For an atheist to become a believer is not an arduous journey, it only means we must know, as the Lebanese author, Khalil Gibran wrote, ‘(Each of us) is life’s longing to be lived.’

One does not have to be atheist to realize, when we read the book The Tools (under review here) by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, that there is an incomprehensible Force, a Force that defies to be defended rationally, operating in our world; a Force that, the authors call ‘The Force of Forward motion’.

When Rhonda Byrne wrote her eminently impactful book The Secret, in 2006, she probably chose the title, not because she was going to reveal what people did not know, but because she knew that many of us had chosen to ignore or even disregard the simple truth of ‘The law of attraction’, in so ignoring it, we had forsaken the opportunity to recognise abundance in each of our lives.

Likewise, when Stutz and Michels have titled the book, they have authored, The Tools, they desire we recognise and realize the Tool, nay the enabler, for our self-transformation has been with us from the beginning of civilisation and shall remain unaltered throughout mankind’s existence.

Need to have faith

Like the law of attraction which reveals abundance, The Force, the touch point of the book under review, reveals the ‘need to have faith.’

You cannot see faith, you cannot touch it, yet it envelops each of us, urging us to go on, to reach for the stars and not stop till we get there.

The Tools, in its paperback edition is 268 pages and each page is filled with telling instances of how we may, ‘get unstuck, control anger, express ourselves, combat anxiety and find discipline (from the back cover).’

The book gives us 5 tools to work with, namely:

1. The reversal of desire

2. Active love

3. Inner authority

4. The grateful flow

5. Jeopardy

Each tool they explain follows a method and if those methods are adopted, each of them gives us access to a ‘Higher Force.’

While words like ‘inner authority’ and ‘combat anxiety’, are words many of us have read and may even have our own interpretation of them, words such as ‘the reversal of desire’, ‘active love’ and ‘jeopardy,’ may leave us wondering what they mean?

Reversal of desire, the authors inform, is not about ‘denial’ of desire and instead it is to go towards what has limited us from feeling ‘fully human and being fully alive.’

Our desire to avoid pain, to turn away from what we fear, to try to run away from our shadow, from what we dislike about ourselves, only keeps us trapped in victimhood. And to defeat those self-limiting beliefs we have about ourselves we must reverse the desire to run away or avoid those ghosts that keep us prisoners or euphemistically saying ‘keep us in our comfort zone’ and instead go towards what causes that pain and allow or permit ourselves to surmount it.

Active love combines ‘love and effort’. To practice active love is to ‘concentrate, to transmit and penetrate’, all the love that surrounds us and concentrate it in our heart; to make our hearts function as conduits, to transmit love from a higher place and to penetrate the love we are transmitting to enter the other person.

The agnostic, the skeptic, may ask, ‘how can I love someone who I hate?’ The Higher Force does not argue; it merely asks, ‘do you want peace and happiness? Do you want to self- preserve?’

We are all evolving organisms, we are all part of ‘the Force of evolution,’ evolving and growing every minute.

The choice

Nature and Life provide us the energy and the wherewithal to grow. Yet Nature and Life cannot provide one ingredient and that is ‘our free will; ‘THE CHOICE’. The Universe respects human freedom and it refuses to compel us to evolve against our will.

Stutz and Michels share a story about an old Rabbi who tells his listeners that God created Man in his own image. And yet when he had finished His task, He was unhappy for man could not create, as God could. So, He placed man on Earth, charged with the responsibility of finding himself. God could not give Man this one ingredient for ‘an expression of who man is, is a revelation of who man is inside’. Thus, it is for each of us to develop our creative powers through our own effort.

The book also gives us the Tool, the authors call, Jeopardy, the sure possibility that we will give up. And to combat this we need a Higher Force to help us, the Force of willpower.

Stutz and Michels push and encourage us to build unstoppable willpower and when we understand the tactic to build it, we will fight back.

The book has been classified as self-help and psychology. Yet I think it is more than that. It is a book that can accompany us, as would a ‘prayer book’, an ‘almanac’, as the famous song of the 1940s ‘The Deck of cards’ says; it can be a reference guide, a reckoner, to keep reminding us that we are surrounded by a living force, higher, and beyond rational understanding.

As we come to the last few pages of book, there is an interesting conversation that Michels has with his physicist friend, Steve, where Michel asks Steve “Do you (really) accept the spiritual system?” And Steve replies, shrugging his shoulders “Pascal said, it’s the Heart that feels God, not reasoning powers. You get results, sometimes that’s all that matters.”

Faith can only be trusted and not tested, and when you trust, The Higher Force will kick in.

The writer is a visiting professor at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai and is an organisational and behavioural consultant. He can be contacted at

About the book

Title: The Tools: 5 life-changing techniques to unlock your potential

Authors: Phil Stutz & Barry Michels

Price: ₹699

Pages: 288

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Check out the book on Amazon here