Most people are familiar with Jack Canfield’s iconic book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and his latest contribution to the blockbuster DVD and book The Secret. But few may realize that Canfield has spent the past thirty years coaching people how to achieve and maintain peak performance in their personal and professional lives. His initial goal in writing The Success Principles was to bring into one book all of the “best practices” he’s used and taught.

He got some assistance from Janet Switzer, a marketing guru and business growth expert with lots of experience coaching top companies and entrepreneurs worldwide. The result is a bible of sorts that can speak volumes to people looking for ways to maximize their networking skills.

It’s no surprise that when these two set out to write a Think and Grow Rich for the 21st Century, they would amass a meaty 435 pages (not counting the appendices). The book’s sheer size might seem intimidating to those looking for a breezy read in one night. But don’t be too quick to turn this tome down and reach for the next work in the crowded success book market. Canfield and Switzer have managed to craft a brilliant resource guide that can stand the test of time and be referred to again and again like a trusted dictionary.

It took two years to write, during which the authors whittled their principles down to sixty-four main tenets that speak to a very wide audience—from CEOs and business managers to entrepreneurs and even stay-at-home moms. The book is organized in several sections to make quick reference easy. You don’t have to start at the beginning and you don’t have to follow each chapter one by one. Part of what makes this book so accessible is its blend of levity and brevity. While the messages are powerful, we take them in through small, snappy chapters.

While the advice can sometimes be painfully straightforward and at other times something we’ve heard before (e.g., “reject rejection” and “surround yourself with successful people”), the context in which the authors present their material is always lively and engaging. They employ rich analogies and anecdotes, real-life stories and plenty of witty cartoons and quotes from notable authorities throughout history. What results is a compendium of ideas, notes of inspiration and reminders about what it takes to succeed in all facets of life—financial, emotional, health, relationships, career and so on. Anyone looking for words of wisdom on how to make more successful connections with others or to simply increase confidence, tackle daily challenges and live with passion and purpose will find a wealth of ideas in The Success Principles. By the end of the book, Canfield’s central tenet is ringing in your ears: “First do the inner work to transform yourself, then build a successful team and learn ways to transform your relationships for lasting success.”

Hardcover, 473 pages, $24.95; HarperCollins Publishers, 2005