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Book Review: You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way by J. R. Parrish

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J.R. Parrish went from his early work as a milkman to become a multi-millionaire living on his own plantation in Hawaii. Along the way, he shared what he learned about human relationships. The successful practices he developed in treating people with fairness and respect created a successful real estate career for him, and here he shares his strategies for prosperous living with integrity.

You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way is a book of solid advice, geared to high school and college graduates, as well as those in their 20s and 30s who may feel rootless and need some direction.

“You never know when your opportunities will come or what form they will take. A fundamental secret of success is to be ready for your opportunities when they appear. Opportunity does you no good if you’re not in a position to take advantage of it. This important truth applies to all aspects of your life.”

Parrish knows first-hand about the importance of having a mentor. Early in his career, he was taken aside by an older fellow who recognized Parrish had the qualities needed to make something of himself. With a little help, he grew into a solid career and a very interesting life.

Parrish describes a mentor as "a channel to wisdom and the goodwill of others." A good mentor acts like a filter to help you avoid costly mistakes and guides you through the perilous waters of life. One critical lesson he learned is “You will win or lose with people in direct proportion to your ability to satisfy their need to feel important.”

Charismatic people often inspire or impress us because they focus on us and make us feel important and valued. There are many ways you can improve the way you are perceived, and get more from people. Parrish’s strategies include:

  • Talk about what they want to talk about
  • Ask questions about them
  • Show genuine interest in them, and
  • Make them feel important.

Some of the advice in You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way seems simple such as setting the stage for what you want, but how many of us actually do that? Parish reminds you to know your goals and plan for your success. His colorful, interactive book also guides you through ways to get people to say “yes” in any situations.

If you know a few people who don’t seem to be on the right path, Parrish’s guidance may help them in identifying their goals, choosing friends wisely, and learning to be a good listener.

For the bigger picture, You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way does a good job helping people know what to expect in making career and financial decisions, and planning for marriage and parenthood.

The true gift of this book is the lessons in thoughtfulness that may make you, or your son or daughter, a more loving and caring person.

Listen to the whispers in your life and heed the messages in You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way . Slow down, recalibrate, and stay balanced, as you work toward your dreams and your goals… for life.

As Parrish says: "You have to have a dream to make a dream come true."

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About Helen Gallagher