Although there is a focus on monetary success, Why Wasn’t I Taught This At School? aims to bring an all-round feeling of success which stretches from career to personal life. The central idea is that change is possible, but only if it comes from within; that thinking like a winner leads to acting like a winner, leads to being a winner. Reynolds adopts a Nurture over Nature system of thought; happy or sad, rich or poor, you are where you are today because of the choices you make, or which have been made for you. The inference, of course, is that everyone has the potential to change their lives in any way they wish.
The book is well-laid out, and the language is easy and straightforward. There are, however, a lot of exclamation marks, which gets tiring quickly. The first, and shorter, part of the book is similar to most traditional self-help books. Reynolds talks about his own experiences and successes, explains his system, and gives a few straightforward exercises designed to help you define and achieve your goals. What sets the book apart from other self-help books is the second section, which is set out as an alphabetical directory, running from ‘Action’ to ‘Zzzzzs’. The idea is that, having read the book in its entirety, the reader can then dip in and out of this directory as needed.
This book will appeal to anyone who is young and wants to go places, but is uncertain of how to get there. Which, let’s face it, is nearly everyone in university. Reynolds is specifically targeting a youth-audience in his writing, which is another thing which sets his book apart from the thousands of other self-help books out there. There are chapter specifically for readers in their early to mid-twenties, and the advice he gives is clear and practical, drawing on the author’s extensive experience without feeling patronising.