Top positive review
Saddle Up...Long Ride Ahead, But It's Worth It
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2007
Ben Stein has the smarts. Unlike most famous actors, he's gotten by on more than his, er, good looks. He worked hard for what he has. He knows practical economics better than many economics professors (his dad was one). He's been a teacher, journalist, and a lawyer. And he's spent his entire life actively observing successful people. So when he speaks (or writes), I'm willing to listen. And Stein speaks the truth...like it or not.
Others have touched upon most aspects of this short book, which is of course about being a success. "Success" here is defined as "getting what you want in life." The book is broken into five parts, with the meatiest being Part IV ("Preparing for the Game") and Part V ("The Rules of the Game"). The binding theme is "bunkhouse logic": an emphasis on activity, mobility, and performance--not excuses. This is something cowboys have known for a long time. You gotta work HARD for success. And then you gotta get up early the next morning and do it again.
If I'm going to allow someone into my head to do a little lifehacking--and pay for it to boot--then for my money I want to hear what works, no matter how tough it may be. Stein doesn't disappoint me. If your idea of success is the sort you get from late night infomercials ("Lose weight with no money down!" "Get rich eating nothing but chocolate!") this book will disappoint you. (Remember what dear Wesley told Buttercup? "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.") Stein emphasizes what truly successful people have always understood: Success = Work. Hard work, and lots of it.
This lesson (really, the heart of the book) is summed up in Part V, Rule #4: `Life is a Process, and the Process Never Ends.' Successful people (not lottery winners and trustafarians) know that with success, "there is no sudden leap into the stratosphere of no cares and no worries. There's only advancing step by step, slowly and tortuously, up the pyramid toward your goals."
Again, this may not be what you want to hear, but Stein offers enough wisdom and anecdotes (and a dab of his trademark dry humor) to demonstrate that true success in life is not about easy money but about hard work and steady progress. And that's the true joy of success.