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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 1999
I originally found this book in the basement of my local public library doing volunteer work. It consumed me as much as I consumed it. It redirected my life and after reading it I felt better and clearer about every decision I made. It has changed me for the better. I can't wait to rediscover it again. (I'm ordering it again!) I only wish I could thank Willard and Marguerite Beecher myself. Enjoy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 1998
Want to know what's really holding you back? Based on the psychology of the neglected giant, Alfred Adler, this book lays it all out. The view from here is succinct, jargon free and pulls no punches--without cheerleading, recipes, sermons or gimmicks. Pure gold.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2004
I first read this book 30 years ago. I am still reading it! Its' words cut like a two edge sword through all self delusion. It helps to bring the reader back to a realistic, "doable in the now" approach to life. I don't think I've ever read another book that was such a bitter pill for my ego and yet the positive effects on my life are still occuring. I knew Willard and he embodied the principles he wrote about. He somehow transmitted peace and serenity to whomever was in his presence. I still to this day use him as a standard from which to judge myself. Because words without the embodiment of their meaning are worthless. I not only highly recommend the book I recommend reading it as many times as necessary to find that place inside you that Willard describes in the introduction of the book as the eye of the hurricane where the sun is shining and the birds are singing!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2003
Well, the answer depends on who you are and what you're bringing to the reading of this book.
Having gone to Oberlin College in the late 80's (the heyday of "political correctness" and ground zero for that movement, in fact) I am well-acquainted with "liberal" views on life, society and personal responsibility. Lots of noble notions, not much pragmatism or self-evaluation. If you're a die-hard student of the P.C. movement, this book will offend you, even freak you out. Kryptonite! Why? Because it reminds you that YOU are primarily (nay, entirely) responsible for your sense of happiness and direction in life. Which you'd think would be self-evident enough, but somehow isn't to people who are used to blaming others for their woes instead of examining their own premises first. Check your premises!
Political Correctness plays strip poker with this book and loses, ends up buck naked, an emperor with no clothes. BSAF is a superb antidote to P.C. because in a matter of a few short chapters, it very effectively strips away common illusions about what makes us miserable in life and who's responsible for this phenomenon, based on its roots (no finger-pointing allowed anymore). It's a challenging read! But if you're ready to move beyond demanding that others help you realize your best self, and ready to start demanding that growth of YOURSELF, you'll find this book is pure gold, a very effective tool for shifting your consciousness towards enhanced self-reliance.
I don't say that lightly, because I've read dozens of "self-help" books, been in therapy, even been prescribed anti-depressants. I wish I'd found this book first! It's a page-turner, a quick read, but very potent. It really truly did change my life. I read it again six months later and it had improved with age. If you suffer from bona fide clinical depression (for example) or some other truly severe challenge, keep your therapist around. If however you are among what the profession calls "the worried well," then wrap up your sessions, get off the Zoloft (or Prozac or whatever) and READ THIS BOOK. With a cheap paperback version in print, you have nothing to lose.
FYI...
1) The current edition graciously omits the somewhat noxious and outdated chapter on homosexuality that existed in the original version. Otherwise, though, the book has aged remarkably well. In fact, you could almost believe it was written in the mid-Nineties in response to P.C. rather than in the Sixties as it was. It still packs a wise, timeless punch.
2) The book is based heavily on Adlerian psychology, which is very much about the individual and self-reliance.
3) It's not a detailed "how-to" book (which is why I'm giving it 4 stars rather than 5)-- it's big on ideas, but a little short on practical solutions for self-improvement, and might leave you wondering "Now what?" In that case, you may find that books like "Feeling Good" by Burns or "Awaken The Giant Within" by Robbins (no, really) offer you more pragmatic advice.
Kryptonite or gold? It's up to you now.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2002
This is the book for anyone who feels like something is missing in their life and they still believe that it will be fulfilled only when they meet the right person, place or thing.
This book teaches self reliance on every level. There is a huge lesson to be gained from this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2001
This book should be required reading for all people interested in becoming actual adults instead of children in adult bodies. After reading this book, its easy to identify and understand the misconceptions about life, adulthood, success, and relationships.This book helped me understand my emotional turmoil and to break away from old childish habits that held me back in all aspects of life, especially in social interactions. Very clearly written and down to earth a MUST READ, enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2000
I have read and re-read this book since 1971. It was given to me by a friend in paperback form. The price of that paperback is laughable when compared to the content of the book. I would consider this book must reading for all adults seeking to become mature individuals. The book gives much food for thought on getting past the many little hurts in life, and helps one understand our own behavior patterns. I would say that this book requires the reader to have a fairly high awareness level. I was just happy to see that the book could be re-ordered since I've worn the cover off of the paperback.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
While going through some old books in my collection, I rediscovered this volume that I read over 20 years ago and have never forgotten the many understandings gleaned from it. Very much like seeing an old friend. I thought it would sure be out of print even though I wanted to purchase a couple of copies for my grown children. Recommended to all who prefer not to wade through a swamp of New Age, politically correct rantings. The authors call is as they see it and it is seen correctly. Recommended to those who can take a critical look at themselves, not flinch, and do the correct thing. Upon reflection, it's OK to flinch a bit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2000
A friend gave me this in the 80's and every so often I pull it out and re-read it. It focuses on the fundamentals of human behavior and emotion with a clarity that I have not seen elsewhere. For those who are willing, it enables you to look straight at your problems and shows you how all problems arise from a set of misconceptions. It is easy to start changing your thinking because the errors are so basic. The content of this book is profound.
I have not found a better book for getting focused and back on track when in emotional pain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 1999
My father originally came upon this book in 1969 and was so impressed that he got a copy for each of us children AND my mother!! The principles of taking responsibility for one's own thoughts, words and actions cannot be stressed too much. The Beechers make an awful lot of sense - although I don't think they had much understanding or empathy for homosexuals. Still, the exhortations to "put no one's head above your own" and "live life on the grazing principle" are needed now as much as they were 30 years ago!
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