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Becoming Real: Defeating the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back Hardcover – May 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (May 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573222798
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573222792
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,110,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Saltz, an assistant professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital appears who weekly on the Today show, provides a guide to a kind of narrative unconscious as it affects decision making. The author says that most people live according to stories about care and need that were created in childhood to help them stay attached to and feel safe with adults who often failed to give what was needed emotionally. Saltz finds five major groups of stories about oneself and others, and names them by their distinguishing traits: dependent, super achiever, self-defeater, competitor, perfectionist. Such descriptors, she finds, lodge in the unconscious and result in self-destructive or nonproductive behavior in relationships and at work, as each type (or a combination of several) is used as a shield to fend off emotional stress. To move beyond these early stories to a more satisfying life, Saltz recommends that one clearly articulate the "old story" and its cost to one now, and then "rewrite" it and act accordingly. Although the author's instructions for undergoing this process are specific and clear, this is not a quick fix self-help book, but is based on psychoanalytic technique that will take time and commitment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Gail Saltz, M.D., is a mental health contributor to the Today show and is a contributing editor for Glamour magazine. She has appeared on Dateline, on CBS News and the Early Show, and on Fox News and Health News, among other television shows, and has been featured in the Associated Press, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, New York magazine, Newsweek, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Woman's World, Town & Country, and WebMD.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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This book has helped me immensely!
J.B.
Some of her analyses of patients seem contradictory, and although the anecdotes are somewhat interesting I could find *none* that came close to my situation.
Barry
Just as the case with therapy, you really have to be ready to make changes in your life.
Deb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Deb on July 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I picked up Gail's book "Becoming Real" I knew that I had not been happy with my life for years. After I was a few chapters into her book, I discovered why I had not been happy. As I read on, I learned what "stories" I had been telling myself that were preventing me from achieving this happiness. I realized that it was not the rest of the world that was cheating me and overlooking my talents. It was me. By the end of the book, I knew what I had to do to rewrite my story. And, now, I'm proud to say that the plot of my life is a real page-turner. :-)
Gail's book helped me realize that I am in control of what I decide to do with my life. Sure, I could have continued to sit around feeling sorry for myself and look at how well "everyone else" was doing. But, thanks to some essential realizations I had while reading her book, I have learned how to really listen to myself, and what I truly want, regardless of what I think others may want me to do instead.
Putting an end to my roadblock stories has been so freeing. Gail's book helped me learn how to recognize and replace the "self-defeating" parts of my personality that held me back for years. If I had not read her book the other month, I probably would have continued to fret about how unhappy I was, without knowing what to do about it. But, with the insight I gained from Gail's book, I had the tools and courage to make some major changes in my life. After years of pursuing what I thought I should be doing with my life, I am now doing what I want to be doing.
But, I do need to warn you that "Becoming Real" does not guarantee a quick fix. Just as the case with therapy, you really have to be ready to make changes in your life.
Read more ›
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. TJP on March 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
No matter where you are in; self help books, recovery, self-development, this book is a direct and objective book to helping you know why while giving you solid understanding and tools for change. I read many books of this type and unfortunately have become a registered armchair quarterback psychologist. Gail combines psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioral therapies into a condensed solution.

Is it the magic bullet? Nothing is, but, reading and working the short exercises in the book and reading about the personality types, that you may be in, will definitely give you pause and insight. I got mad going through one of the personality types and even told a friend not to buy the book. I had to call them back after I realized my reading of the book just hit a nerve.

There is no one great book. This one will make a dent, a useful one, especially if you are interested in figuring out why, how, and what do I do now.

One negative, it is gender specific for women. If you are a man and are reading this, you will have to mentally switch female to male references and male to female, which can be a little tiresome. But, if you need to get good information and achieve fast results you find a model that is out there that works and copy it.

Barbara De Angelis mentioned that when she wanted to become a great public speaker back in the 80s she went out and found the strongest best model she could emulate. She was indifferent that it was male, because that was what dominated that area back then. I would say the same about this. It is well done and relates to both sexes, even though Gail seems to have written it directly to the female population.

A good read and an easy read. Well, until it hits a nerve.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. Hudson on May 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
this book changed my perspective entirely & empowered me to know why i am so hard on myself & effectively make change. knowing why & nonjudgmentally realizing that as small children, we interpret things so differently & incorporate those misinterpretations into who we are as people has been paramount in freeing myself of those self critical views. the things this book discusses are THE reasons people suffer depression, anxiety, etc. medication may help but the real solution is to DEAL with what's underneath the suffering when you are ready to do the work. this book is huge & i'm forever grateful for what i've learned from reading it. highly highly recommend to EVERY person because these things do effect every one in one way or another (to varying degrees of course). if you are a parent or planning to be a parent, this information is highly useful as well.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The book started out great with much promise, but as I got into it, virtually all examples and stories were specifically about women and written it seems, for the female perspective, which made it very difficult for me to apply the information to my own life. The questionaire for determing your personality type, which was integral for reading the rest of the book, seemed to be written exclusively for female respondants.
This could be a great book for women on a quest of self-improvement, but I wouldn't recommend for men, unless your goal is to gain insight and understanding on the stories that may be holding back your wife, mother, daughter, etc.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I think Getting Real is "Right On"! I read the book and really found it helpful in understanding myself and how I deal with certain situations. What I liked particularly is that it was "down to earth" - in language I could understand - with examples anyone could relate to. It was easy and interesting to read (not like a boring text book). Yet at the same time, the book makes you think about yourself and probe deep inside with the intent of self-awareness and self-improvement. Everyone should read this book!
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