The Present

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-04-13
  • Publisher: Crown Business

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For over two decades, Spencer Johnson has been inspiring readers with his simple yet profound stories of the challenges we face in these times of unprecedented change. The Presentis an engaging story of a young manrs"s journey to adulthood, and his tireless search for The Present, a mysterious and elusive gift he first hears about from a wise old man. This Present, according to the old man, is the most valuable gift a person can receive. Why? Because it is the one thing that doesnrs"t change in changing times. As the young boy becomes a man, he grows disillusioned with his work and his life. So he returns to ask the old man to help him find The Present. The old man responds, "Only you have the power to find The Present for yourself." Heeding the old manrs"s advice, the young man embarks on a worldwide search for this magical gift that remains unchanging in a changing world, and holds the secret to personal happiness and lifelong success. It is only after the young man has searched high and low and all but given up his relentless pursuit that he discovers The Present-and all of the promises it offers. Like the young man, you may find that it is the best gift you can ever give to yourself - and to those you care about.

Author Biography

Spencer Johnson, M.D., is one of the most respected and beloved authors in the world. He has helped millions of readers discover how to use simple, profound truths that lead to less stress and more success at work and at home.
Inspiring and entertaining people with his insightful stories that speak directly to the heart and soul, he is often referred to as the best there is at taking complex subjects and presenting simple solutions that work.

Dr. Johnson is the author or co-author of many New York Times bestsellers, including three #1 titles: Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change In Your Work and Life; The One Minute Manager®, the world’s most popular management method, co-authored with Kenneth Blanchard; and The Present: The Gift That Makes Your Work And Life Better Each Day!

After graduating with a B.A. in psychology from the University of Southern California, Dr. Johnson received his M.D. degree from the Royal College of Surgeons, and completed medical clerkships at the Mayo Clinic and the Harvard Medical School.

He served as Director of Communications for Medtronic, the inventors of cardiac pacemakers; Research Physician at The Institute for Inter-Disciplinary Studies; Consultant to The Center for Study of the Person; and most recently Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Business School.

His work has captured the attention of major media, including the BBC, CNN, Fortune,
New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Today show, Time magazine, and USA Today.

Over thirty million copies of Dr. Johnson’s books are available in more than forty languages.


Before the Story

Late one afternoon, Bill Green received an urgent phone call from Liz Michaels, who he used to work with.

She had heard Bill was experiencing great success, and she got right to the point, "Could I meet with you soon?" she asked. He thought he heard strain in her voice.

Bill said yes and rearranged his schedule so they could meet for lunch the next day. When Liz entered the restaurant, he noticed how tired she looked.

After some small talk and ordering their meals, Liz told him, "I have Harrison's job now."

"Congratulations," Bill said. "I'm not surprised you've been promoted."

"Thanks, but the problems are mounting," she admitted.

"A lot has changed since you were with us. We have fewer people, but more work. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done - at work or at home.

"And I'm just not enjoying life as much as I'd like to.

"By the way, Bill," she added, changing the subject, "you look good."

"Iamgood," he said. "I'm enjoying my work and life more. It's a nice change for me!"

"Oh?" she said. "Did your job change?"

Bill laughed. "No, but if feels like it. It all came together about a year ago."

"What happened?" Liz wanted to know.

Bill began, "Remember how hard I used to push myself and others to get good results? And how much time and effort it took us to get things done?"

Liz laughed. "I remember all too well."

Bill smiled, as though amused by his old behavior. "Well I've learned a few things. And so have many other people in my department. We're getting better results, faster and with less stress.

"And to top it off, I'm enjoying life more."

"What's happened?" Liz asked.

"If I told you, you probably wouldn't believe it."

"Try me," she replied.

He paused and then said, "I heard a story from a good friend of mine. It turned out to be a real gift. In fact, the story is called The Present."

"What is it about?" Liz inquired.

"It's a story about a young man who discovers a way to live and work that makes him happier and more successful.

"After I heard it, I thought a lot about the story and how I could benefit from using it. I started using what I learned, first at work and then later in my personal life. It had a big impact on me, and others began to notice.

"Like the young man in the story, I'm happier now, and I'm doing better."

"How?" Liz asked. "In what way?"

"Well, I now concentrate better on what I am doing. I learn more from what happens, and I'm able to plan better. I can focus now on getting the more important things done, without taking so long to do them."

"You got all that out of one story?" Liz seemed amazed.

"Well that's whatIgot out of the story. Different people get different things from The Present, depending on where they are in their work or life when they hear it. Of course, some people just don't get it at all.

"The story is a practical parable," Bill continued. "So it's not just what'sinthe story. It's what you takeoutof it that gives it value."

Liz asked, "Can you tell it to me?"

Bill sipped his glass of water and then said slowly, "Liz I hesitate because you've always seemed to be so skeptical. And this is the type of story you might dismiss too easily."

At that point, Liz let her guard down. She confessed that she was under a great deal of stress, in her job and personal life, and had come to lunch hoping to get some help.

Bill remembered when he fel

Excerpted from The Present: The Gift for Changing Times by Spencer Johnson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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