The Present: The Gift for Changing Times

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Overview

For over two decades, Spencer Johnson has been inspiring readers with his simple yet profound stories of the challenges we face in these times of unprecedented change.
 
The Present is an engaging story of a young man’s journey to adulthood, and his tireless search for The Present, a mysterious and elusive gift he first hears about from a wise old man.  This ...

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Overview

For over two decades, Spencer Johnson has been inspiring readers with his simple yet profound stories of the challenges we face in these times of unprecedented change.
 
The Present is an engaging story of a young man’s journey to adulthood, and his tireless search for The Present, a mysterious and elusive gift he first hears about from a wise old man.  This Present, according to the old man, is the most valuable gift a person can receive.  Why? Because it is the one thing that doesn’t change in changing times.
 
As the young boy becomes a man, he grows disillusioned with his work and his life.  So he returns to ask the old man to help him find The Present. The old man responds, “Only you have the power to find The Present for yourself.” Heeding the old man’s advice, the young man embarks on a worldwide search for this magical gift that remains unchanging in a changing world, and holds the secret to personal happiness and lifelong success.
 
It is only after the young man has searched high and low and all but given up his relentless pursuit that he discovers The Present—and all of the promises it offers.
 
Like the young man, you may find that it is the best gift you can ever give to yourself — and to those you care about.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Many of the people I have observed could have been even happier and more successful, in their careers and their lives, had they been given the gift of The Present.”

Norman Augustine, Fmr. Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp.,
Fmr. Chairman, American Red Cross, Fmr. Lecturer, Princeton University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307719546
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 167,662
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Spencer Johnson, M.D., is one of the most respected and beloved authors in the world. He has helped millions of readers discover how to use simple, profound truths that lead to less stress and more success at work and at home.
Inspiring and entertaining people with his insightful stories that speak directly to the heart and soul, he is often referred to as the best there is at taking complex subjects and presenting simple solutions that work.

Dr. Johnson is the author or co-author of many New York Times bestsellers, including three #1 titles: Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change In Your Work and Life; The One Minute Manager®, the world’s most popular management method, co-authored with Kenneth Blanchard; and The Present: The Gift That Makes Your Work And Life Better Each Day!

After graduating with a B.A. in psychology from the University of Southern California, Dr. Johnson received his M.D. degree from the Royal College of Surgeons, and completed medical clerkships at the Mayo Clinic and the Harvard Medical School.

He served as Director of Communications for Medtronic, the inventors of cardiac pacemakers; Research Physician at The Institute for Inter-Disciplinary Studies; Consultant to The Center for Study of the Person; and most recently Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Business School.

His work has captured the attention of major media, including the BBC, CNN, Fortune,
New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Today show, Time magazine, and USA Today.

Over thirty million copies of Dr. Johnson’s books are available in more than forty languages.

Biography

Spencer Johnson is an M.D. who has become better known for fixing ailing corporations than healing the sick, first with his 1982 business classic The One Minute Manager (coauthored with psychiatrist Kenneth Blanchard) and then, unforgettably, with Who Moved My Cheese?, a word-of-mouth sensation that eventually remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years and has been translated into 11 languages.

Word had slowly built up about Cheese, based on the strength of recommendations from heavy-hitter executives at Procter & Gamble, GE, Hewlett-Packard and others. Businesses, hit by the downshifting economy, began ordering copies by the thousands; by 2000, it was a national bestseller. The book sets up a story about four characters who live in a maze: Hem and Haw, who are little people; and Sniff and Scurry, who are mice.

Johnson, who based the story on the fact that mice rarely go back to the same place to look for cheese and felt that humans might benefit from the example, created the story for himself as a way of helping himself get through a divorce. Urged by former writing partner Blanchard to set the story down in book form, Johnson finally did – and nothing happened, at first. But over two years, the book picked up momentum, not only among companies who were trying to deal with everything from sales downturns to massive layoffs, but among individuals who found the book helped them gain a new perspective on personal situations as well.

Johnson’s forte is to create allegorical stories that present simple, digestible solutions (or paths to solutions) for seemingly huge challenges. The approach is far from immune to criticism from those who complain that Who Moved My Cheese? is simplistic and silly; Johnson doesn’t argue with either barb (though he might prefer "simple" over "simplistic"). His message is that being simpler and sillier makes us better adapters and decision-makers, and all of his books boil down to opening oneself to possibility and better communication. The ideas aren’t revolutionary: As Johnson said in an ABC News chat, “The challenge always for me and for others is to live the story and not just read about it.”

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    1. Date of Birth:
      January 1, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      South Dakota
    1. Education:
      B.A. in psychology, University of Southern California, 1963; M.D., Royal College of Surgeons
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Before the Story

Late one afternoon, Bill Green received an urgent phone call from Liz Michaels, who he used to work with.

She had heard Bill was experiencing great success, and she got right to the point, "Could I meet with you soon?" she asked. He thought he heard strain in her voice.

Bill said yes and rearranged his schedule so they could meet for lunch the next day. When Liz entered the restaurant, he noticed how tired she looked.

After some small talk and ordering their meals, Liz told him, "I have Harrison's job now."

"Congratulations," Bill said. "I'm not surprised you've been promoted."

"Thanks, but the problems are mounting," she admitted.

"A lot has changed since you were with us. We have fewer people, but more work. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done - at work or at home.

"And I'm just not enjoying life as much as I'd like to.

"By the way, Bill," she added, changing the subject, "you look good."

"I am good," he said. "I'm enjoying my work and life more. It's a nice change for me!"

"Oh?" she said. "Did your job change?"

Bill laughed. "No, but if feels like it. It all came together about a year ago."

"What happened?" Liz wanted to know.

Bill began, "Remember how hard I used to push myself and others to get good results? And how much time and effort it took us to get things done?"

Liz laughed. "I remember all too well."

Bill smiled, as though amused by his old behavior. "Well I've learned a few things. And so have many other people in my department. We're getting better results, faster and with less stress.

"And to top it off, I'm enjoying life more."

"What's happened?" Liz asked.

"If I told you, you probably wouldn't believe it."

"Try me," she replied.

He paused and then said, "I heard a story from a good friend of mine. It turned out to be a real gift. In fact, the story is called The Present."

"What is it about?" Liz inquired.

"It's a story about a young man who discovers a way to live and work that makes him happier and more successful.

"After I heard it, I thought a lot about the story and how I could benefit from using it. I started using what I learned, first at work and then later in my personal life. It had a big impact on me, and others began to notice.

"Like the young man in the story, I'm happier now, and I'm doing better."

"How?" Liz asked. "In what way?"

"Well, I now concentrate better on what I am doing. I learn more from what happens, and I'm able to plan better. I can focus now on getting the more important things done, without taking so long to do them."

"You got all that out of one story?" Liz seemed amazed.

"Well that's what I got out of the story. Different people get different things from The Present, depending on where they are in their work or life when they hear it. Of course, some people just don't get it at all.

"The story is a practical parable," Bill continued. "So it's not just what's in the story. It's what you take out of it that gives it value."

Liz asked, "Can you tell it to me?"

Bill sipped his glass of water and then said slowly, "Liz I hesitate because you've always seemed to be so skeptical. And this is the type of story you might dismiss too easily."

At that point, Liz let her guard down. She confessed that she was under a great deal of stress, in her job and personal life, and had come to lunch hoping to get some help.

Bill remembered when he felt that way.

Liz said, "I really want to hear the story."

Bill had always liked and respected Liz. So he said, "I'd be happy to tell it to you, if you agree that what you get and use from the story is up to you.

"And," he added, "If you find it useful, that you will share it with others."

Liz agreed and Bill continued. "When I first heard it, I realized at some point in the story that there was a great deal more to it than I had anticipated.

"I found myself taking notes throughout the story to help me remember the insights I might want to use later."

Liz wondered what she might fine useful for herself. She took out a small notepad and said, "I'm ready to listen."

Then Bill began to tell the story of The Present.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 24, 2011

    Highly Recommend! Easy Read

    Very beneficial and easy to read and follow.
    Helps you to move out of worrying about the past and concentrate on The Present!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    The Present is an incredible book that can change your lifestyle in an instant. I have never finished a book without stopping a few times in beteween. However, I could not stop reading despite the fact that it was 1 O'clock in the morning. This book leads you to a successful life and help you understand 'happiness.' It teaches you so many things. How to be happy, how to be successful, and it'll make you much wiser than you were before you read the book. It helps you learn why 'purpose' is so important. I reccomend this book for everyone who dreams of a happy, successful life, or a person who just wants to help others. After reading the book, I carry it around with me everywhere. Whenever I need tips, I look through this book and get my answers. This book, The Present, gave me the most valuable present in the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2006

    'The Present' is the present moment ...

    This book is an easy read. The message in this book is that 'The Present' that you can give to yourself is to focus on the present moment. By learning from the past mistakes and planning for the future you make the ¿The Present' more meaningful and wonderful. All these are explained through a wonderful story. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to hear (read) a story that would make them to live fully and do their best - both personally and professionally.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2005

    Good Message

    The book has a great message and was an easy read but got somewhat boring and corny. Worth the read to get the message.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2005

    Now

    As per the title speaks,This book is a 'present'. It's a 'present' that teaches us how to live in the present. marv!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2004

    another great book

    This is my second book. the first was who moved my cheese which was so good. i wanted to keep going to in prove my self being. I bought the book , the present. i also read that book all in one night and i have to tell you i have not been a reader, it has to be something that keeps my interrest , well this book did also and i also ordered a book from 1993 yes or no. i havent recived it yet but i am real anxious to get it. your books are really helping me to find out who i really am and it has really helped me at work. i thank you so much and i hope to see more good books that will continue to help me and i hope to be able to help others, thanks again. pat

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    average

    This book was better than the cheese book (which was awful) but not great either. It had a great point which is 100% true. One of the problems in this book is that he took about 100 pages to say something that he could have said in 15. Yes he tried to present it to us in a story but the story was weak and very repitive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2004

    Great book!

    This is a great book that really helps us see what is really important in life. Using a phenomenologial apprach to life, the author uses a dialogue format to show us that the present moment is where everything is at. Very simple to read and easy to understand. If you'd like to examine these things in more detail and look at these things from a big-picture perspective, I'd suggest another fascinating book called 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. It's a bit of a longer read but definitely worth it if you are truly interested in the pursuit of happiness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2003

    Must Read!

    Having read and immediately gotten the message of this wonderful book, when my son and his friends (male and female) were on the cusp of fifteen and had achieved honours in school we felt they needed to know about The Present. We gave each of them a copy and having also now read and digested it, they now feel they are equipped for The Present. Life in all it's Glory!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2003

    great read

    everyone should have one for xmas

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews

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