Smart to Wise

The Seven Pillars for True Success

Mike Clayton

“Clever, fascinating, useful, life-enhancing. It’s not often you can use those words together – but it’s a perfect summary of this book. If you read only one personal development book this year, make it Smart to Wise. Put it this way, I read it and now I’m re-reading it”.

David Thompson,
bestselling author of The Small Print of Success and The Magic BlackBerry.


Being smart, savvy and knowledgeable during the early stages of your career
is one thing. Being wise, an accomplished expert and someone who is widely
regarded as having created something of substance and value is the next
level. This book shows you how to take the knowledge that you have and turn
it into the wisdom that leads people to regard you as a trusted colleague,
partner or advisor.

Smart to Wise sets out the 7 pillars that you must master, if you want to move
from being seen as “smart” to being truly authoritative and trusted, and
which will propel you on to the next level in your career and in the direction
you want it to go. In mastering these 7 pillars, people at work, in your community
and amongst your contacts will regard you as someone whose judgement and
integrity they can trust absolutely, and to who they will look for advice,
guidance and involvement in key projects and initiatives.

Are you Smart... or Wise?

  1. SMART

    You’re smart.  You know stuff.  
    You’ve made great strides in your career and your life.   

    But you know there’s more:  there are levels that you aren’t ready for yet.  There are things you want to do and people you want to impress that you can’t yet reach. 

    Because being smart is not enough.

  2. WISE

    “the ability to use your knowledge well”

    Smart to Wise is about how to become wise. 

    It does not set out to give you the answers, nor to dispense wisdom, but to show you the direction of your journey. 

    There are many routes – and many possible destinations. 

    So Smart to Wise offers you a list of some things you will need along the way and some of the souvenirs to collect, which will mark your progress, to your own place of wisdom. 



Introduction: Wisdom


First Pillar: Self-Mastery

Second Pillar: Perception

Third Pillar: Evolution

Fourth Pillar: Conduct

Fifth Pillar: Judgement

Sixth Pillar: Fairness

Seventh Pillar: Authority



About the Author

“Mike Clayton has an enviable ability to make the most complex and challenging subjects ordered and accessible. This book gives practical guidance in a sequenced and structured way on how to increase your ability to not only be clever but also to be wise. Drawing on the writings of great philosophers from the past, and the science of the present he pulls it altogether into a readable, easy to follow developmental process. I recommend this book both to those who are interested in developing their own capacity for wisdom, and those charged with developing the potential of others.”

Sarah Lewis, MD and Principal Psychologist at Appreciating Change,
and author of  Positive Psychology at Work and Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management


“In Smart to Wise Mike has brought together a wealth of information, insights and wisdom to assist anyone in their journey of personal evolution.  It is both theoretical and practical and will become an invaluable handbook for leaders, coaches, and all in the personal development industry.” 

Simon Tyler, author of The Simple Way


“In a time of volatility, complexity and unprecedented change, Mike Clayton expertly highlights a simple, eternal truth: it’s not what we know that matters, but how we react to what we don’t know. This book helps to prepare your thinking, wherever you are, moving you from Smart to Wise.”

Jeremy Kourdi, editor of The Answers Series and
co-author of The 100: Insights and Lessons from 100 of the Greatest Speakers and Speeches Ever Delivered


“Clever, fascinating, useful, life-enhancing. It’s not often you can use those words together – but it’s a perfect summary of this book. If you read only one personal development book this year, make it Smart to Wise. Put it this way, I read it and now I’m re-reading it”.

David Thompson, bestselling author of The Small Print of Success and The Magic BlackBerry.


“Many years ago my mentor at IBM gave me some sage advice ‘…Janice, you need to work smarter, not harder’(!) and now I can take this a step further with Smart to Wise. Smart to Wise explains how we can work on developing our capacity to be wise, and use this in our relationships, our business and personal life.

Not only is it a fantastic read, I also found it to be a really useful work-book to help me further my personal development and start incorporating more wisdom in my life.”

Janice Crompton-Brough,  founder of LAUGHTER JAM,
where she uses a blend of Mindfulness, Laughter Yoga, Bellydance, Meditation and Emotional Strength


“The times they are-a changing – and the pace of things has really gotten beyond our comprehension.  So we may be smart about all this but are we wise about things?  And more so – and worryingly – do we know how to turn smartness into wisdom anymore?  I am not so sure.

So enter Mike Clayton – a well respected, well researched and arguably very smart person.  And now I also know how wise he is.  His latest book Smart to Wise is just the thing we need in this maelstrom of data, opinion, research, anecdotes, stories, tweets and blogs.” [Read the rest of this review]

 Perry Timms is Head of Talent & OD at the Big Lottery Fund
He writes, speaks and tweetsabout all things in the HR transformational world


“Mike’s book blows open a common myth about being wise: it doesn’t just naturally happen with age and experience, it can and should be worked at. Smart To Wise draws on traditions as diverse as philosophy, psychology, Buddhism, and management theory to not only sign post a route that will bring us closer to wisdom, but help us avoid pitfalls and fallacies that will lead us away from it. Finally, exercises and ideas for activities to explore wisdom wisely help us embed the learning and apply it to our own lives. A though provoking read.”

Paula Gardner
and author of  Do Your Own PR and Get Noticed


“Mike’s wonderful insight and analysis of what makes people not just smart but wise is sheer genius!  If you want to lead authentically, persuade powerfully, manage effectively, network productively, engage passionately and live contentedly, this book should be the ‘go to’ choice in your personal development library.”

Rob Brown, author of bestselling ‘How to Build Your Reputation


“If the definition of wisdom is to combine ideas and build on them, that’s just what Mike has done in this book. Based on psychology and philosophy, supported by inspirational quotes and illustrated with simple diagrams, Mike shares insights and ideas to help you on the road from smart to wise.”

Jackie Barrie, founder of Comms Plus, making complex information appear simple
and author of the Little Fish Guides to Marketing and Networking 


“A well-researched and eloquently presented book on a subject that is not covered enough: wisdom.  A rare book that worked on two levels: made me sit back and think but also inspired me to take immediate action.  Very thought provoking indeed.”

Mike Ames, founder of the Flair Coaching Practice


“Smart to wise helped me rethink how I make many of my day-to-day decisions, with a new focus on trying to be Smart and Wise! I recommend this book for anyone who wants to progress in the 21st century work place.”

Jim Banting, Entrepreneur and Author of  ‘Get a Dog, Don’t Work Like One’

An Introduction to Smart to Wise

Smart to Wise: Beginner's Mind

 Emotional Wisdom eBookEmotional Wisdom

What is "Emotional Wisdom"?

In this short, 5,000 word pdf format e-Book, I define what I mean by “emotional wisdom” and how it relates to the more familiar concept of emotional intelligence.  I identify two domains: evaluation and re-evaluation and apply these to:

 - Self
 - Others
 - Relationships

There are three levels to each of these, giving 18 components to emotional wisdom.

These are ideas that I am exploring and I welcome your feedback.

Download Now




Wisdom of Leadership eBook

The Wisdom of Leadership

Without a doubt, leaders need to be smart. They need to juggle different aspects of their leadership roles while retaining currency in their areas of technical expertise. They need to have answers – or be able to get them – and they need to motivate and direct the teams who follow them.

Not surprisingly, the study of leadership has become one of the biggest interest areas among academics, business people, public servants and trainers, with new ideas emerging every few years. New approaches are needed to handle changing pressures in life:

Read the whole article in the Mini eBook, The Wisdom of Leadership.

Download Now

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