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Book Review: The Secret to Life Transformation: How to Claim your Destiny Now by Julie Chrystyn

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In The Secret to Life Transformation, Julie Chrystyn shares her philosophy for success in spite of overwhelming personal problems. When she was eight years old, Julie Chrystyn’s family arrived in America from Yugoslavia. It took an extremely positive attitude for any immigrant family to adjust to a new country where life was surely not easy either financially or socially. The family’s poverty followed them to the United States, but stimulated by love and hope, the family survived.

At the age of twelve, Chrystyn underwent spinal surgery. Without it, she faced possible paralysis to her lower body. The same positive attitude and faith she and her family had relied on as immigrants once again motivated her. During her long struggle back to health, Chrystyn became fascinated watching how others face their struggles. She set out to discover why some people merely accept gloomy fate, while others seem to thrive, regardless of their misfortunes.

Throughout the book, Chrystyn unveils a strong personal belief in herself, in her God, and in his goodness. Often, she quotes passages from the Bible. I think it fair to say she views God as a being waiting to help people who ask for it and who are willing to help themselves.To this end, Chrystyn began interviewing people — hundreds of people.

She hunted for common ideational threads among those who were successful and happy in their careers and compared them with people who just muddled through life more or less waiting to retire. According to The Secret to Life Transformation, what she uncovered was threefold. Success, or lack of it, depended on: 1) adapting to adversity, 2) learning from mistakes, and 3) trying again.

Although she could have chosen hundreds of people from every walk of life, Chrystyn limits her choices in her book to twelve individuals she considers highly successful. Each of these adaptable people tells her or his story of how each followed their personal dreams in spite of challenging adversity. This self-conviction transformed their lives.    

  • Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas tells of his transformation which begins at his grandfather’s knee during the years when the Jim Crow south was terribly segregated.
  • Former New York Chief Judge, Sol Wachtler, admits that public dishonor transformed his life, especially when he was diagnosed with a bipolar brain disorder.  
  • Dr. Patch Adams tells his story of events, which led him to perform a clown act, while healing the sick.
  • Dr. Steven M. Hoefflin tells why he changed his medical specialty from heart surgeon to plastic surgeon.
  • John Paul DeJoria’s transformation tale began when his mother gave him a single dime to drop in a Salvation Army bucket.
  • Jose Eber weaves his fascinating story of survival in Hollywood where he arrived with little more than scissors and a dream.
  • Diagnosis of a brain tumor could have ended Jacqueline Jakes plans for any real future; her moving tale explains her fight back to good health.
  • After a very troubled childhood where she was abused by her babysitters, Paula White talks of her inner struggles to find meaning in life.
  • Success was not so easy for Paul Anka; his narrative tells how he managed to transform his life even while walking in the shadow of Elvis Presley.
  • Record producer David Foster recalls that his life was never the same after listening to his mother playing the piano – he was only four years old.
  • The narrative of Robert Evans shows how he survived a massive stroke to become the producer of some of Hollywood’s greatest films,
  • Finally, there is the fascinating story of Bernie Brillstein who earned his way out of the mailroom of the renowned William Morris Agency to start his own business.

I liked The Secret to Life Transformation because of author Chrystyn’s belief that I create the world I live in. What I think about myself directly influences the way I interact with the outside world, and that in turn reinforces my thoughts. My thinking can become a vicious, negative, sometimes implosive cycle of stress, hesitation, and failure; or it can become a vortex of positive energy spiraling outward, filled with motivation, passion, and happiness.

The Secret to Life Transformation will be an inspirational read to every person seeking real change to a hum-drum, ordinary life. You cannot help being influenced by the success stories told by the folks I mentioned above. What’s even more valuable, however, are the realistic suggestions Chrystyn repeats over and over to make your thoughts positive enough to alter your daily behavior.

Although you might be tempted to read straight through the book which often reads like exciting short stories, instead I would recommend reading one chapter per day with time set aside for meditative therapy. If you internalize the book's concepts and adopt them into your everyday thinking, then real transformation can help you fulfill your dreams. 

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