Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Magic Story (Book Recommendation)

We probably all know optimistic people. The ones that think the glass is half-full. The ones that have a hundred and one suggestions to make things work. The ones that are always energetic, happy, and full of life.

We also all know sourpusses. Never content to think the glass is half-empty, they are on a mission to convince you of its emptiness. They see a million and one reasons why things will not work. They fixate on misfortune and unhappiness, and seek to drown you in the doldrums of despair.

What we all might not know is how much paradigms can affect our life results.


I first read The Magic Story as an undergraduate at the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2006. I loved its quaintness and simplicity – but disagreed with its basic premise at the time.

The short story is excellently written, and in sixteen pages manages to deliver a compelling argument for positive paradigms – in a totally readable form. In the build-up to its core, a broke journalist repeatedly encounters a series of people whose lives have been transformed by a story – causing him to resolve to read the story for himself. In the core of the story – an aged successful man tells of his struggles in life and the misfortunes that befell him, and of the epiphany that set him on the path to success.

A lot has changed in the eight years since I first read the story. I have succeeded and failed at a number of pursuits; and I have experienced first-hand the possible difference in outcomes based on my prevailing paradigms in different contexts. Now I completely agree with Stephen Covey that the very first step to personal effectiveness is to embrace a paradigm of proactivity: of seizing the initiative, of consciously choosing how we will respond to stimuli day-in, day-out.

I strongly recommend “The Magic Story” by Frederick Van Rensselaer Dey. Go here to download it (no strings attached).

Cheers :).


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah it's free... My post does say "no strings attached". The book fell out of copyright a long time ago (having been published since the late 1800s) - so it's perfectly legit to share a free copy :) :).