cover image What Matters Most: The Power of Living Your Values

What Matters Most: The Power of Living Your Values

Hyrum W. Smith. Simon & Schuster, $25 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-684-87256-8

With advice that's more practical than spiritual, this respectable if unoriginal self-help book encourages readers to find greater meaning in life through determining goals and formulating a mission statement. Smith believes that goal setting has value not only for individuals who have lost their moral compass, but for families, organizations (such as his Franklin Covey Company) and even nations. He supplies exercises for gaining self-understanding, evaluating one's roles, assessing their relative importance and determining what he calls ""governing values,"" along with guidance for achieving long-range goals, pithy mantras (""whip the demons by small victories every day"") and familiar talk about fear of failure and fear of change. Smith shares some anecdotes about his own development and the efficacy of his program, including a lengthy tale about lecturing to troubled Utah high school kids, along with reflections on Winston Churchill, Michael Jordan and Mother Teresa. With many accomplishments to his credit as a successful family man, the business executive who created the Franklin Planner daybook, a motivational speaker and the author of the bestseller Ten Natural Laws of Time and Life Management, Smith is well qualified to write this book and will attract many readers with his reputation, but some may be disappointed by his occasionally preachy and self-satisfied tone, and that his familiar message lacks the punch of authors like Stephen Covey and the empathy of such others as Laurie Beth Jones. (Oct.)