Book Review
Title: "Crunch Time: 8 Steps to Making the Right Life Decisions at the Right Time"
Author: Ken Lindner
Publisher: River Grove Books, 2013; 308 pages; $16.95 at

There’s a saying in, shall we say, "mature" circles to the effect that "youth is wasted on the young." The upshot, as I understand it, is that so much of the wisdom and ability to make great decisions is generally developed only over time, sometimes lots of it, and often only after some serious life trials and travails. By the time you’re wise enough to consistently fire on most decision-making cylinders, you’re also older and creakier, the conventional wisdom goes.

I don’t totally agree with that, as I fully intend to get both wiser and more youthful with every day/week/month/year that goes by, personally speaking. And youth is not wasted if you consider that the experiences of our youth are what make us the fantastic beings we are, in middle and later age. That said, making the right decisions is tough at any stage of life, and making the wrong ones can lead to negative consequences that last for years and years.

But making even a few critical right decisions at key "crunch times" across the course of your life can put you on a path to great success, and helping readers do just that is the promise of career development expert-to-the-A-list Ken Lindner and his new book, "Crunch Time: 8 Steps to Making the Right Life Decisions at the Right Time."

"Crunch Time" starts by helping readers who don’t already understand the massive import and impact of making decisions for their lives. "The act of making constructive decisions and doing positive things for ourselves," Lindner writes, "makes us feel good about ourselves," which then snowballs into more and more good decisions that advance our ultimate aims in life.

Lindner then takes readers on a deep dive into "right" life decision-making in three parts:

  • first helping them explore the foundations of decision-making (like identifying the issue in an optimal manner);
  • then offering them his "Strategies and Strata-Gems" — his "Crunch Time" strategies for making wise decisions; and finally
  • encouraging them to expect that some new doors will open, surprisingly, when others close or we think we have failed at something or made a bad decision.

Here are just a few of the decision-making insights from Lindner, who has advised television personalities like NBC’s Matt Lauer and ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas.

1. Desire, discipline and delayed gratification are the three D’s of decision-making. "You cannot be tentative or defensive about what you want in order to hide your true feelings from yourself or from others in case you fall short," Lindner advises. "You must also identify, feel and tap into your deepest desire and passion for goal attainment. You will need all the desire and focus that you can muster when trying to incorporate the other two "D’s" of decision-making — discipline and delayed gratification — into your behavioral repertoires."

2. Big-picture, context-based thinking can help you avoid heat-of-the-moment decision traps. Often, Lindner opines, "better perspectives and new spins and solutions could either be discerned or created if the individuals involved would [take] some time to look at and examine the Big Picture — that is, to step away from the heat and angst of the moment and calmly, objectively and creatively study the landscape, the players, and their past Strategies and agendas in the context of the situation they’re involved in and/or the decision they are in the process of making."

3. Your most important values and goals will keep your decisions on track if you stay clear on what they are. Lindner writes: "If you are to be the most proactive and effect decision-maker possible, you must stay in touch with your true values and dreams. You must know what these values are, and if they’ve changed, you must determine why they’ve changed. Just as a heart montior keeps us constantly apprised of a person’s heart condition, you must continually monitor and be aware of the status of your Heart-of-Heart’s desires, or, put another way, ‘What will make your heart sing?’"

If you have struggled in your career, find yourself frequently stuck when it’s time to go after a new opportunity or make a decision between two forks in your life’s road, or are simply having a hard time understanding how your status quo life or work situation could ever level up to success, "Crunch Time" is a life-affirming, possibility-expanding title that will leave you feeling more assertive and confident about moving forward in your life and making the right moves.

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