The Teenage Guide to Success: The TICK TOCK Formula for Life, Relationships and Careers

Colton Fidelman

Publisher: Archway Pages: 136 Price: (paperback) $15.99 ISBN: 9781665752411 Reviewed: December, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In this guide to growing up, Colton Fidelman, a high-school senior at the Army & Navy Academy in Carlsbad, California, presents his “success formula” mnemonic: “TICK TOCK.”

In the acronym “TICK TOCK,” the T stands for “Taming social media” and “Treasure beyond money”; I is for “Inspiring Hard Work”; C is for “Cultivating relationships,” etc. Devoting a chapter to each lettered topic, Fidelman has culled an admirable amount of research on recent studies on depression, suicide, drug use and how social media adversely affects adolescents. He combines this with insights derived from personal experiences (including a bout with depression in his early teens) and numerous interviews with people he had sought out as mentors, including Mike Mills, a founder of the rock band R.E.M., billionaire computer software developer Dean Stoecker, media star Anna Batugina and Retired U.S. Army Major General Peggy Combs. The overall effect is endearing; Mills tells him, “Find something you love and go after it with your whole heart,” and Stoecker urges, “Drop the device,” meaning get out into the real world.

Fidelman is upfront about the challenges his generation faces, such as “greater exposure to trauma, lack of sleep, increased peer competition…,” and savvy about how to use technology to meet those challenges: “Ask ChatGPT to research the market you’re interested in and then ask it to give you five ideas for niches that lead to riches,” he writes.

Fidelman’s advice is mostly familiar—setting clear goals, keeping a daily journal, practicing mindfulness—and his 100 percent certainty that it will help teens who “face greater barriers” is gently naive. Too, for all his insistence on thorough research and preparation, he’s overlooked the fact that his target audience prefers different formats, thus making his in-print approach somewhat of a dinosaur.

Nonetheless, teens who pick up this old-school platform will find solid advice from someone they can relate to and respect.

Also available in hardcover, ebook, and audio book.

Author's Current Residence
Carlsbad, California
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