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I'm OK--You're OK Paperback – July 6, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 208 customer reviews

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About the Author

The late Thomas Harris was a Navy psychiatrist and a professor at the University of Arkansas. He practiced psychiatry in Sacramento, California and directed the Transactional Analysis Association.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (July 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060724277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060724276
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Using the Transactional Analysis theory first introduced by Dr. Eric Berne, Dr. Thomas A. Harris has published the results of his pioneering work in this best selling book. This is probably one of the best books that explains how to use this theory in improving all kinds of personal relationships.
Dr. Harris starts off by going into the history of Transactional Analysis and the theories of those before Dr. Eric Berne. The second chapter explains the basic of Transactional Analysis which is the concept of the Parent, Adult, and Child ego states that are supposed to compose each and every one of our personalities. The Parent ego state contains all the information we accept as true that we have gathered from authority figures including our parents. The Adult ego state is the collection of all information that we have proven to ourselves as being true (using some sort of logic). The Child ego state is our natural good and bad side of feelings - love, anger, greed, empathy, etc. The author extensively uses the phrase P-A-C (Parent-Adult-Child) through the rest of the book.
Dr. Harris then introduces the concept of the four different life positions that each of us adopts at any given time. All of us apparently go through four life positions ending up with the last one in a sequential manner except some of us get stuck in the earlier stages (this results in problems that typically need therapy). These four positions are -
1. I'm Not OK, You're OK
2. I'm Not OK, You're Not OK
3. I'm OK, You're Not OK
4. I'm OK, You're OK
The next few chapters of the book focus on the fact that we can change no matter what stage we are stuck in and the theory behind how to change.
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2 Comments 122 of 127 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I believe I found this book abandoned in a box on my street, or was given it, or possibly even paid a dollar for it at a used book store clearance sale.

However I got it, I wasn't expecting much: I had heard the title & assumed it was some coddling, outdated '70s feel-good hippie crap, to be perfectly honest.

Instead it is about the most useful "self help" book I've ever read by far, though I haven't read many of that genre... let's just say it is the most useful book I've read in quite a while, one that I actually understood & was inspired by &, even more amazing, find myself applying.

The gist is, we all have competing forces in us, except that instead of the Freudian Id, Ego & Superego (which I never felt too excited about), we have P-A-C, Parent, Adult, & Child.

Now I'm not sure, but I think this might be the origin of the irritating & irrelevant (to me, at least) concept of "getting in touch with your inner child," but the way this is presented in the book is anything but facile or condescending, & relevant to just about every human being I know.

We start off as a child, obviously, and this Child voice seeks instant gratification, & pleasure, it avoids pain, & it thinks it's the Center of the Universe.

As the child learns it can't have its way, as it is blocked in various ways, limited, as desires are denied, it creates the Parent, the Voice that Knows, knows when to punish, to withhold, to control, to prescribe, to explain, etc.

The idea is that most of us are existing as little more than those two forces fighting it out inside of us, moment to moment. The Parent that wants to be in charge & control & know it all, & the Child that wants to relax & indulge & have it his way, right away.
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6 Comments 86 of 91 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand his or her behaviour in situations.
The "A-Ha" feeling you get when you start reading it comes when you understand why so-and-so makes you feel small or angry and why certain situations make you start playing some game.
It discusses the basic terminologies and vocabulary needed and then goes on to discuss in different social contexts and developmental contexts the application of Transaction Analysis.
This is not just a vague psychology book like Freud. It is extremely practical and insightful.
Comment 40 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book, and I would have to say that it is one of the best tools in understanding how and why people act the way that they do. I work with the public every day, and was at my wit's end with my customers and the way that they act. After reading this book I have a deeper understanding of their and my inner workings and have found my work life to be more productive and less confrontational. Great book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I recently finished reading this book. This is really a great book and gave me some insight into my own behaviour. It would be fair to say that this book has great value to those who get through first 3 chapters and understand the theory behind rest of the book.

Some reviewers have written about the validity of the theory iteself. While I am not qualified to comment on these reviews, one thing I can definitely conclude is that this book provides a solid base to those who are trying to understand their own behaviour and trying to achieve improvements in it. A theory, that too developed quarter century ago, can not be expected to stand 100% vindicated today. The more importent question is what use you are trying to put it to. So may be for a psyciatrist this is not a great book but for a layman like myself this book explains most of the things. After reading this book I could find out why I behave the way I behave mostof the times. To a certain extent I learnt to control my responses. Also I have a feeling that the claims made by Dr. Harris might be quite right in 1972 in light of the knowledge, then prevalent.

Second objection seems to be dividing 5 or 6 billion population in 4 types of people. I think this conclusion is far from correct. Dr. Harris has repeated said that most of the people belong to "I am not ok and you are ok" category. Out of the remaining 3 cattttegories 2 are shared by people who have not had proper childhood and the fourth is achieved by enlightenment of an individual. The objective here is not to merely categorize, but to show that how most of us have the common position "I am not ok and you are ok".
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