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Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

What if, by making a small change in your perspective, you could make a big change in your happiness? This is the question discussed in “The Noticer“, a book by motivational speaker Andy Andrews.

Set on the Gulf Shores of Alabama, Andrews tells the story of how he met his mentor, an old man that goes by the name of simply “Jones”. Jones’ ability to notice fine details and ask deep, thought-provoking questions becomes the catalyst for a big change in Andrews’ life, one that brings him from a drifter’s existence to become a successful public speaker and motivator.

The story continues, describing how Jones crosses paths with various other people who are experiencing their moments of crisis: a couple on the verge of divorce, a contractor who has compromised his principles too many times, a group of young people about to graduate, an elderly lady despairing that her life no longer has meaning…

Each story has a message that connects to a central theme: happiness is a matter of perspective. Perspective leads to wisdom, ” the ability to see, into the future, the consequences of your choices in the present.” By detaching oneself from fear and focusing more on gratitude, one’s perspective starts to shift towards noticing opportunities, accepting encouragement, and gaining confidence.

The book as a whole is a relatively quick read. The beginning of the book held my attention because it had an autobiographical feel, which I like. Then as the story shifted to the third-person in order to share Jones’ encounters with other people in crisis, the tone and narrative reminded me of a made-for-TV movie on the Hallmark channel: the dialogue is too stiff and the story feels artificial. However, I was willing to look past this and pick up some food for thought as shared by Jones:

  • “Think with me here … everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but if you’ll remember, mountaintops are rocky and cold. There is no growth on the top of a mountain. Sure, the view is great, but what’s a view for? A view just gives us a glimpse of our next destination-our next target. But to hit that target, we must come off the mountain, go through the valley, and begin to climb the next slope. It is in the valley that we slog through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life’s next peak.”
  • “When you focus on the things you need, you’ll find those needs increasing. If you concentrate your thoughts on what you don’t have, you will soon be concentrating on other things that you had forgotten you don’t have-and feel worse! If you set your mind on loss, you are more likely to lose … But a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life.”
  • “A life filled with opportunities and encouragement finds more and more opportunities and encouragement, and success becomes inevitable.”
  • “When doubts and fears assail us, we subconsciously calculate the possibilities. `This might really happen!’ we tell ourselves, or ‘What will happen if… ?’ And soon, we are so paralyzed by the idea that disaster is imminent that we cannot function in our work-and even our relationships dissolve. We have imagined our way to self-destruction. And that’s what has happened to you, my friend. What you must do – to defeat bad logic with good – is to deflect your subconscious from calculating possibilities. Instead, direct your mind to calculate the odds. You can learn very quickly to calculate the odds of an event occurring and eliminate it as even a remote possibility in your life.”
  • “One way to define wisdom is the ability to see, into the future, the consequences of your choices in the present.”
  • “Your ‘big picture’ will never be a masterpiece if you ignore the tiny brushstrokes.”
  • “Trust and respect are about the future. Forgiveness will be in the hands of others and can be given to you, but trust and respect are in your own hands … and must be earned.”

The last part of the book offers a set of discussion questions that would be interesting to discuss in a book group over coffee and muffins.

Overall, it is a nice story but not necessarily life-changing for me. Many of the messages I have heard before. A major problem with this book is the editing, in that the author keeps switching from the first person (as he describes his own encounters with Jones) to the third person (describing other people’s encounters with Jones, but as a narration). To me this keeps this book from being great.

If you like allegory stories such as “Who Stole My Cheese”, “The One Minute Millionaire”, or “The Greatest Networker In The World”, or movies such as “What The Bleep Do We Know” and “The Secret”, you will probably like this book. For this type of inspiration, I prefer books that are more grounded in reality, such as true autobiographies or memoirs. However, from watching videos of Andy Andrews, he seems to be an engaging storyteller in person. And this book (as well as others from this author) will surely be heavily marketed to the personal development/self-help/spirituality/Christianity crowd.

This book was offered to me as a gift to help in my recovery. One line in particular resonates with me at this time in my life, which I consider as the “return” on my time investment and why I give “The Noticer” three stars out of five.

For more information

“The Noticer” on Amazon.com (Kindle edition):

Andy Andrews’ web site: http://www.andyandrews.com/

Andy Andrews on Facebook:

See the Kindle Review page which displays highlights noted by myself and others who have read the Amazon Kindle edition of the book (no login required):

Andy Andrews on YouTube, includes lots of videos providing background and atmosphere for “The Noticer”

Video trailer for “The Noticer” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49iGwJv8a6Y

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