There were three very big motivating factors for me in purchasing Dean Dwyer’s book Make Shift Happen: Change How You Look by Changing How You Think. The first and most important reason is that it’s my brother and I’s goal to influence over one million people in a positive way with our website you see here. I figured that if this book could help me become a better teacher and coach then it would be worth it. We’ve made shift happen in our own lives and want to help as many others as possible do the same.
My second reason was that I’ve read Dean’s blog over at beingprimal.com (which is now makeshifthappen.org) and he often has very valuable things to say. I knew I would be able to find more valuable information in his book.
My third reason was to financially support Dean. I’m a strong believer in making your money count. What you value in this world really shows through in your credit card and bank statements. Whether it’s purchasing locally grown vegetables from a farmer, or donating to a cause, or purchasing an informational product by someone who is trying to inspire positive change; That to me will always be $10 or $20 or $50 very well spent. (Dean’s book is currently $16.41 well spent on Amazon.)
If I could give one tagline for this book it would be, “The book every trainer, coach, or teacher wishes their client or student had as preparation reading.”
So why should you read in order to “do”, because you can only transform your body once you have already transformed your mind. Without a change in both, real, sustainable change won’t happen.
Let’s Get to The Book…
The book’s Foreword sets a great tone. Where most would ask a big name author to write some nice words, Dean sets the stage that this book is different. He makes a point that this book is going to motivate you from page 1.
Dean makes it clear that shift is going to happen and you are going to do it. Like pushing a boulder off the top of Mt. Everest, Dean gets this book rolling with his passion.
As Dean “gets the boulder rolling” it’s fitting that his very first shift is Do Something Seismic. Here he basically tells you that giant effects won’t happen without first acting small with seemingly inconsequential actions. He also tells you why go-big-or-go-home is unsustainable over time.
I didn’t want to play favorites by jumping on the very first SHIFT, but this SHIFT needs further praising. Dean is addressing the BIGGEST PITFALL I’ve known in completing any kind of task, health related or not. How many times do we encounter a problem, and the bigger we view the problem, the more we feel we have to do to solve it.
I know I’ve been guilty of this in my diet, in my workouts, in my finances, in my time management, in the Superhuman50 Challenge and much more. What can I say… I’m a DREAMER BABY! I dream big so I feel the need to make big plans of achieving them. But you know what happens to big plans…they almost always fail. Dean helped me reaffirm the fact that I need to plan small in order to achieve big.
20 Shifts to a Better You
Before I get too off track delving into shifts, I want to lay out the structure of Dean’s book for you. He breaks down the book into 20 separate “shifts”. Here they are listed from #20 down to #1.
Shift #20: Do Something Seismic
Shift #19: Ignore Most (But Not All) Experts
Shift #18: Change Your Mind
Shift #17: Think in Beta
Shift #16: Log Like Captain Kirk
Shift #15: Run Your Body Like You’d Run a Business
Shift #14: Squash the Character Flaw Theory
Shift #13: Create a Vacuum
Shift #12: Declare War on Resistance
Shift #11: Lose Your Mindlessness
Shift #10: Be Brutally Honest
Shift #9: The Power of Less
Shift #8: Be 911
Shift #7: Smash the Scale
Shift #6: 4 Components of a Highly Successful Body
Shift #5: Recover Like Wile E. Coyote
Shift #4: Abort! System Failure
Shift #3: Decide in Advance
Shift #2: Discover Your Carb Threshold
Shift #1: Go Paleo
After every book I read, I always go back and type out the notes and important stuff I found in the book so I can easily access it in an outline at any time (only if the book is good… which this one is).
The meat of the shift
I won’t go into any more detail about individual shifts but here’s some snippets from my notes that will wet your beak for Dean’s book:
(These may or may not be direct quotes, they are just my personal notes.)
- Create your own “How to be great at my life” book. Your life goals will transform into health changes. Read it daily out loud to stay focused on what’s important to you.
- Don’t procrastinate for perfection.
- Embrace simplicity. Focus on a few key vital behaviors.
- Embrace your constraints. Turn them into stepping stones of progress.
- Could you save your own life if disaster struck? Could you save someone else’s life?
- Rationalization is a tool resistance uses to help you justify your actions. The moment you listen to rationalization, you put yourself on the fast track to complete and utter failure.
- It’s almost always the fault of the process, not the person.
- Trouble can be averted by being proactive rather than reactive.
- When you attempt to do something monumental with monumental changes, you most certainly will fail. Instead, move base to base until you’ve reached your goals.
The final shift is Go Paleo but he doesn’t go into the diet in much depth. But it is VERY interesting how Dean joins the ever-growing crowd of former vegetarians who are realizing that diet does not work for their bodies.
I’d say it worked pretty good for Dean…
As I mentioned in the beginning, I bought this book mainly to become a better coach. I did not expect to learn so much about my own flaws. I’m far from perfect and this book really brought back some important principles I had learned once upon a time.
I’ve read a lot of the books Dean cited throughout his shifts, so I was pretty familiar with some of the information he was giving. If I could re-recommend one of the books, it would be “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath.
I only have a couple constructive criticisms for Dean but definitely not enough to give this book anything less than a full five stars on Amazon. I’m always suspect of “perfect reviews” so I like to be honest and less than perfect. This book currently doesn’t have a single review on Amazon less than five full stars and some may get suspicious. Not that there should be negative reviews, but there should be negative reviewers. When a book can please even the “Negative Nancies” that’s when you know you have something special.
First, shift #17 says, Think in Beta: wait for functional, don’t wait for perfect. I could not help to wonder how perfect this book could be with a little more time spent on it. I’m not saying there was any lack of time or effort put into this book, because it’s a very good read. I just think some of the shifts were cut short and could have used more of Dean’s personal stories and wit.
Second, Dean re-directed a lot of attention to other sources like books he learned from and I think that works great to an extent. But when it’s not balanced with a lot of original substance, it takes away from the author’s expertise on the subjects.
Third, I found the final chapter of the email exchange not valuable enough to put in the book. I would have rather seen 5-10 different testimonials/transformations where Dean really gave some great actionable advice that connected with some of the numbered shifts.
What I liked best…
I think the most important virtue of this book is that it has actionable advice. Dean says in the book how he attended an Anthony Robbin’s Seminar and was ridiculously inspired when it finished. But then he got home and quickly deflated because he had no actionable advice to act on.
Dean concisely breaks down an action plan for you to Make Shift Happen in your own life.
Many of our Superhumans and future Superhumans will find some great advice in this book to make their Superhuman50 challenge something to be proud of.
I can’t wait to put this book to work in my life, as well as to help others.
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