Summary and book reviews of Life Strategies by Dr Phillip McGraw

Life Strategies

Doing What Works, Doing What Matters

By Dr Phillip McGraw

Life Strategies
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  • Paperback: Jan 2000,
    255 pages.

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Book Summary

Do You Know the Ten Laws of Life?

Life Law #1:
You either get it, or you don't.
Strategy. Become one of those who gets it.

Life Law
#2. You create your own experience.
Strategy. Acknowledge and accept accountability for your life.

Life Law #3:
People do what works.
Strategy.- Identify the payoffs that drive your behavior and that of others.

Life Law
#4. You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.
Strategy. Get real with yourself about your life and everybody in it.

Life Law
#5. Life rewards action.
Strategy. Make careful decisions and then pull the trigger.

Life Law
#6.- There is no reality; only perception.
Strategy. Identify the filters through which you view the world.

Life Law #7.
Life is managed; it is not cured.
Strategy. Learn to take charge of your life.

Life Law #8. We
teach people how to treat us.
Strategy. Own, rather than complain, about how people treat you.

Life Law #9.
There is power in forgiveness.
Strategy. Open your eyes to what anger and resentment are doing to you.

Life Law #10.
You have to name it before you can claim it.
Strategy. Get clear about what you want and take your turn.

If you are:

  • capable of more than you are accomplishing,
  • frustrated that you are not making more money;
  • stuck in a rut and not getting what you want;
  • bored with yourself,
  • silently enduring an emotionally barren life or marriage;
  • trudging, zombielike, through a dead and unchallenging career,
  • just "going through the motions" of your life with no passion, no plan, and no goal;
  • living in a comfort zone that yields too little challenge and too little of what you do want, and too much of what you don't want;
  • living a lonely existence with little hope for change

then hold on as Dr. McGraw takes you on a guided tour of your life to truthfully label the problems and causes that control your destiny.

Life Strategies will give you the most honest explanation of your life and how you got where you are. Dr. McGraw is results based and measures success in terms of changed lives, not rhetoric. This book is a plaintalk, entertaining way to learn to take control of your life, right now.

In the book, the author describes the ten Laws of Life that every person needs to know. These laws are like the laws of gravity - they exist, and you don't get a vote. Learn them, use them, and improve virtually every aspect of your life, from work to home to spiritual to physical. Ignore them and you'll continue to pay the price.

Author Phillip McGraw gets you not to just give lip service about being accountable, but shows you how to be accountable and how to do it effectively. With a seven-step process for achieving your goals, Dr. McGraw shows you how to strategically control your life, rather than continue as a frustrated passenger.

Excerpt from Chapter One

Assignment #1

Your first assignment is to challenge your beliefs right now, by listing in order of significance the top five things in your life that you have simply failed to fully and completely admit or acknowledge to yourself. This requires some new thinking. You may think, "If I know it, I'm not denying it," or "If I'm denying it, how can I know it to write it down?" I said new thinking. Ask yourself some of those hard questions about what you would rather not think about. Write them down, because you'll be referring to them later. What is it that you know in your heart is a problem not acknowledged or at least so painful that you avoid it?

Be advised that you are going to be writing down a lot of things as we progress through the rest of the book. I recommend that you get some type of journal where you can do all of the ‘homework' that arises as we move forward. I recommend a spiral notebook, where the pages are attached and...

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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

While McGraw's presentation may play well on the small screen, it suffers on the page from lack of focus, awkward writing and a relentlessly hectoring tone......McGraw does a good job of identifying many self-defeating behaviors, but it will be up to readers to determine for themselves the efficacy of his methods of changing them.

Library Journal

President of a litigation consulting firm, McGraw is also a member of Oprah Winfrey's "Change Your Life TV" team. He advised Oprah during her Amarillo beef trial and attributes the inspiration for this book to that episode. McGraw claims that people in dire situations have serious problems, including denial and choosing initial assumptions without testing them for accuracy. To create a life strategy that works, McGraw lays out his ten "Life Laws" along with checklists and 18 assignments. Each chapter begins with one of the life laws: e.g., get real; you create your own experience; people do what works; and life is managed, not cured. He concludes with a wrap-up of a seven-step strategy, working toward set goals.

Reader Reviews

Life strategies
Bravo Dr. Phil! Your book is second to my bible. Very practical to apply and highly effective in results. Amazing coz I can't imagine the pleasure I'm experiencing now as a consequence to the proper use of your 10 principles in life strategies.

Saraswathi Sripada

Wonderful !!!! This book is only small to see,but this has really made a life lasting impact on me.The laws are so simple,and real that you cant afford to ignore them.A must read for all.


Kudos to Dr. Phil for a truly engaging first book.He really makes you want to "git off yur butt".Plain spoken advice with a sure fire plan.

Debbie Holbrook


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