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Book Review: Hustle Believe Receive

Has your marriage fallen apart? Are you jobless?  Homeless? Penniless? Do you feel like you are always just spinning your wheels?  If that is the case, then Sarah Centrella’s new book, Hustle Believe Receive: An 8-Step Plan to Changing Your Life and Living Your Dream, makes the bold claim that she has the method to make your dreams come true. You can start achieving anything right now with the #HBRMethod.

“Simply put, the #HBRMethod refers to the eight steps for achieving success set forth in this book. Think of it like an eight-piece puzzle. Each step is a piece of that puzzle, and all the steps are needed in order to complete the picture,” Centrella writes in her opening chapter. Anyone can #DreamIT, #ThinkIT, #SayIT, #WriteIT, #SeeIT, #DoIT, #BelieveIT, and #LiveIT. Those are the (self-explanatory) steps of this success program, and to be frank they are nothing new. In fact, they are so popular in success stories that they may already be a cliché. Half the book revolves around journaling exercises, affirming your goals, changing your thoughts, #Futureboarding (i.e. vision boarding), and Centrella’s personal rags to riches story.

The other half is comprised of 51 (very short) success stories from authors, athletes, and other successful business persons. Hustle Believe Receive lacks in original content and is bogged down by a very contrived use of hashtag phrases, but its saving grace is the title keyword — hustle.  Had this book been void of “taking action” (i.e. hustling) I would have found myself deeply sighing each time I turned the page to find another flippant bucket list activity.

Centrella begins her book with a familiar story: she was a housewife who had her world shattered when her husband left her without a penny to her name.  She had no place to live, no job, and three children to feed.  She rose above the odds by dreaming, affirming, and believing in her goals. Eventually this landed her an executive position at a fancy company, and later a dream job as a life-coach and author with a lucrative network of successful friends.  At its core, Hustle Believe Receive is really a modern day take on the premise of Think Rich, Grow Rich. I’d even go so far as to describe it as a “Chicken Soup for the Successful Soul” kind of compilation. Each story is inspiring, but it isn’t her method that really stands out — it’s her transparent hustle and decisive use of hashtag terms to connect with tech-savvy society.

The following excerpt perfectly illustrates the frequent inclusion of hashtag phrases found throughout the entire book. After arriving outside Harpo Productions Centrella’s writes, “Just being in front of that sign was the realization of a dream I’d had for years (#Winning!) Here I was on an all-expenses-paid trip to Chicago (#MoneyAintAThing!), standing in front of the building where Oprah filmed her show, shows that helped to change my life. I asked the cab driver to wait for me as I walked up to the front entrance and looked through the windows. I paused and played the #CreateAMovieInYourHead of my moment. I wanted to remember it — The girl standing outside these doors dreaming of one day walking in.”

Hashtagging chapters, sub-sections, and other key phrases was a bit of a visual nuisance and caused things to become muddled at times. I found myself having to go back to the table of contents to figure out which hashtag was a step and which was just a catch phrase. For example, Step 6: #DoIT is a single page followed by several lengthier sub-sections titled #TheHustle, #CourageOverFear, and so on and so forth. The phrases that were familiar became obnoxious when they appeared too frequently. I understood immediately that roadblocks on the way to your goals are #EarthquakeMoments. I didn’t enjoy it being inserted into every single guest story on every other page.

And yet, this visual needling of phrases heavily benefits Centrella’s #TheHustle, because when I finished the book I laughed at the idea of tweeting a photo of my car’s flat tire to her with the caption #EarthquakeMoments — knowing that online participation was her goal!  She was clever and calculating when she made the decision to visually drill each catchphrase into the mind of her audience.  Even as she wrote her book she was already hustling to create a future #HBRLife social media platform. She even included her contact and tweeting info within the first chapter and made it a point to remind readers to share their stories and utilize those hashtags.

Observing her own #RelentlessPursuit (as she would say) made me applaud, and I found myself thinking, “An ‘A’ for effort, no doubt! #Winning!”  Branding her book method via social media is an investment will certainly grow her audience and I can easily see a league of #ManifestThat images popping up on my feed over time.  For people who love expressing their accomplishments through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. this book will thrill them.

But beyond the clever incorporation of social media quips and Centrella’s personal hustle, do these steps work to help you become more successful? “Statistics tell us that only the top 2 percent of the population are uber successful. Two percent!  Why is that number so small, you ask? Because the other 98 percent don’t have #RelentlessPursuit.” Is that the case? I’m not convinced it is.

Perhaps it has to do with this hard truth that so many of these success books can’t seem to acknowledge: There is not enough room at the top for everyone at the same time.  Not everyone can be the President, the top CEO of a company, or Miss USA — some may even struggle to become a manager at their local retail store.  After all, if esteemed positions were available in multitude then you wouldn’t have to work so hard (#RelentlessPursuit) for them.  Centrella admits early on that as a child she wanted to be a singer, but transitioned into being a writer. Her guest stories are littered with similar dream shifts.  For example, Nikki MacCallum wrote, “My dream now has definitely shifted to being a writer instead of being on Broadway. Now it’s my goal to get my stories out there and affect people’s lives through my writing.” So while being laser focused and determined will undoubtedly make you successful, it may be a different kind of success then you pictured.

Despite some of these shortcomings, I still walked away with a feeling of empowerment after finishing this book.  What I appreciated most was acknowledgment of #TheHustle. Centrella says, “Hustle comes first because to get what you want in life you can’t just ‘ask’ for it like the original saying, ‘Ask, Believe, Receive’ stated. Instead you’ve got to be willing, ready, and able to WORK for it, a.k.a. hustle.”

This particular component accelerated a reflecting period I’ve been in for some time, and brought about an epiphany. Last year I was diagnosed with an illness that turned my world upside down. I spent months rehabilitating myself back to the point where I could do daily activities such as laundry and dishes (#RelentlessPursuit). I realized something frightening while reading Hustle Believe Receive: when you live with a chronic illness #TheHustle changes – sometimes it even disappears. I went from being an independent woman working multiple jobs to someone who struggles with simple daily activities.  My daily goals have changed, but the core #RelentlessPursuit that Centrella talks about is still very much alive and by applying it I have made progress toward my daily wellness goals. While I cannot say that #Futureboarding, daily affirmations, or journaling activities contributed to my achievements, I can say that hustling, believing, and receiving did certainly unfold in my life by applying some of the steps listed in this book.

The bottom line is that if success compilations motivate you, then you’ll want to pick up this book. If you like reading stories about how people manifest their dreams, then you’ll want to pick up this book. If you love hashtagging on social media, you’ll definitely want to pick up this book. If you are looking for a new type of success method that is unlike anything that came before it, then you should keep searching.  And if you already working on #TheHustle, then just keep doing what you are doing!

Hustle Believe Receive: An 8-Step Plan to Changing Your Life and Living Your Dream

Skyhorse Publishing, January 2016

Hardcover, 373 pages


Book Review: Hustle Believe Receive

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Stephanie Kotelnicki

APA Reference
Kotelnicki, S. (2016). Book Review: Hustle Believe Receive. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 May 2016
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 May 2016
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