Author Review: Take the Stairs


Rory Vaden is the author of the new bestselling book, Take the Stairs – 7 Steps to Achieving True Success. In promoting his new book, he recently spoke here in Wichita and to a packed house in Salina, Kansas. I was fortunate to be able to see him at those events.

Rory’s concept of “Taking the Stairs” is all about finding success. Rory likes to say, ” Success means doing things you don’t want to do.” He uses the comparison of taking the stairs vs. the escalator as a metaphor for choosing the more difficult path now to yield the better life in the long term.

This is not about fitness, it’s about success in every aspect of your life. Rory used some great personal examples and stories in his presentation. Many were also in the book, including other interesting and inspirational tales.

He started by discussing how pervasive procrastination can be in our lives (“we live in a ProcrastiNATION”). This probably isn’t news to you. But when he provided some eye-opening, and specific, figures on what the cost can be in the workplace (on Page 11 of the book) that grabbed the audiences attention.

He broke down procrastination into 3 areas, classic, creative avoidance, and priority dilution. These are from the third principle – The Magnification Principle of Focus:

Classic – Consciously delaying what you should be doing (who hasn’t been there?)
Creative Avoidance – Unconsciously filling the day with menial work in order to be busy being busy – also called distraction
Priority Dilution – (un)consciously delaying by allowing your attention to shift to less important tasks – also called interruption

He told us that “Attention Span isn’t as important as Intention Span.” Sometimes we have to remember that, as his mother told him, “enjoying it is not a requirement of doing it.”

He went on to talk about 3 of the other 6 principles in the book:

1. The Paradox Principle – Rory discussed how taking the easy route in the short term (i.e. the escalator) led to long term difficulty. More importantly, he provided examples of how short term difficulty (i.e. the stairs) can lead to long-term ease.

2. The Buy-In Principle of Commitment – the most important aspect was how we need to shift our attitude from asking, “Should I?” to “How will I?”

6. The Perspective Principle of Faith – Rory gave a powerful story of how one seemingly negative event in history actually led to him being where he is today, which I won’t ruin for you since it is also in the book.

His other points: Integrity, Schedule and Action have similarly well-written stories. If you’re a fan of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you’ll find many of the principles to be similar.

What I like about Rory’s take is that it isn’t quite so business-centric as Covey, and as a speaker I can identify with his stories and experiences. He puts his points into words many people can identify with. “Success is never owned; it is rented – and the rent is due every day.”

I also liked his definition of intellectual dishonesty (page 115) – Allowing someone to believe something you know to be not true. I’ve heard it referred to as “a lie of omission”, but I think “intellectual dishonesty” crystalizes the concept better.

Even if you aren’t ready to change your whole life and blow by the escalators, you can use just one or two principles here and see results. He’s still touring, so if you can see him in person, that would be ideal. If not,  pick this book up on-line or at the store and read it today.

Rob’s Rating system (bolded, the rating is)
Buy now at full price (although it’s already discounted on-line)
Buy if you get a discount
Wait for the paperback
Wait for someone else to be done with the paperback
If you’ve read my review, you got the gist of it

Editors note: I first met Rory in 2009, and consider him to be a friend. That being said, I recommend the book not for that reason, but because it was worth recommending.

Also: Here is my 2009 review of his first book, No Laughs to Know Laughs.


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