Book Review: The Secret Code of Success

The Secret Code of Success

How many success books do you have on your shelf? I’ve just counted mine and there are exactly 32 of them. This does not include the 20 or so that I’ve loaned out and forgotten about. So why would I bother adding another one to the mix?

You know why. Because you either read success books – and read them all. Or you don’t. It’s like trying one diet after another, losing weight and then packing it back on only to start another diet. It’s because we love that euphoric, dreamy feeling when we read a success book title and all the health and wealth it promises. We love the inspirational language, the whack-on -the-side-of-the-head insight and the promise of a life that will somehow be fuller and happier after the final page is turned.

It’s like eating a dish of ice cream. I love it.

What none of us success junkies like is the drastic let-down of trying out the systems we are taught and finding that it just isn’t working for us. And this is how the sick habit of success book addiction persists. We decide that this book was not the one and we move on to the next book. And the cycle starts all over again.

Enter Noah St. John, the author of my latest success dish “The Secret Code of Success.” I met Noah at a recent Akron, Ohio event. He was chatting it up with Anita when I stepped up and Anita introduced us. When I asked him what he did, Noah responded “I clear out people’s head trash.” “Sign me up!” I said and before the end of the event, I had scored me a genuine, autographed copy of “The Secret Code of Success.” It’s good to be the book reviewer. 🙂

I was going away that weekend, so I knew that I’d be snacking on at least a few chapters that night. Let me get straight to the point. It started like a lot of success books; snappy “promise you the world” title that included the killer sales words “Secret” and “Code.” Followed by the subtitle “7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness.” I was a pro at this. Ho Hum. When am I going to get the goods on this one?

The goods show up promptly on page 41. BAM – the epiphany!

Here is what sets this particular book apart from the others you have on your shelf: “The Secret Code of Success” is written by a regular person – for regular people. Just about every other success book is written by success gurus. They are the 3% of the population that just “get it” and “do it.” While they can tell you what they do – they struggle with breaking the process down in a way that us regular folks can apply and practice.

You’re already familiar with this concept. Tiger Woods is a golfing natural. But he has a coach who teaches him. The coach is a natural teacher, while Tiger Woods is a natural golfer. So now, I was hooked. Quick get me to the 7 Hidden Steps!

1. Afformations. This is not a mis-spelling of “Affirmations.” It’s the concept that says your brain is not fooled when you TELL it that you are “Happy and healthy and gosh darn it, people like me.” Your brain actually works with questions. So if you ask yourself “Why am I happy?” your brain naturally seeks out evidence and starts creating evidence and happiness.

2. Loving Mirrors and Safe Havens. In the same way that you can’t see the color of your own eyes – unless you look in a mirror, you can’t see all your wonderful gifts, unless they are reflected back to you by someone else. Surround yourself by people who give you unconditional support.

3. Systems of Support. Create a system of support with your loving mirrors and people who can mentor you on your journey; people who will push you beyond the limits that you think you are capable of.

4. Goal-Free Zones. Stop pressuring yourself. Create goal-free zones and activities (e-mail and TV don’t count). These should be tech-free activities like napping, walking, enjoying nature, spending time with family.

5. Who are you trying to protect, punish or please. This is the heavy psychological stuff. You’ll never achieve what you want if you have your “foot on the brake” by protecting, pleasing or punishing yourself or people around you. Figure this out and start sailing toward your goals.

6. Find Your No. Get over your people pleasing game because it doesn’t make anyone happy. Learn to say no to yourself and you will free up time, money and energy. Saying no to yourself means saying “no” to the addictions (food, spending, smoking, etc) that are holding you back from getting where you want to be. Then there is the saying “no” to other people who ask for your time, money and energy and ultimately to any activity which will take you off track from what you most desire.

7. Find Your Because. Maslow called it “Self Actualization,” Noah calls it “Your Because.” Once you’ve cleared out the head trash, you should be very clear on what your purpose is and what work you have to do to be the best version of yourself that you can be. This is your because.

Now, I’ve read the book – but I haven’t done the exercises. Oh, did I forget to mention that there were exercises? At the end of each chapter there are guided questions that you will want to go through. In fact, if you’re really serious about these things – I’d recommend you get yourself a notebook or a journal and work through these.

Personally, I’ve been playing with the “Afformations” step. Early in the morning over my coffee, I look out over my deck and ask “Why am I so happy?” Instantly I’m flooded with good feelings and gratitude because I’m coming up with a list of all the great things in my life. Or I’ll ask “Why is my business so profitable?” Then, my brain starts listing my choice of great clients, the new technology I’ve implemented, and so on. I like “Afformations.” But it does take some getting used to.

The other concept I’ve been experimenting with is creating systems of support and surrounding myself with people who are successful, happy and working toward something bigger. And do you know what? The economy isn’t pummeling them. If I only interacted with my support system and didn’t watch the news, I would think this is one of the better business years I’ve lived through. Guess what happens as a result? I identify more opportunities, more clients come my way and the cycle starts all over again.

Is this book for You?

If you’re a success book reader, of course it’s for you. We can’t resist them! If you’re not a self-improvement junkie, you might seriously consider this book because there are some wonderful insights on how our minds and brains work. The challenges that Noah discusses in this book aren’t just for achieving wealth and success, they are extremely helpful in times like these where we are managing people and fear. So, I think business owners and managers would benefit and get some ideas on how to create a better work environment during a time when fear and uncertainty abound.

So “The Secret Code of Success” isn’t as much of a secret as the title might lead you to believe. You already know everything you need to know. You have all the talent and the skill you will ever need. All that’s missing is a new perspective on how to really behave your way to success. And for that, you’ll want to get the book.

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Ivana Taylor About the Author: Ivana Taylor is CEO of Third Force, a strategic firm that helps small businesses get and keep their ideal customer.  She’s the co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers” and proprietor of DIYMarketers, a site for in-house marketers.  Her blog is Strategy Stew.


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

14 Reactions
  1. David Hakala, Denver, CO

    “I cannot tell if what the world considers ‘happiness’ is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness.” …Chuang-tzu.

  2. Hi Ivana
    I have all my success, self-help, self-improvement books in stacks on the floor, on my desk, on my book shelves. I stack them flat so I can read them without turning my head. I found that nugget in the book: Success Tips for the Lazy. At the bottom of the stacks are the ones about Getting Organized… Those are my favorites.

    Didn’t the Fed call an end to the Fear and Uncertainty today?

    So, now that I’m done with my attempts at humor tonight, I enjoyed your review. I’m going to check it out.

  3. Cute, TJ! 🙂 Another excellent review Ivana. Those are 7 really good steps to think about. I’m going to ponder those and try to incorporate a few. #4’s a good one to start with. A good relaxing walk with the dog can do wonders.

  4. Martin Lindeskog


    Great review!

    Have you listened to John Jantsch’s interview Noah St. John?

    Talking about affirmations, I try to write a #GoodThing tweet on a regular basis.

  5. Ivana, this sounds like an excellent read and it is now on my list.

    I liked your bit about success book addiction – that made me laugh because I can relate. That’s me. Anything and everything on the subject, I buy it (and also “buy into it” because I believe it works).

    Sounds like a good read and I’ll be looking for it during my next trip to the bookstore, which is about once every 2 weeks 🙂

  6. Wow. Goal free zones! I love that idea. Sometimes we get too goal oriented that every move we make should be inline to our goals, without us noticing we are getting paranoid and OC to achieving those goals.

  7. Thanks Ivana. Great review. I’m going to the book store tomorrow. I’m interested in the 7 steps, and in particular, the section on afformations and loving mirrors!

  8. Franchise Information

    This will add to my list of success books already stored on my shelf. Franchise Owners will also find this very valuable, Thanks!

  9. Martin Lindeskog


    A small detail. You forgot an “i” in the word serious:

    “In fact, if you’re really serous”

    I have to get this book! 🙂

    All the Best,


  10. Anita Campbell

    Hi Martin, Good catch! I fixed the typo. “Serous” must be a word, because the automatic spell-checker did not flag it.

    — Anita

  11. Its very interesting … thanks

  12. I hear Noah call this pile of books we all seem to have “shelf help” – the guy is funny and right on!