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The Highest Goal: The Secret That Sustains You in Every Moment

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Book Overview

Through twenty-five years of teaching Stanford University's famed Personal Creativity in Business course, Michael Ray discovered that people who move beyond ordinary success and achievement have a... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Life Changing Book--Truly Transformational

I recently read on Google that a thousand books are published every day in the United States. However, in my opinion, there are only a very few that are personally transformational or life changing. My short list of books that changed my thinking or made me sit up and take notice includes: "The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck "The Art of Selfishness" by David Seabury "Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl "Ideas Have Consequences" by Richard M. Weaver "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom "Witness" by Whittaker Chambers "Guide for the Perplexed" by E.F. Schumacher "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius "The Lessons of History" by Will Durant "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason + any books by Mortimer Adler and Eric Hoffer. Now, I can add one more title to my list:--"The Highest Goal" by Michael Ray. As a book junkie and an avid reader, I have skimmed and read many books, sometimes three or four times. Many of them have provided some wonderful insights and some new wisdom, but seldom does a book capture on every page profound thoughts and ideas of value. "The Highest Goal", in my opinion, does just that. When I read it, I took the time to underline key phrases and words, and wrote my own thoughts and ideas in the margins as well. After I was done, I was amazed at the number of entries I had made. For me, that is one important way to judge the value of a book. Moreover, the book is very well written in a clear and lucid style, and very well organized as well. Simple but quite profound, which is my highest accolade for a book. I also call "The Highest Goal" a capstone book, which means for me, a book that brings together a lot of ideas under one framework. Michael Ray introduces eight simple life steps in his book and reinforces these life steps with a powerful mechanism he refers to as heuristics or "rules of thumb for insight and learning." What is truly powerful about these heuristics is that they are quite simple to understand and, of even greater importance, they are easy to put into practice on Monday morning--in business or in our personal lives. I believe this book can easily change the life of anyone who puts these eight life steps and heuristic "live-withs" into practice. Here's my challenge to each of you. Buy the book, read it carefully, underline those ideas or thoughts that resonate with you, and in the margins write ideas or thoughts that are prompted by your reading. When you complete the book, I think you will be amazed at what has occurred. Michael Ray is a voice of value and his book is one to be shared with family, friends, and business colleagues. I would love to hear back from anyone who reads it. [...]

Whitman was right: We are large...we contain multitudes

In the Foreword, Jim Collins recalls his first encounter in 1982 with Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers, two Stanford professors who together taught a course for MBA students called Creativity in Business. (They later co-authored a book of that title based on the same course in which Collins had enrolled.) Myers quietly informed Collins and his classmates, "You are about to embark on a ten-week journey to discover your deepest inner essence." Immediately Collins began to search for a replacement in the catalogue. Later, at his wife Joanne's urging, Collins remained in the class and accepted "a fundamental challenge issued to all of us: [begin italics] Make your life itself a creative work of art. [end italics]" More than two decades later, Ray offers in this volume a core process based on the meta-concept of "live-with heuristics" whose objective is to help a person achieve her or his "highest goal." Time out. Those who have read this commentary to this point may be tempted to move on, just as Collins once was. Please don't. Hang in there just as Collins once did. As Collins explains, there are certain "mantras of living" that one implements for a period of time (usually a week or more) and then reflects upon what has been experienced as a result. For example: If at First You Don't Succeed, Surrender Pay Attention! Ask Dumb Questions Destroy Judgment, Create Curiosity Don't Think About It Be Ordinary Do Only What Is Easy, Effortless, and Enjoyable At Ray's urging, I came up with a few of my own: Don't Resist...Absorb When Encountering Abstract Art, Don't Look at It...Listen Remember What Really Bothered Me Last Week [Note: I never can] Each New Day Is a Mulligan [Note: I am an avid golfer] When Hearing Music, Don't Listen...See It As Ray explains, he realized over time that the impact of his course, Personal Creativity in Business, went beyond its structure, procedures, and exercises. "It touched something very deep in people. They made discoveries about themselves that informed their actions and transformed their lives. Even though we never mention it in our teaching, they discovered their highest goal -- the secret that would sustain them, come what may. As one participant put it years after taking the course, `This is transformation that works and lasts.'...[Students] learned -- most early in life but many much later -- through a crisis or through experiencing love and a connection to something higher that if they live for this connection, they keep growing closer to what is right for them. They are open to life and view it as an adventure." Only by tapping their inner resources can they make their lives a creative work of art, fulfilling themselves in service to others. On several occasions as I read Ray's book, I was reminded of this passage from Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching: Learn from the people Plan with the people Begin with what they have Build on what they know Of the best leaders When the task is accomplished The people will remark We

A practical, spiritual guide to creativity in life

Favorite quote: "Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service that is rendered in the spirit of joy." -Mahatma Gandhi This is quite simply the best book I have ever read on the 'how to' of living a meaningful life. While I had never heard of Professor Michael Ray, he is far from a newcomer to the field, having created and taught the 'Personal Creativity in Business' course at Stanford for the past 25 years. This grounding in real-world business skills lifts Ray's spiritual approach to life and work above its new-age touchy-feely roots, and lends a sharp, practical edge to the world of spiritual practice. At the core of the book are a series of heuristics - what Ray calls 'Live-withs'. As he explains it: "Live-withs are not affirmations. They are not prescriptions that tell you exactly what to do. Rather they call you to new ways of behaving that bring out your best." Among my favorite live-withs (drawn mostly from his live courses): *If at first you don't succeed, surrender *Destroy judgement, create curiosity *Ask dumb questions *Do only what is easy, effortless, and enjoyable *Everything in life is either a yes or a no and of course, *Amplify positive deviance... :-) An extraordinary (and extraordinary useful) read.

Are You Ready to "Live With" Your Highest Goal?

This book is based on the author's acclaimed Personal Creativity in Business class, which he taught at Stanford University for 25 years to the likes eBay entrepreneur Jeff Skoll and Good to Great bestselling author Jim Collins. But it's not another business management book, or even a book on how to tap your creativity. Instead, Ray reveals the secret that all the successful people he taught ultimately attributed their success to - living their life connected and committed to their "highest goal." Essentially, your highest goal is the aspiration that gives meaning to your life, motivates and sustains you. Aligning your efforts with it will help you accomplish your dreams and find fulfillment. Ray suggests exercises to to identify it, then helps you better integrate it into your life based on your key challenges. His "live-withs" are simple but powerful tools for shifting your thinking and actions so you can benefit from living with your highest goal every day. What you should know....to some, the title and cover photo may imply a very "new age-y" type book. While there is a little of that, the book overall takes a very practical approach to the subject.

Might be the most important book you ever read

This might be the most important book you ever read. Michael Ray's "Creativity in Business" class was the most influential course I took as an MBA student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (or anywhere else for that matter). The life-changing insight I drew from his class was that my own inner Voice of Judgment (VOJ) is the only obstacle to my becoming the person I am meant to be by doing the work I am meant to do. That, of course, should be a pretty self-evident notion. What made Michael's course so helpful was that he gave us heuristics in the form of systematic exercises that he calls "live-withs." These help transform mere intellectual insight into real experience of life. When you "live with" behavioral guides such as "Pay Attention," "Walk Into Fear," or "Be Loyal to Your Own Values," you start seeing unexplored potential in yourself and endless possibilities in the world around. The Highest Goal shows how these simple yet sophisticated live-withs can help you find and pursue the highest goal that gives your life an overarching sense of purpose and meaning. Some of what he has to say will surprise you - such as the advice to move beyond passion and success. Some of it will challenge you - such as the counterintuitive notion that the path to True Prosperity can start by living with "Do Only What You Love, Love Everything You Do." Michael says that finding your highest goal is like the experience of falling in love: nothing around you has changed but everything is different, because you have changed. The experience is energizing, it is catalyzing, and it is endlessly generative. It's not always easy, as some of the stories in his book make clear, but it is always worth the effort. As Jim Collins (author of Good to Great and coauthor of Built to Last) says in his foreword, Michael's book "is a deeply subversive work; if you follow its teachings to their logical conclusion, you will almost certainly make significant changes in how you orient your life." I am living proof of that statement. Had I not taken Michael's class in 1985, I don't know where I'd be today, but I do know it would be a place created in response to the goals of others instead of a place from which I can pursue my own highest goal.
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