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On Confidence by The School of Life

My Rating of “On Confidence” by The School of Life: 8 / 10

This book was an interesting choice for me compared to most of the books I read. The choice of On Confidence was due to research I did as part of my District Leadership responsibilities within Toastmasters. What’s great is that I have many personal takeaways.

Confidence is a concept that some put too much focus on and others too little. I grew up with my Dad always saying to be confident in any situation; whether an exam, job interview, driving test or my first date with a girl. These days I’m a relatively confident person, however at times I’ll defer to others who are externalising greater confidence. What’s great for the reader is the knowledge that confidence is a skill and not something you inherit from birth. It is something that can can be built, however The School of LIfe believes confidence is founded on a set of ideas about the world and our natural place within it.

On Confidence is a very short book and can be consumed within 1 – 2 hours. Given the time investment required, I highly recommend this to everyone. If you’re a less confident person you will certainly learn something. Conversely if you’re very confident, there are aspects you should reflect on. I don’t normally do this in a review however I’m going to finish with a quote from the book that to me is quite profound:

“One of the things that separates confident from diffident people is their approach to history. Broadly speaking, the unconfident believe that history is over; conversely, the confident trust that history is still in the process of being made – and possibly by themselves one day.”

Three key takeaways from the book:

  1. Once we learn to see ourselves as already, and by nature foolish, it won’t matter so much if we do one more thing that might look stupid.
  2. Faced with challenges, we often leave the possibility of success to others, because we don’t see to ourselves to be the sort of people to win.
  3. We start out in life with a very strong impression that competent and admirable people are not like us at all.

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