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Not for Personal Change
on September 11, 2011
This is not really a book on what I consider "psychological" change but rather a book on "social" change. The difference being change yourself or change society. I thought this would be a book on personal change. Not so. I found the subtitle somewhat deceiving, "The surprising new science of psychological change". I should be, "The surprising new science of social change". I bought the book when it just came out, before you were able to look "inside" the book on Amazon. If I had seen the chapter headings I would not have bought it; Reducing Prejudice, Reducing Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Reducing Teenage Violence, Preventing Teenage Pregnancies, etc. All worthy subjects but not subjects that directly apply to changing yourself. The only personal use from this book that I found was in the first chapter, which is also the title of the book, "Redirect". In it Wilson talks about "story editing" (tell yourself a different story), "story prompting" (someone else tells you a different story) and "do good be good" (acting like the change before the change occurs). This didn't seem very new and what I've pretty much found in other self help books, reprogram the beliefs in your mind, and "be within when you're without", "act the part before you can be the part" in other words, act like what you want to become and that's what you will become.
This review is not totally fair. Although it's not the book I thought it would be, if you approach it knowing it's directed at social change, then it's worth reading. The strong suite of the book is the research documentation. You also have to credit Wilson with standing up for the research that says popular programs such as D.A.R.E (drug program in schools) and CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing) and some other such methods and programs don't work, then telling you what research has shown does work. Another strong point of the book is that at the end of each chapter he has a section called "Using It" where he tells you how you can use the information that was presented in the chapter.
If you want to change others or the world, this book may be for you. If you want to change yourself, look elsewhere.