The Sixty-Second Motivator (2006) is the first book I’ve come across since I’ve started reviewing books that I’ve had mixed thoughts about. Honestly, the book has a lot going for it, and I would probably give it to a friend to read, but I don’t suggest you spend your hard earned money on it when there is better information available on the internet for FREE.
In a nutshell, the book is in the form of a short story about a young physical therapy student who wants to know how to motivate his patients to move around and stuff. He hears about this legendary therapist known as `the sixty-second motivator’, earned from his reputation in having the ability to motivate anyone to do anything in exactly one minute or less. Young student meets legendary therapist, and then the rest of the book follows the two as the therapist attempts to motivate old people to walk around, while the young whippersnapper marvels in his glory. Oh, and it’s a very quick read too, with about 10 or 20 pages of information spread out to about 80 thanks to its big text – a trick we all learned in primary school.
“Well, let’s just say at this point I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want first?”
“Oh boy,” said the patient. “I guess give me the bad news first.” (p. 53)
In light of the above quote from the book in question, I will begin this review by outlining my disappointments before I branch out into its strengths. Naturally we like to hear our news in this order, so I will comply. Funnily enough, the book’s first weakness could also be considered by some to be its strength: the book is just far too simple in its exploration of a very complex subject such as motivation. Rather than explain the underlying reasons why we become motivated to make a change, the book instead hammers two basic methods for motivating people, and never really explains why the motivation occurs in the first place. Firstly, you should know that the book’s definition of motivation is as follows:
“Motivation can be thought of as how ready a person is to change. Therefore: A highly motivated person is very ready to change. While a poorly motivated person is not ready to change.”
Pretty simple right? Well get used to it, as that’s about as tech as this book gets.
The book stresses that only two things are necessary in order to motivate someone to do something, they are:
Importance – increasing importance of changing a behaviour creates more motivation.
Confidence – increasing your confidence that you can change a behaviour creates more motivation.
Ok, fair enough. The next problem with the book is that it uses poor examples of how this can be used to motivate a person. Seeing as the author is a physical therapist, all of his examples pretty much revolve around old men and women who don’t want to do their exercises. It is difficult to apply these scenarios to more realistic situations where one would need to be motivated, and honestly, the book doesn’t offer the reader any motivation to try and modify the examples to fit their own. The next problem I have with this book is the editing, I know this won’t be a problem for many of you, so I won’t stress it, but I found a lot of grammatical errors and places where the flow of the writing was affected by poor choice of words. It was as though a child had written the book for a school project, and had never read it twice to make sure it was up to standard. Considering how short the book is, and the fact that it demands that people pay money to read it, there is no excuse and it loses points in my mind. If I was marking this book as a school assignment, I’d give it a lousy mark for editing. Now if I was a publisher… Oh boy.
Another problem I have with the book is its lack of research. The writer makes almost no effort to produce any research to back up his findings. There is one stage in the book where the protagonist looks up some psychological databases on the computer and finds a really crappy experiment where smokers are assigned to two groups, one group is told to quit smoking as it’s bad for their health (which they obviously already knew), while the other group is motivated by professionals to quit. They follow up a year later and find that the smokers in the second group had a higher quit ratio than the first group. Well duh. I could log into a psychological database right now and dig up some research which is more interesting, more important, and less obvious in sixty seconds. Again, for me this drives home the point that the author is lazy and hasn’t done his homework – alarm bells are ringing since the author ‘should’ be more motivated. The end of the book even has the audacity to include a reference page which contains no more than 5 references… This is pretty weak considering that in first year psychology we had to provide more references than that for even a short 500 word summary on a subject such as motivation.
The last problem I had was its focus on motivating others and its almost total lack of information on how to motivate yourself, which is the reason, I imagine, most people are buying this book in the first place. Not a big assumption to make considering
1 . It’s a self-help book.
2 . The cover states clearly: `How To Motivate Yourself To Do Anything’
3 . The cover boasts that it is `A Book That Will Change Your Life!’ (We’ve all heard that one before!)
The only effort this book makes at applying the lessons learnt to motivating yourself is a single page at the very end of the book which provides a checklist of obvious questions to ask yourself, such as `what would it be like if you reached your goal?’. If you don’t already know how to ask yourself questions like that, then you don’t need a book on motivation, you need a new brain.
Finally, I arrive at the book’s strengths. Phew!
1. The book is short. So short in fact I read it in one sitting, half of which occurred on the toilet, the other half on a chair outside while I smoked a cigarette. No, I didn’t find myself motivated to quit after reading this book.
2. The book is written in a short story format, which makes it easy to read and a lot more engaging than your average self-help book.
3. The text on the page is nicely laid out, a good sized font that is well spaced – easy on the eyes. (Well the font size covers up a big negative that I mentioned earlier, but I’ll give it this one)
4. The book is short, oh wait, I said that already.
If this book were a pamphlet that you could get for free at the doctor’s office, then I would have nothing but praise for it, but seeing as how it attempts to pass off as a well researched and clever book on motivation, that is also deserving of your money, I can’t justify it at all.