Skip Prichard’s new book, The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future, is a parable of both personal and professional development. David is a young man in his early 20s facing doubts and fears about the direction his life is taking. By coincidence (later revealed to be more than that), David meets “the Old Man,” who introduces him to a powerful book containing the nine mistakes that anyone seeking personal fulfilment and success should avoid.
Although the mistakes are contained within one text, the information is protected by a team of nine people –– “the Teachers” –– who oversee the dissemination of that information to chosen individuals. As David meets each of his teachers over a period of months, he learns about the nine mistakes in greater detail:
Mistake #1: Working on Someone Else’s Dream. Are you pursuing your life’s purpose, or are you following a career path that someone else recommended for you?
Mistake #2: Allowing Someone Else to Define Your Value. It costs more to make a nickel coin than it is worth as legal tender, and yet we accept it at face value. Don’t let someone else’s judgment establish your value.
Mistake #3: Accepting Excuses. Pay attention to negative self-talk, and guard that internal microphone “like you were security at a bank vault.” Tune out any thoughts of doubt or inability, in favor of those that encourage and promote self-confidence.
Mistake #4: Surrounding Yourself with the Wrong People. “Replace naysayers, doubters and energy drainers with encouragers, winners and motivators.”
Mistake #5: Staying in Your Comfort Zone. Your thoughts can either empower you to try something new or imprison you in the comfort of what you know and trust.
Mistake #6: Allowing Temporary Setbacks to Become Permanent Failures.“Don’t let current circumstances define your destiny.”
Mistake #7: Trying to Blend in Instead of Standing Out. “If you are true to your unique design, you naturally stand out.”
Mistake #8: Thinking That There Is a Fixed and Limited Amount of Success Available. “The only limitations you need to worry about are the ones in your mind.”
Mistake #9: Believing You Have All the Time in the World. “Knowing your life is limited will keep you focused on the most important part of your purpose.”
The Three Laws of the Keeper
The second storyline introduces us to Aria, a young girl living in the American Colonies in the 1770s. She also undertakes a journey, and it is through her that the reader learns of the origin of the book of nine mistakes and the role of the Keeper who is tasked with finding teams of nine teachers to spread the message of the text.
As the story progresses, we learn that the role of the Keeper requires observance of three leadership tools –– presented as laws –– that must be emphasized to the teams of teachers and their students as they perform their duties:
The Law of Desire. Desire for success is critical for momentum but only if it is leveraged for good intent. If it is only used for selfish ambition, it will be of no use.
The Law of Gratitude.“A grateful heart magnetizes people, ideas and opportunity” that will pass over those who are bitter about life’s fortunes.
The Law of Belief. You must build an unwavering faith in your ability to succeed. “You cannot rise higher than your own beliefs.”
The mystery of how David and Aria’s stories are connected is revealed in the chapter on the ninth mistake.
The Book of Mistakes takes a very prescriptive approach to its core message. The parallel storylines provide an element of mystery, but the instructions are clear: Abide by the three laws of the Keeper, avoid the nine mistakes, and you will find success with your true purpose in life. The author’s choice not to underplay David’s fears, confusion and natural skepticism in learning the messages of the nine mistakes makes this a highly enjoyable read.