Reviewed by Laurie Gray for Readers' Favorite
"The Pony Principles: Lessons in Optimism Because of Adversity" by Keith Elkins offers 38 brief life lessons of encouragement organized loosely around the metaphor of seeing the pony, feeding the pony, training the pony, and riding the pony. Each chapter starts with a quote and ends with three “Pony Principle Assignments.” For example, Chapter 21 is entitled “How Big is Your But?” and begins with this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.” The author briefly addresses the self-sabotage of making excuses and concludes with these assignments: Practice catching yourself when you start to say, “Yeah, but” and phrase it a different way; pay attention to how often others say, “Yeah, but” and see what statements are followed by it; and replace “Yeah, but” with “What if.” The book offers optimism as the primary fuel for success.
This is the type of book that can be a quick read cover to cover, but is best digested slowly, one chapter at a time. Elkins’ experience as a martial arts educator translates well into examples of patience, perseverance and integrity. He combines basic concepts of self-development with a straightforward writing style to encourage people to embrace change and live their lives more fully. There is nothing new or earth-shattering in the text, but Elkins’ sound approach and motivational style are likely to resonate with many readers who are ready to stop kidding themselves and might respond to a gentle figurative kick in the posterior from a successful martial artist.