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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Open Mind's Bible
If the title of this book interests you at all, buy it, read it, and pass it on!

Michael W. Dean keeps getting better with every book he puts on the shelf. This one is his most informative, empirical and inspirational to date. Every word jumps off the page and hops right inside your "think tank".
The author doesn't tell you what to do with different...
Published on February 21, 2011 by Tony T

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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Goals oriented, Time management, Meaningful life, Happy life, Recovery from addictions, & Infopreneur ...
Wow. This was a different kind of book. In my humble opinion it is no masterpiece. But it was an interesting read. The author is the same age as my brother who was born in 1964. He claims to have finally grown up about 10 years ago and now has finally gotten to a place where he is pretty happy about himself. His history includes drugs, other addictions, hanging out with...
Published on April 8, 2009 by Marci Twain


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Open Mind's Bible, February 21, 2011
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This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
If the title of this book interests you at all, buy it, read it, and pass it on!

Michael W. Dean keeps getting better with every book he puts on the shelf. This one is his most informative, empirical and inspirational to date. Every word jumps off the page and hops right inside your "think tank".
The author doesn't tell you what to do with different "toxic" problems in your life. He simply shows you different ways to deal with those problems. Positive ways to shield yourself from conflict without igniting new conflicts or feeding the flame of an existing one. I'd suggest picking this book up if you have ever had any problems at all in your life, not just substance abuse. This isn't just an alternative to 12 step programs. A User's Manual for the Human Experience is exactly what the title says.
It might be time to cut out any negativity that's been keeping you from enjoying your life. This book will help you do just that. Reading this book isn't like having someone tell you what to do to improve your life. The author won't guide you through the human experience. Instead he shares his experiences and some other people's experiences with you, to help you undestand what works and what doesn't work. The essence of the book isn't some self-help propanganda being shoved down your throat. Painting a picture of some perfect life that you will live, as long as you do exactly what the book tells you to do. This book is different. You will forget that you're reading a book because it's like sitting next to a friend and listening to him share his "experience, strength and hope".
A User's Manual for the Human Experience is different from other self-help books because the author, Michael W. Dean, has a soul, (unlike most other self-help authors), and he wants everyone to free their soul from everything that is holding them down or holding them back. Reconnect with your individuality and ideals. Find whatever it is that drives you and leave every "toxic", waste of time in the rear view mirror. Freedom is real. It's in everyone's deck of cards that life has dealt them. If you don't have it in your hand then let this book reshuffle the deck for you.
Want to better yourself? Have more time to do what you want and protect yourself from any person or thing that will keep you from doing just that? Then please READ THIS BOOK AND PASS IT ON!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Self-Help" Book That Is Actually HELPFUL, January 11, 2011
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This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
I'm a skeptical person and not a 12 stepper. More of the Albert Ellis/Tom Horvath school of Cognitive Behavioral. Michael Dean has taken a rational approach to speaking of both the good and bad of the 12 steps that mostly revolted me, as I never agreed with "step one" of "admitting I was powerless", and he also covers the cartoon of people that become "meeting addicts that guzzle coffee" instead of working on fixing their lives. That's just trading one hobby/habit/obsession for another in MY book. He's more charitable about it in his book.

I never much thought about getting rid of toxic people in my life on the level that he has explored it, and he has a lot of good points as to how one might politely go about getting rid of people that drag you down that aren't able to turn around but often drag you back into the pit you're trying to climb out of.

Most "self-help" books are written to make money or have a huge agenda. Mr. Dean presents tools that have worked for him and offers to let you try them. Practical rather than cult-like. I would recommend this book to anybody with toxic people and/or habit issues. The parts on resolving boundaries with other people are really well thought out and would be worth reading just for the ideas on setting boundaries and making them stick to most EVERYBODY. The world is FULL of people who don't realize how often they let people waste their time and intrude in their lives to personal detriment. A person can get a lot of their life sidetracked if they aren't careful who they let in and around them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael W. Dean gets right to the heart of things here, April 13, 2009
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This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
The reviewer below might not "get it." It appears Marci Twain reviews many books that make the case for why the government should take money from the hard working and give it to the less productive---which Michael W. Dean calls "STEALING" in Chapter Ten of "A User's Manual for the Human Experience." Given the apparent divide between their respective political philosophies, no wonder Ms. Twain seems lukewarm in her review of Mr. Dean's book.

If you focus exclusively on Dean's occasional sociopolitical comments, you'll miss the real value of the book: its wealth of practical information designed to jump-start a (perhaps tragically stalled) life, via the aptly-named "Life Amplification" methods he describes. This is no new-age tome, nor is it a book written by a shrink who never hit the skids himself. Dean DID hit the skids, but he lived to explain not only how he survived, but also how he's been thriving as a successful filmmaker, musician, and author since beginning his recovery some fifteen years ago. Best of all, he explains how you can do it, too.

"A User's Manual for the Human Experience" reads like a no-nonsense talk from a wise and successful friend who has Been There & Done That---first the stupid, unhealthy way and then the smart, healthy way. Dean wants you to finish up with the former and get started on the latter.

It starts with ridding oneself of what might be called "toxic people" through the use of what Dean calls PESD---Practical Emotional Self Defense. Emphasis on the "practical"---like any effective method of self defense, there are tried and true methods that WORK. Dean knows them and shares them.

I bought two copies of this book for friends who know their lives are disintegrating, but are unable to figure out a way to rid toxic people from their lives and get on with the business of being happy. Dean shows exactly how to make what he calls "Serenity Vampires" de-materialize, and I'm hoping my friends have the smarts to absorb the information in this book and apply it to their own situations.

People who let others drag them down often have drug and / or alcohol problems, in addition to their co-dependency. Dean addresses this topic at length and suggests, perhaps in defiance of conventional wisdom, that one CAN eventually wean oneself of dependency on AA. He doesn't knock AA or its many contributions, but instead suggests that there comes a time in a person's recovery when the message has been received, so it's time to hang up the phone. When that time comes, Dean explains how to make the transition from dependency on recovery groups. (And yes, you can be as dependent on AA as you ever were on alcohol.)

Even if you don't have problems with toxic people or drug / alcohol issues, the chapters devoted to creativity and productivity are worth twice the price of the book all by themselves. Dean is a guy who lives to Create Lots Of Art and knows how to Get Things Done; a quick glance at his impressive CV proves this. He knows how to start with an idea, turn it into an actual physical thing (book, music, film) and market it to the public. And this is where the book really speaks to me----I don't have problems with toxic people or chemicals, but I've been struggling all my life to figure out efficient, practical ways to channel my creative / marketing energy. Reading Dean's many helpful hints on this subject I thought: "Finally----real-world DIY advice that really makes sense, for a change."

If you've ever spent way too much time trying to figure out exactly how to focus your creative energy for the best possible results, Dean will show you how to stop spinning your wheels and start gaining the kind of traction that propels you down the road to an Amplified Life.

"A User Manual for the Human Experience" gets my highest recommendation. I hope you (and the two friends I bought copies for) benefit from it as much as I have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great advice on dealing with problems, April 14, 2009
This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
Two decades ago, I read Harry Browne's book "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World". I considered it one of the most insightful and useful self-help books I had ever read. It is no longer in print. But that's okay...

Michael Dean's book will give you valuable answers that you need to fix problems. Everyone has problems of some kind. Some have problems with attitudes or addictions, some have problems working efficiently with others, and most of us have problems with people who want to manipulate, dominate, coerce, or drain us. As life goes by, our spiritual parts wear out or malfunction. This book is the maintenance and repair manual.

In my opinion, his writing style might be considered somewhat brash, edgy, or perhaps rough. Then again, the problems people have, especially addictions and overcoming them, are not nice and pretty either. Some problems won't go away just by thinking pleasant thoughts and listening to light jazz.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great self-help book for people who aren't into self-help books, March 17, 2013
This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
Everyone has heard the modern proverb of how to get rich: Write a book that tells people how to get rich, and then sell it to them. Michael W. Dean is not in this to get rich. Rather, he takes his passion for art and writing and gives examples of how he has explored the far reaches of the sex, drugs, and punk rock lifestyle, lived to tell the story, and over time brought things back under control and learned to have a truly happy, fulfilling life. Rather than lecturing or preaching, he establishes a "teaching hospital," with a style much more akin to beers around a campfire.

The book isn't all self-help either, at least not in the conventional sense. It expands upon the idea with examples of how to deal with people that drive you crazy, and the later sections even cover time optimization, use of technology, and a blueprint to set yourself free from the rat race. Personally it has inspired me to go forward with my dream of starting my own business designing and selling custom race car parts.

If you have ever felt a little different, like there was just something wrong with the world and it might not be you, this is definitely the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life, May 11, 2012
This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
I was broken, sad, probably depressed. A very strange time in my life. I don't remember how I came across this book. I'm not even a native English speaker.
1 year after having read this book my life turn around in an incredible way. I didn't think it was possible to make such a big shift in one's life in such a short time span.
Thank you to the author, life is so much clearer now, I became so much more creative, productive and happy in my life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book that actually gets to the core of things, April 18, 2012
This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
Great self help book that comes from as it says a human experience instead of the mind of someone who has done little more than study the human experience. Right on target with advice on time managment and life managment and the neeed to get rid of particular people in ones life. Loved the book and look forward to reading Michaels other books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that keeps on giving, March 5, 2012
This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
Not only has this book given me a wonderful box full of tools, it has helped me to understand my place among others in my life. The User's Manual has made my life more comfortable and organized. I have never been a fan of "self-help" books but this book is very enjoyable to read.

The User's Manual is well written and easy to follow. Everyone can find plenty within it's pages that applies to their life. This book has been a great help to me and I recommend it to everyone I know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, July 10, 2011
This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
I listened to the audio book free and then got the paper back to hand out to friends. The book is well written. It is not your usual self-help book. It is actually close to being exactly what the title claims. It will help you gain perspective on life. Learning to see people for who they are (good and bad) and how to deal with them in your life. How to not be a user of people or substances. Generally how to be the person you want to be and how to keep others from hindering your path.

My wife and I loved it. My neighbor has been grateful for the loan of the book as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed., April 15, 2009
By 
Zoe Marr (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A User's Manual for the Human Experience (Paperback)
WARNING: Michael W. Dean is NOT your next door neighbor. Michael has been to hell and back, from homeless junkie to published author and talented filmmaker. His story is heartbreaking and what he's been able to accomplish can't be told by anyone else. He's done what few people can do and has gone where few people have been. Who better to learn self-help from than a man who has actually LIVED it (unlike those PhD-authored books void of personal experience and impersonal writing)? If you are an overly conservative type, this may not be your match. If you can't handle hearing truth, you probably shouldn't read it or should wait to pick it up until you can. If you aren't ready to make any changes in your life, it probably won't do you much good. But if you are truly serious about making positive changes in your life and approach the material with an open mind, you will take something (if not plenty) from it that you can apply to your own situation and start living the life you want to lead.

I'm a big fan of this author, who has written everything from college text books to blogs, all aimed at providing his audience with crucial pieces of knowledge that provide insight and the tools necessary to take your talent and life to the next level. Michael W. Dean's books are sprinkled with life lessons, educational materials and furry kitties, all the while speaking directly to you as a reader. Upon reading his writings, I was surprised at what fascinating reads they made and it occurred to me that if all school texts were written in this manner, I would have actually read them and we'd all be getting straight A's.

This author has a gift for sharing knowledge and being brave enough to use personal real life examples to demonstrate lessons learned. He creates art and tells stories that tug at the heartstrings and produce great results if taken seriously. He doesn't seem out to make a quick buck but rather make materials that will improve lives and actually be seen and read by people who long for change and creative solutions. This guy screams cool. And his work and style taught me a lot about the value of living for your art and the integrity of your work.

I learned so much from reading "A User's Guide To The Human Experience". I learned many new ways to deal with life problems and find a healthier balance in my own life. Some of the information echoed paths I was already beginning to embark on but I needed someone to reinforce it and tell me it was ok to make certain changes I was in the process of initiating, which this book fully did. I am confident that this book armed me with several tools that will continue to aid me in having the best life possible and I wouldn't want to deny any of you the opportunity to improve something and apply it to your life, thus this recommendation. I was happy to tell my friends about it and am pleased to put in my two cents for all of you. It spoke to me in a manner I could relate to and brought into focus the next steps I need to embark upon to continue to evolve into the butterfly I am aiming to be.

Some of this book covers a lot of tips and tidbits about recovery. I have never been an addict. However, this book is about all around life improvement and even the recovery bits were very insightful and taught a lot of valuable things that can be applied in other ways. As far as self-help books are concerned, this one seems to cover it all and gave me the inspiration I was looking for and the strength I needed to go for it. Great book from what must obviously be a great man.
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A User's Manual for the Human Experience
A User's Manual for the Human Experience by Michael W. Dean (Paperback - March 28, 2009)
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