Book cover and post title

Head First: a crash course in positivity

8 Practical Ways to Increase Your Positivity and Improve Your Outcome
by Steve H. Lawton

I was asked to review this book by its publicist with no strings attached. It is both a memoir and a self-help book..

Several years ago, the author had a life-threatening skiing accident in Colorado that would have killed most people and left many others with lifelong disabilities. His almost-complete recovery has been nothing short of miraculous, and he credits his faith, his support network of family and friends, and his strong mental fitness in the form of a “positivity” mindset. The book is part of his dedicated effort to help others by recounting his harrowing accident and grueling recovery with important lessons he learned along the way—lessons he believes will serve anyone when they encounter life challenges of all kinds.

Lawton makes an excellent case for the value of cultivating a positive mindset before you encounter a challenge—like an athlete building muscles and stamina that will serve her well when she has to run a race or enter a competition. He gives practical examples for doing this. His voice is engaging, and Steve Lawton seems like the kind of fellow you'd like to have in your corner when the chips are down.

This story and the author's encouraging message would be enormously helpful to someone facing an ordeal or challenge. Equally important, it provides valuable insights for family members and friends to help them better understand how to help someone going through a traumatic situation.

The eight practical tools for increasing positivity include:

  1. Remember: Everything happens for a reason
  2.  Focus on what you can control
  3. Learn to laugh in the midst of your pain
  4. Take smaller steps to work to a larger goal
  5.  Know when and where to push yourself
  6. Invest positivity into your network
  7. Create a personal positivity practice
  8. Embrace growing pains and learn from your struggles

I imagine this content conveys better in a public speaking format than in a book (I've included a video of his TEDX talk below). While the message is both important and valuable to almost anyone, the book desperately needed more editing to get rid of repetition, too many trite clichés, and the unfortunate use of smiley faces. 

In spite of its flaws, this book is a story about overcoming obstacles, and we can all use some help with that.

If you'd like to explore this topic further, here's the author's TEDX talk:

Steve. H. Lawton holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University, as well as an MBA from St. Edward’s University. He has spoken at large corporations like Dell, Accenture and VMware, has been featured on KVUE news, has been a guest lecturer at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University and has been featured as a TEDx speaker. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife of 26 years, Deanna, and their two teenage children. For more information, please visit

Click below to order the book in paperback from Amazon.

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