life lessons that I intend to use in the future!
I definitely will listen to this book many times as it has important lessons you should learn

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Stuart king artist
  • 05-26-18

Fluff

Hours of useless waffle. Yoda said it in one sentence. Lots of magical thinking and bragging about how awesome the author is.