Book Review: Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

by Tim Francis on February 20, 2013

Really enjoyed this book – would rate it around 8/10.

Why not 10/10?  Not because it was lacking in any way.  Just need to reserve 9s and 10s leave room for ultra-superstar books that literally change my life.  This book didn’t change my life, although it substantially added to it.

Great job Maxwell Maltz.

Lots of Wisdom… Despite Whacko Title

It’s so jam-packed with great life wisdom.  Despite the wacky title, it’s incredibly grounded and delivered so many life lessons it got me nodding my head over and over again.

For example… in the book, he questions why we worry so much after making a decision…

Maltz compares this kind of worrying to gamblers who calmly place their bet on the roulette wheel, but then get stressed *after* the wheel has started turning.

That makes no sense!

The time to be stressed is *before* placing the bet…. that’s the time to consider the odds, consider the bet amount, and/or walk away altogether.

But once the bet is made and the wheel is turning?  It’s out of your hands at that point… the odds are the odds, your bet is confirmed, and so there’s not much you can do anymore.

Same with life.  The time to worry about a decision is *before* its made.  And once the decision is made?  Release all stress, and be prepared to go with the flow until you need to make the next decision.

So wise!

Why I Was Hesitant to Read This Book

I used to be a raving fan of “The Secret”.

It was a time in my life when I was eager to drink whatever kool-aid I could.  After a while I realized how much I was deluded.  Since then I’ve come to really resent all books in that realm.

So when I heard that Psycho-cybernetics (still can’t get over the ridiculousness of that name, LOL!) included some visualization, my B.S-dar immediately went into full-defence mode.  But the book had been so deeply recommended by some pretty sharp, no-BS marketers (i.e. Dan Kennedy), that I decided to still check it out, albeit *on probation*.

I came to understand that Maltz’s version of visualization is dramatically different than what practicioners of “The Secret” espouse.  “Law of Attraction” stuff may be true (who knows?), but the culture around “The Secret” is the real cancer.  Setup a visionboard, think positively and blam-o, sports car in your driveway.  (riiiight)

Psycho-cybernetics is not like that.  It’s in alignment with what athletes and other performers do before competing / performing.  To imagine the positive result.  To get clear on what you want, and make that an instruction to your sub-conscious… to maximize (although not guarantee) the possibility of that vision becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy once you hit the stage / start playing.

Just think of the Olympics… the few moments before a sprint happens… you see all the athletes getting “in the zone”.  That kind of thing.

Got me thinking: if athletes and other high-performance people do it (including my former-varsity-athlete self)… and it WORKS…. why not do it in my regular day-to-day life?

Just because my current role and activities don’t fall into the traditional definition of “high performance” (e.g. pro athlete, Olympian, pro musician, etc) doesn’t mean I can’t still be high performance to maximize my potential for success.  If it helps me to write an ad that is even 5% more potent in raking in sales, wouldn’t that be worth it?

(Important Distinction: Maltz says that after visualization you still have to actually play / perform / do the work… your desired result probably won’t just “appear”… that’s the big difference between PsychoCybo and the culture around “The Secret”.)

Having performed on many occasions myself (sports and music), and having studied visualization for athletic performance in my University degree, I feel strongly that there’s value in it.  And that value has produced better results for me during the actual performance than if I hadn’t done the visualizations / imaginations.

So from that place, and for those reasons, I support Psycho-Cybernetics… even the potentially-suspicious visualization stuff.

Will definitely listen to this again in the not-too-distant future!  Thanks for the great book Dr. Maltz.  Your legacy lives on.

Hope that helps,

Tim :)

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