What I learned from reading “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins (a book review)

An “Awaken the Giant Within” book review coming your way! I recently finished “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins, and I’d like to share my thoughts and a book review. And even if you haven’t read this book, hopefully you’ll still find some of the tips in this recap valuable.

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I was on the waiting list at the library for a copy of this 31-year-old book, “Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!” for about six months, and now that I’ve finished it, I can see why I had to wait so long.

This book takes time to read and to absorb, so other readers were likely not getting through it quickly. This is not a speed read.  “Awaken the Giant Within” is 497 pages of life-changing information wrapped into one. It’s almost too much for one book, if you ask me.

I found myself reading only a few pages at a time, because the content is so powerful, even now, 30 years after it was written (and also because I read at night before bed and get tired). It took me maybe three months to get through this book little by little. And when I was finished, I went back through to re-read some important points again. 

The writing of the book is good and so is the organization. It’s just so much content. It’s like a textbook for self-development. In the text, you’ll find stories about successful people, a seven-day action plan to change your life and tons and tons of tips on how to change your mindset, in order to improve your finances, relationships, health, emotions and more.

But if I’m being honest, it’s not all that enjoyable to get through — but I knew I wanted/needed it, so I pushed on. This book is a staple, and I wanted to have it under my belt, you know?

A little background on Tony (Anthony) Robbins

Before we get into what I learned, let’s talk a little bit about the author, Tony Robbins (Anthony Robbins), in case you’re not familiar. He’s a huge deal through and through.

He’s the number-one motivational speaker, self-development master and change maker in the entire world. He’s written tons of best-selling books, he invests in businesses, he’s coached some of the biggest names in the business and sports worlds, and his company puts on big-ticket conferences and courses to help people find their own potential and change their lives.

He knows his stuff, and he came from very little, once working as a janitor to make ends meet. He has forged his path by sharing not only what worked for him, but also by sharing what has worked for other people who have followed his plans. He wrote this book more than 30 years ago, and he’s still out there doing this stuff and more.

(Side note: It’s always been a goal of mine to get to a Tony Robbins conference, and I truly hope I make that happen one day.)

What I learned from reading “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins (a book review)

What I learned from reading Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins (a book review) by A Lady Goes West

Now, let’s get back to the book.

*Please note: This book is far too deep to share everything I learned in one “Awaken the Giant Within” book review, but I’m going to pull out a few points that may be helpful to you in your own life right now. I’m only scratching the surface of the content, so if you’re into self-development, I would highly encourage you to read the book, knowing that it may take you a while to get through it.

And now for a few things I learned …

Raise your personal standards.

If you want a better life, you have to raise your standards.

How simple is the idea of raising your personal standards? It’s really simple. And it’s something that Robbins talks about in the book early on, and it’s such a positive way to think about your life. Robbins says we need to decide what we see as acceptable behavior for ourselves and for those we interact with. Then, we need to live up to our own expectations. 

He says, if you don’t set a baseline for what you accept in your life, it’s easy to slip and accept attitudes and behaviors that are below what you deserve. This can apply to your work, your health, your relationships and even your home. 

I like to think of standards as promises or “non-negotiables” you make for yourself. Once you decide what they are, you need to do all you can to stick to them. It’s up to us to make a list of our standards and be clear on them.

Ashley reading Tony Robbins Awaken the Giant book review by A Lady Goes West

Harness the power of making decisions.

Decisions are everything.

Okay, so what does that mean? We all need to make a decision on what we want out of our lives, and then see to it that we live that way. Robbins says that the more decisions you make, the better you get at making decisions too. And you want to be in control of your decisions. Because if you avoid making decisions, you may be forced into things down the line.

According to Robbins, here are the three decisions you need to make every moment of your life to control your destiny:

  1. Your decisions about what to focus on.
  2. Your decisions about what things mean to you.
  3. Your decisions about what to do to create the results you desire.

Robbins says:

“Know that it’s your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.”

As Robbins says, the minute you make a new decision, you change the motion and direction of your life. And that’s what I love the most from this section. As someone who needs to make some big decisions this year in my work and personal life, I feel the weight of not having a specific decision or trajectory, and I need to harness the power of decisions like no other.

One other cool thing Robbins stressed was to be committed to the decisions you make, but flexible about your approach. And any time you make a decision, learn from it. So, what decisions do you need to make today?

Live by the principle of CANI — Constant And Never-ending Improvement.

It’s about getting better every day.

Rather than trying to maintain the status quo, maintain your business or maintain your health, Robbins says that true greatness comes from constantly trying to be a little bit better every single day. And this is an idea that the popular author James Clear stresses in “Atomic Habits,” which I’ve also read and reviewed here. (In fact, in Clear’s book, he references a couple stories that are also in Robbins’ book, and it makes me think Clear was greatly influenced by Robbins.)

But back to CANI. How do you put this into practice? Robbins says at the end of each day, ask yourself what you learned that day, what you enjoyed that day, and what you could improve on for the next day. I really like this simple idea, and I need to put it into play in my own life more regularly.

I think asking these questions may be a good dinner-table discussion with your loved ones and family every night, you know? Speaking of questions …

Ask better questions. 

The questions you ask shape who you are.

Robbins says that the difference between a successful person and a not-successful person is that the successful person asks better questions. You can ask better questions to others, and you can ask better questions to yourself too. And you should be asking yourself and others questions all the time.

Robbins says:

“At any moment, the questions we ask ourselves can shape our perception of who we are, what we’re capable of, and what we’re willing to do to achieve our dreams.”

So how can you use this in your life? When you’re sad, ask yourself what are some things that make you happy. And when you encounter a problem, ask yourself what is great about experiencing this problem. Then, ask yourself, what am I willing to do (or not willing to do) to make this problem better.

I particularly loved Robbins’ ideas of “Morning Power Questions” you can ask yourself every day in your morning ritual to create personal success:

  • What am I happy about in my life now?
  • What am I excited about in my life now?
  • What am I proud about in my life now?
  • What am I grateful about in my life now?
  • What am I enjoying most in my life right now?
  • What am I committed to in my life right now?
  • Who do I love? Who loves me?

Notice that these questions are steering toward positive thinking? That’s because we can change what we’re thinking about by asking the right/better questions.

Awaken the Giant book review by A Lady Goes West

Change your habitual vocabulary to change your life.

The words you use matter.

This is one of those points that really stood out to me. I truly need to focus on incorporating this more into my life. I help others in my classes understand that they “get to work out” and that they don’t “have to work out,” but I need to do better about this in my own situation.

Robbins says that people with rich vocabularies live richer lives. 

“Words form the thread on which we string our experiences.” -Aldous Huxley

If you find that a selection of words you are often using is disempowering you, then you need to select new words to use about your life and your surroundings. You can also break a pattern, if you choose a sillier/lighter word to describe how you feel. Robbins said when he’s mad, he describes himself as peeved, and it lightens the load on him and whomever he’s peeved at.

Here are some words to change out in your vocabulary:

  • I hate to I prefer
  • Failure to learning
  • Rejected to misunderstood

And so on. This is not a groundbreaking idea, but it’s one that can really alter your day and mindset for the better.

Robbins also suggests choosing better metaphors for life. He encourages us to take a look at the metaphors we use in life and improve them. If we use negative metaphors, we’re accepting the limiting beliefs around them. So rather than saying “It’s a dog eat dog world” say “Life is a game.” One has a much more positive connotation than the other.

This point got me thinking about the metaphors I use, and I came to the conclusion that I don’t use a lot. Maybe I should? Do you?

Purposefully link your behaviors to pain and pleasure.

You can train your brain. And the only way to make a change is to create a sense of urgency .

Robbins talks a lot about something he developed called Neuro-Associative Conditioning™️ or NAC, which is a step-by-step process to condition your nervous system to associate actions with pleasure or pain.

And this part is long and deep, so I won’t be able to delve all the way in. But basically, if you teach yourself to associate pain to a bad behavior, eventually you won’t seek it out, because your nervous system won’t want to. And if you teach yourself to associate pleasure to something you want to be a regular behavior, you are more likely to do it, because your nervous system will want to. (This is probably a major oversimplification.)

And if you think about it, oftentimes people associate change with being painful. Yet, if you start to associate staying the same with being painful, you’re more likely to be motivated to change. 

Robbins says that willpower alone isn’t enough, you’ve got to get your nervous system on board with the right neuro-associations to support the habits you want to maintain in your life. Easier said than done, but that’s why this book is so powerful.

“The beginning of habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably, thought and act.” – Orison Swett Marden


Ashley reading by A Lady Goes West

A few other learnings from “Awaken the Giant Within”


  • In order to create more wealth, you have to create more value in what you do. How can you be more valuable in your job or to the people you serve? Robbins has made his business grow by providing valuable tips that people need. And he thinks all of us — in any job — can always bring more value to the table.
  • You have to invest. Robbins suggests investing 10 percent of your earnings right away, even if you make very little. Then, use what you make off your investments, and reinvest it. He says generational wealth is built through consistently making smart investments and compounding interest over time. (Robbins also says that you shouldn’t rely on financial professionals to make all your investment decisions for you, and you should read books to learn how to do it yourself. I disagree here. Some things are left to the professionals, and if you only have a limited amount of time, find a good financial planner.)

Doing good

  • Robbins is known for being super charitable, and he encourages people to volunteer and donate as much as they can. He says there is no greater fulfillment than helping others, and he devotes an entire section to how one person can make a difference in the lives of other people. There is a lengthy section all about The Anthony Robbins Foundation and how to get involved in that.
  • Robbins also says that many of the problems of this world were/are caused by human behavior. So if we change our behaviors, we can start correcting the problems of the world. While this sounds a little fluffy, he does give stories of individuals who started taking steps to create change, and that change snowballed into big movements for many people.


  • If you don’t know the values of the people you’re in a relationship with, it will be hard to have a successful relationship. Find out from your partner, close friends and family what their rules and values are for being in a relationship with them. What would they never want you to do? What makes them feel fulfilled? What do they need from you? Use this information to constantly improve your relationships.

Book review by A Lady Goes West

Overall thoughts on my “Awaken the Giant Within” book review

Okay, this book is valuable, and it’s a gold standard for self-development. But let’s be honest — it’s long, and it’s not fun to read. Also, it’s more than 30 years old, so some of it is outdated (as it should be).

I really wanted to get a full Tony Robbins book into my brain, and I’m glad I read it. I was reminded when reading this book how mindset is everything, and those who can strategically make their mindset work for them have limitless power.

I think that if you really put into practice what’s in this book, you will definitely change your life for the better.

However, I think Robbins covers too many topics. And I think, realistically, it’s better for people to focus on just a few areas at a time. He even gets into the area of health and fitness, and I didn’t love his fitness advice — he talked about trying to do aerobic activity daily and staying away from anaerobic activity (which is for another post). While yes, I do think you need to be healthy in order to improve other areas of your life, it didn’t seem like this section was as spot on as the others. 

“Awaken the Giant Within” is a great resource. And if self-development is your lane, then this book is a must read. But if you’re just trying to improve your life little by little and want a more realistic approach, I’d start with reading “Atomic Habits” which is much more doable, even if it’s also not very enjoyable to read. That book is shorter, easier to digest and more focused on habit forming to improve your life.

However, if you do read “Awaken the Giant Within” one day, I’d plan to highlight the text, bookmark pages and take a lot of notes. Because I had a library copy, I couldn’t really save as many areas as I wanted. With a book like this, you want to own it, so you can go back to it over time and re-read areas that you need. 

Overall, I’m so glad I got through it. I learned a lot. And I hope to put some things into play in my own life. It’s all about that mindset, friend. But to be totally truthful with you: I’m ready to move on to a lighter book that I look forward to reading each night (#realtalk).

Tony Robbins Book by A Lady Goes West

As a reminder: The few tips I’m sharing here are just scratching the surface of the depths of this great book. While I don’t have time to recount it all, I wanted to give you just a hint of the goodness. One day, I hope to be writing a recap of what I learned at a Tony Robbins in-person event!

Once again, thanks for reading my book review of “Awaken the Giant Within.” If you’re interested in this book, you can find it on Amazon here. Have a wonderful day, friend!

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Questions of the day

Have you ever read a Tony Robbins book or been to one of his conferences?

What’s one part of self-mastery you’re working on right now?



  1. Have you seen ” I am not your guru”?
    If not, check that out soon

    my first Ony experience was i was in West Palm Beach opening the RH there and he had a conference across the street. At lunch and dinner the whole town was taken over by Tony followers, who were some of the most interesting people and that led me to watch “I am not your Guru”
    Thank you for sharing, i appreciate the book report as it’s helpful if you dont want to read it or never considered it, you gave it a good intro!
    thank you

    1. Hi Sabrina! I did watch that documentary, and I wanted it to be longer and tell us more heheh! I remember watching him get into his cold plunge, and this was several years ago and I hadn’t heard of one before. Thanks for sharing with me! 🙂 Happy Tuesday!

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