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Life Is Not Fair...

Life Is Not Fair...

by Bill Bernard
This is the one book that can end your adolescent's angst and show the world as it really works. Written in a clear voice that tells teenagers what the mean world is really about, Life is Not Fair... explains what they need to know and do to become happy, successful and mature adults.

It explores complex issues without any mumbo jumbo, and teaches teenagers how to


This is the one book that can end your adolescent's angst and show the world as it really works. Written in a clear voice that tells teenagers what the mean world is really about, Life is Not Fair... explains what they need to know and do to become happy, successful and mature adults.

It explores complex issues without any mumbo jumbo, and teaches teenagers how to think about relationships, family, friends, sex, drugs, money, taxes, spin, timing and luck. Life is Not Fair... also encourages the reader to consider their place in the world, and how they can have more fun, make more money and be lucky by simply learning to think better.

In brief, it is not what to think, but how to think, which makes this book unique and valuable. This is a book that parents can share with their children, and it includes the voices of young people who talk about the challenges and problems they face.

Chapters include:
--There are no "free" lunches
--Life's a bitch, then you die
--Don't believe your own BS
--Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son!

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In this gritty, no-nonsense guide, Bernard presents 10 "rules" to clue readers in to some of life's realities. He says in his introduction that this book is intended to be read aloud by teens and their parents. The sections cover territory such as "Life's a bitch, then you die! How to See the Big Picture"; "Don't fight the last war! How to Find Your Place in the World"; and "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son! How to Keep Your Head Clear." Also covered are topics such as budgeting, cliques, and relationships. Questions to encourage discussion between teens and their parents appear at the end of each chapter, and relevant vignettes are sprinkled throughout. Although the text is written tongue in cheek, some readers may find Bernard's aggressive style and gun analogies a bit off-putting. He often paints a bleak picture of the "real" world and his matter-of-fact viewpoint can seem somewhat harsh.-Lori Matthews, Loyola School, New York Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

A big issue in life is figuring out priorities. Priorities are about seeing what needs to be done and when it best needs doing. The "when" is a very critical piece to this puzzle. Really seeing what needs to be done (so that you will be able to accomplish any given task) is pretty hard in itself.

Figuring out when you should be doing things is usually the killer. Many times, you will find yourself doing the right thing, but doing it at the wrong time, and this always makes the task much harder. If you need to fix the propeller on your boat, you don't start at sunset. Trying to do this in the dark is really hard.

In this section we concentrate on identifying what needs to be done (learning to look for ways to improve your boat and your seamanship) and when the best times are to do it. In the previous section, you should have learned that they key to this is simply having a direction, any direction. Wandering aimlessly through life does not maximize your capabilities, no matter what they are. In figuring out what needs to be done, you have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of believing your own BS.

Being a good manager

"Don't believe your own BS," is a business phrase (with this and the previous sections, you may be able to tell that I spent considerable time in corporate America). Anyway, the phrase is used as advice for young managers. In order to manage anything (as you should now be thinking about managing your own life, your journey in your little boat), you have to make decisions-should I do this, or should I do that? The best way to make good decisions is to have all the information you need. The accuracy of this information determines the quality of your decisions (and this is truly what life and decision making is all about), you will best be served by getting good at gathering all the right information.

Here's where the catch comes in. Management is about making the right decisions, but it's also about the quality of those decisions, performing, doing well, delivering. Businesses are not run like hobbies; they have specific goals. Just like your boat, they have a very specific destination, typically to produce more profit or value than they did for the same period in the previous year. As a result of this single-minded focus (typically everything that the company does is with this goal in mind), managers have to make decisions and then communicate the results to a variety of groups. You have to tell everybody what you're doing and how its going-welcome to Corporate America. You have to tell them how well your decisions turned out.

Everybody is interested in "How's it going?" In a business, everyone cares-the owners, other managers, employees, vendors (people that sell the company products and services), customers, the IRS, and on and on. As a manager of whatever job you have, you are the only one who can really tell everyone else what's going on in your area. No matter how hard you might try not to, it is human nature that you will always put a "spin" on the story of "How's it going?" to make yourself look good. Spin is not necessarily lying, it's just bending the truth to make good stuff seem a little better and bad stuff seem not so bad. This is evidently hardwired into our brains.

You may use a lot of spin or maybe just a little, but it's always there. Senior managers learn to discount anyone's report on "How's it going?" based on how much spin they're used to hearing from that particular manager. This is a Fact of Life-whenever someone asks you "How's it going?" there is spin involved, and not always the same spin to the same people. You may spin more to your employees, or more to your boss, and the spin to the owners is different than the spin to the vendors. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

The point here is that this just isn't about business, it's about life too! How many times a day to you hear a variation of, "Hey, how's it going?" This, like other stuff in this book, is ingrained into our culture. The ever-present answer to this often-asked question is, "Fine, it's going just fine." SPIN! Is everything really ever that fine? This is why there are report cards, information that is hard and fast, with no spin. It's not "soft" information like "good" or "bad" or "fine"-it's a hard number, a 3.1, it's finite, it's your GPA. In business the report cards are called "profit and loss statements." The spin you put on this hard data (especially if it's not so good) is called "excuses" and they might work for a while, but not forever.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Believing your own spin, especially the excuses, is a huge trap that a lot of people fall into. The theory goes: If you say something often enough, you start to believe it's true, and believing it's true will cause you to make your decisions based on your own spin, your own misinformation. This is spinning out of control. Don't ever believe your own BS! You will immediately be able to tell when this is happening the moment you start to feel that everything is OK.

A good way to cut through your own spin, your own BS, is to imagine that you are "working" for yourself. Are you happy with the job that was done or would you fire yourself?

Remember, you are a little boat on a big ocean; NOTHING IS EVER OK, IT'S REALLY DANGEROUS OUT THERE! There's always something that could be done, or done better. So, when you look around and think you are finished with something, anything, you should take the extra moment to really be honest with yourself. Did you do a good job, an acceptable job, or a poor job? After all, it's your own damn boat!

What does all this have to do with managing your own life? It has to do with learning to give yourself a report card, that hard-and-fast data with no spin. Your personal report card should be issued daily, hourly, minute by minute, and the only thing that really matters on it is whether you are getting closer to your goal or farther away-what direction that decision makes your boat go. The decision to blow off the book report and watch television gets you farther from your goal if your goal is to be an attorney (because first you have to do well in school to get into law school). Because you were watching an episode of Law and Order is just an excuse-it's just spin. Don't believe this BS is helping you toward your goal.

To see better what needs to be done (what you should be doing to improve your boat and your seamanship), you need high quality, accurate information. You will use this information to manage your journey along the path you have chosen in life, whatever that path is. To figure out what information you need, you should first have a very clear idea of what you're trying to accomplish. To save some time here, I'll just flat out tell you that everyone's job and highest priority should be, first and foremost, managing his or her own life. You must begin to see yourself in this manner and think about what it means. It's a job. It's work. It's not always fun, but like it or not, as the oatmeal guy says, "It's the right thing to do!" If you start thinking about yourself as your own personal employee, and that employee's job is to manage your life, how simple things become. You can track your performance and give out report cards. Am I getting closer or farther away? Am I doing a good or poor job of managing, making the right decisions more often than bad decisions?

You should have meetings with this employee (just like in business) to ask "How's it going?" Take time every day to review the decisions you made and whether they were good or bad. Be focused with your thinking, not just, "Oh, that was cool, that was a drag." Think about which decisions got you closer to your goal and which ones got you farther away. It's kind of life watching the compass on the boat. If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there. If you have a goal, a direction, then you can only be doing one of two things, getting closer or farther away. In giving yourself the honest answers to this daily meeting about "How it's going," don't forget that you're the boss! Be critical, be the prosecuting attorney, "Oh yeah, well if it's going so well, how come..." These are hard questions to answer, and it's really not much fun to be on the firing line, but it's well worth the effort.

Meet the Author

Bill Bernard has had a twenty-five year career as a successful media executive, most recently creating and running a cable television shopping network. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and conventions. Bernard has also raised five teenagers in a blended household. He lives in San Clemente, California.

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