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The Present: The Secret to Enjoying Your Work and Life, Now!

The Present: The Secret to Enjoying Your Work and Life, Now!

5.0 1
by Spencer Johnson

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Another Spencer Johnson #1 Bestseller
#1 New York Times Business
#1 Wall Street Journal
#1 BusinessWeek

From the Author of Who Moved My Cheese?

Dr. Spencer Johnson’s stories of timeless, simple truths have changed the work and lives of millions of readers around the world. Now comes an insightful new tale of


Another Spencer Johnson #1 Bestseller
#1 New York Times Business
#1 Wall Street Journal
#1 BusinessWeek

From the Author of Who Moved My Cheese?

Dr. Spencer Johnson’s stories of timeless, simple truths have changed the work and lives of millions of readers around the world. Now comes an insightful new tale of inspiration and practical guidance for these turbulent times.

Good Things Happen To Those Who Open The Present

The Gift That Makes Your Work And Life Better Each Day!

For over two decades, Spencer Johnson has been inspiring and entertaining millions with his simple yet insightful stories of work and life that speak directly to the heart and soul. The Present is an engaging story of a young man’s journey to adulthood, and his search for The Present, a mysterious and elusive gift he first hears about from a great old man. This Present, according to the old man, is “the best present a person can receive.”

Later, when the young boy becomes a young man, disillusioned with his work and his life, he returns to ask the old man, once again, to help him find The Present. The old man responds, “Only you have the power to find The Present for yourself.” So the young man embarks on a tireless search for this magical gift that holds the secret to his personal happiness and business success.It is only after the young man has searched high and low and given up his relentless pursuit that he relaxes and discovers The Present—and all of the promises it offers.

The Present will help you focus on what will make you happier and more successful in your work and in your personal life, today! Like the young man, you may find that it is the best gift you can give yourself.


Editorial Reviews

In Who Moved My Cheese? and The One-Minute Manager, Spencer Johnson, M.D., shared deceptively simple business parables that millions of readers took to heart. In The Present, he presents a little gem of a tale about a young man's search for a mysterious gift that a wise old man calls The Present. Opening The Present is half the gift.
Publishers Weekly
Johnson's megaselling Who Moved My Cheese? helped readers cope with changes beyond their control. The author now proffers another easily digestible parable encompassing a related, but broader, topic: how to attain happiness and success in life. In large type that's easy on eyes both old and young (and that stretches this brief book past 100 pages), Johnson lays out a bare-bones tale of a man who learns a valuable lesson about living in the present from a wise old gent. Stuck in a rut in his job and personal life, the younger man learns about The Present, a three-fold way of living and working. Bit by bit, the old man explains how it works: in order to achieve bliss in life, it's important to pay equal attention to the past (learn from mistakes), the present (live in the moment) and the future (plan for it as best as possible, but don't "lose yourself in worry or anxiety"). The common-sense knowledge and concentration on living in the now lend a Zen feel to the story, and while Johnson's approach may border on the corny (everything runs smoothly for his characters, and they share with each other such tidbits as, "The Present is a gift you give to yourself. Only you have the power to discover what it is"), it's undeniably sound. Despite some awkward phrasings, Johnson's latest brims with good ideas for those feeling frustrated, stagnant, depressed or overwhelmed, and is bound to be embraced by the self-help-loving masses. Simultaneous Random House Audio. (Sept. 23) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.73(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.56(d)

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.

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.

Brief Biography

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Present 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Sis_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Very beneficial and easy to read and follow. Helps you to move out of worrying about the past and concentrate on The Present!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book has a great message and was an easy read but got somewhat boring and corny. Worth the read to get the message.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As per the title speaks,This book is a 'present'. It's a 'present' that teaches us how to live in the present. marv!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
everyone should have one for xmas