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The Present Principle [Book Review]

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The Present PrincipleClaire Diaz-Ortiz’s book, The Present Principle, reads somewhat like Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Though an unfair comparison, what’s true of Einstein’s E=mc2 is true of Claire’s book: there’s a lot of potential represented in a small space.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz uses the word PRESENT in three ways:

  1. as a “gift” you give yourself
  2. as a dedicated time each morning
  3. as an acronym of how to “proactively organize” that time.

She lays out her thesis at the end of the book:

The Present Principle is about giving you a guiding framework for establishing a positive morning ritual that sets your day in the direction you want it to go. By waking in the mornings, and following seven simple steps to Pray, Read, Express, Schedule, Exercise, Nourish, and Track, you will be better able to make your day everything you want it to be (PDF edition, page 32).

Here’s a great takeaway from the book . . .

I like the idea of the importance of scheduling a daily time to take care of yourself. I don’t mean a time of selfishness, but a time of responsible self-maintenance that includes good input and honest evaluation. For me (like Claire Diaz-Ortiz), that time occurs by reading the Bible and praying in order to realign my priorities with God’s. That takes a daily renewal of the mind.

In the (PDF) edition of the book I read, a number of the hyperlinks were broken. Especially disappointing was not being able to watch the “Marcel the Shell” video that is “worth the three minutes of my life” and is Claire’s favorite video of the millennium. Oh well.

The Present Principle gives excellent, general advice that works well for singles or marrieds without children. I guess it could work for parents, given days of exception. That is, once you throw kids in the mix, the expectation of a consistent morning routine is pretty well shot.

The book is short. That’s good, because it allows you to grasp the skeleton of the PRESENT Principle in a single sitting. On the other hand, there is plenty of reason to put meat on the bones and expand each chapter beyond simple principles. Claire Diaz-Ortiz is a good, creative writer who would benefit us all by fleshing out more what she has packed in her little tome. This would both inspire the reader and illustrate what living the principles looks like.

If you want a good, quick read on how to organize your ideal morning, Claire has given it to you. Just do it before your kids wake up.

You can get a free PDF version by subscribing to her blog, or you can pick up the Kindle Edition.

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