I purchased this book several years ago, but for some reason never got around to reading it. As I was taking inventory in my library the other day, I realized that I had not yet read it. The Power of Personal Accountability is on the shorter side with only 129 pages. I am a huge believer in personal accountability, so I pulled it out and sat down to read.
Now before I get into the actual book review, let me provide you a little about my background. My parents got divorced when I was 12. Right around that time was when I first tried alcohol, which was from then on ever-present throughout the my high school years. I shifted between living with my father and mother afterwards. I started my first job as a dishwasher when I was 14. I was not happy living in my mother’s house and ended up having panic attacks. I temporarily moved in with a friend for a few weeks before moving back home. Not long after, I moved into my own apartment with another friend, at which point I was only attending school for half days and working in a restaurant for the other half of the day. Because I was supporting myself, I had reduced lunch at school (.25 cents), which sometimes I could not even afford.
This was all during high school. After high school, I worked 3 jobs to support myself and could barely make ends meet. I grew and learned a lot during this time, but I came to a point where I had a decision to make. I could play the victim card and blame others for my situation, or I could take accountability for my life, my circumstances and my decisions and make it what I wanted to be. Thanks to the support of people around me and my wanting a better life for myself, I chose the accountability path.
Now back to the review. On page 1, the authors introduce “The Personal Accountability Model”. With this model, the authors put into words a fundamental belief that I have held since my “fork in the road” moment. That belief is that each and every one of us chooses our own path in life. We can choose to be a victim, to ignore, deny , blame, rationalize, resist and hide when a tough situation presents itself. On the other hand, we can choose to take charge of your life by being accountable, to recognize, own, forgive, self-examine, learn and take action.
“Most people don’t realize they have choices. They think they are victims of their circumstances, their background. They think, because they were born in this family or with these handicaps, or in that country, they can or cannot do something… Whether you think you can do something or you cannot, either way, you are right.”
The remainder of the book’s chapters (averaging about 15 pages per chapter) briefly walk through each step in the accountability loop. They describe the step and provide guidance and exercises to help you understand it and apply it to your own life.
I read a lot of books. From most, I hope to learn a few new things that can help me become more successful or expand my knowledge into a new area that I am unfamiliar with. This book, on the other hand, is much more; it is a life changer. I implemented these practices several years ago (inherently applying the model described) and it has changed my life. Once I realized that I was accountable for my life any everything in it, my whole outlook and how I approached life changed. I met my future wife (she was the first girl that I met at college). I finished my undergraduate degree in computer science. I got a job developing software. I purchased a home. I got married to the love of my life. I started 2 real estate investment companies. I became a father. I completed my master’s degree in management as well as a class in lean six sigma and several in agile software development. I co-founded a software/web development company (which I later sold to my partner). I opened a wine and liquor store. I did all of this because I took ownership of my life. You can too, and this book will tell you how.