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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2005
Wow!! A profoundly insightful, powerful, and completely unique take on the subject of "self-confidence" and "embarassment." I highly recommend it... regardless of your level of self confidence, or lack thereof. And, if you have kids... definitely...get this book! Don't wait. Not only did it teach me how to step outside of my own self-punishing shell of shame, guilt, and self-pity, but I also learned how to be a better (and much more sensitive) parent. The wisdom in this book has helped unleash a powerful new understanding of my children, and a renewed sense of warmth, pride, and acceptance of them in all their faults and glory. Truly a priceless gift to me and my family. Thank you a thousand times Mr. Allyn.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2005
I was hoping this would be a book that would give meaningful guidance to people with a deep sense of shame/embarrassment, or at least a book anchoring shame in the social context. It does neither. Instead it is just a one-size-fits-all collection of self-help cliches.

The author is a "Harvard trained social scientist" who has written a prior book on the sexual revolution, and yet this book doesn't bother to put shame in a social or historical context at all, except on the most superficial level.

And furthermore, although I realize the author is not a psychologist, neither does this book seem to show any real psychological understanding of what it is like for a person who suffers deeply from chronic shame/embarrassment. Instead this book is just lightweight self-help fluff and the usual random anecdotes about successful people and businesses.

It's not that the advice in this book is bad. It usually isn't. (Although the authors insistence that honesty is always less *shameful* than dishonesty is highly questionable in my opinion). It's just that you've probably heard it all before. Sometimes we forget the obvious and need reminding or external encouraging though (and hence the reason I even give 3 stars).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2007
David Allyn captures the universal concern for what other people think of us and the deep desire to hide away, embarassed and horrified, when we think we've screwed up. After reading this book, I felt much less alone in my feelings of shame and embarassment and more empathetic toward others.

I recommend this book very highly. It's not a psychological treatise -thank goodness. It's easy to read, even funny in places. It's for people who want some practical ways to think about and deal with life's daily horrors that we bring upon ourselves.

If you've ever made a mistake that you are still thinking about (and who hasn't?), read this book and breathe a lot freer.
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on January 7, 2006
"I Can't Believe I Just Did That" offers practical advice about how our efforts at image control (withdrawal, deception, and intimidation) erect barriers in our relationships. Allyn's writing style is very empathetic and you really get the feeling that he understands and cares about readers who suffer from embarrassment and shame.

His suggestions regarding romantic relationships (both single and married) are especially helpful. He offers real-life examples and scenes from television shows such as "Friends" and "Sex and the City" to help make his ideas more accessible. Allyn estimates that 80-90 percent of all romantic relationships end because of a shame spiral brought on by image-control strategies. It's certainly important for all of us to understand something that's so problematic.

In its efforts to be politically correct, the book broadens its scope to include every kind of person in every kind of situation. The author even encourages criminals to celebrate their courage regardless of their bad choices.

Despite this little quirk, "I Can't Believe I Just Did That" is well worth reading if you want a new perspective on self-defeating thoughts and actions.

Leslie Halpern, author of Reel Romance: The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies and Dreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle Between Art and Science.
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