Presence: How to Use Positive Energy for Success in Every Situation Review

8.0 Only Three Things to Remember


There are just too many books with the cheesy title of “ways to success”. They all but fell short of the hype, or in Ms. Rodenburg’s words, they were written with third circle of energy. After the initial “wow” effect, whatever between the pages was soon forgotten.

Presence is different: a plain paper cover and bare languages (uh, not counting Shakespeare verses). It is just a short 270 pages journey, but you will be amazed at the end how much wisdom was condensed with so few words. It wasn’t a new concept. Ms. Rodenburg just tried to reinterpret a quite important yet century old concept: presence, mindfulness or zen – the importance of being at the moment, truly connected to oneself and the surroundings. In her world, there are 3 distinctive energy forces around us: first circle – self and withdrawal, third circle – bluff and force, second – connecting. The book went on to give personal and vivid practical examples of how different circles of energy interacted in the world. It gave out some simple physical exercises to help the readers to be more connected with voice, words, listening, senses and mind. To later part of the book, Ms. Rodenburg also penned down some very specific advice for professions: teacher, policemen, lawyers etc. And not surprisingly, giving her background, breathing and eye contact were emphasized throughout the book.

“If you bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will save you. If you don’t bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will destroy you.”

The most amazing thing of the book is that I now can easily apply her concept in my life. I become more aware of the different energy types of others and myself, and that awareness alone normally helps me to stay connected. I became more aware when I curled back to 1st circle and when I rushed into 3rd circle (though many times I only realize them later). It will need practice, but I can see I am on the right track now.

“You are now starting a journey back to the beginning of your presence that can take you to the end. You are much more alive and brilliant than you allow yourself to be.”

Now let me say a few more things I would like to see in the book. First of all, the book isn’t about how be successful which I believe no one can truly teach anyone. If the book title stop right after positive energy, it would have earned 0.5 more score. Additionally, the book emphasized all the good things on 2nd circle and only bad things about other two. I think there are situations merit the effective usage of 1st or 3rd energies. I would be very interested to learn more on them so my view can be more balanced.

Ms. Rodenburg is more renowned for her theatrical work. But this book can surely be applied in general life. It is a book that teaches one how to be true to yourself and stay connected. It opens a door but the wisdom embedded in the book will take years to master.


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