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Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It Paperback – January 22, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (January 22, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201550180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201550184
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip G. Zimbardo is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, having earned his Ph.D. at Yale. He founded the Stanford Shyness Clinic to develop ways of overcoming the problems of shyness. His research on shyness, vandalism, and imprisonment is cited around the world, and the American Psychological Foundation has honored him for his teaching and writing. Dr. Zimbardo is also creator and host of the PBS television series Discovering Psychology.

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Customer Reviews

A good book that is easy to read.
Jennifer
We would not be where we are in civilized history without inwardly focused thinkers, writers and problem solvers.
parent and teacher
It talks about how great a problem shyness is and what we can do about it.
Beanu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Michael Polich on July 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
Philip G. Zambardo obviously wrote this book for the 70s generation. A lot of the theories that he offers about shyness have not stood the test of time. His self-help methods are overly simplistic, and he doesn't really have a handle on how shyness affects people. Especially disturbing is his praise of Synanon, a 70s cult that eventually became mired in controversy over forced vasectomies, beatings, and attempted murder. Very little to offer to the modern reader.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Being a true-blue shy person, I've ordered every book on shyness I could find. This author seems to be the only one who really knows what he's talking about. The reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it's outdated. The only thing that has changed since I bought this book 10 years ago is it's cover.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By parnassus2 on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Zimbardo opens his book by stating that shyness is "a universal experience" (page 14, paperback 6th ed. 1978), that nearly 80% of those polled said they had been shy at some point in their lives, half of whom had overcome it. He establishing a range of shyness from, on one end of the range a tendency toward introversion, to mid-range shyness of situational awkwardness and feeling intimidated, to the really shy people who dread public speaking, etc. and finally the far end of shyness that "may become a severe form of neurosis." Zimbardo briefly discusses the 20% of shy people who like being shy, revealing what advantages it can have for people. Zimbardo seeks not to promote a rigid and narrow, academically approved "type" of personality, much less equate shyness with a tendency toward crime, as one reviewer claimed. At most Zimbardo implies that among those who are convicted criminals, there was a greater number who were isolated socially. Well.... Duh... One reviewer mischaracterizes Zimbardo's book by choosing to see this (rather self-evident) point as meaning that shy people have a propensity toward crime. What Zimbardo actually says that shyness in the extreme, can be a contributing factor to the degradation of one's mental health, which, if unchecked, can in some cases continue to deeper pathologies. And at that level of pathology, should there be no means of healthy release of the internal stresses and tensions of such pathology, in some cases can lead to violence against self or another person. There are a lot of contingencies that one reviewer chose to ignore, resulting in a logic by which getting out of bed in the morning, an act that all killers do, indicates a propensity to murder. Let's not misread Zimbardo, whose "...main interest is only in helping shy people remove barriers to their greater freedom, to their fuller participation in life, and to their personal sense of worth and mastery" (120).
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book is *outdated*. It was written in 1979. Some of its theories really freaked me out. I thought there was some thing seriously wrong with me. And it's not that informative. The impression I got from the writer is shyness is not normal and it's some kind of a character defect that needs to be treated. I read a part about shy people tend to become perverts, rapists or killers. That's not true.
If you want a great book about shyness, then you should buy "Shyness: A bold new approach" By Bernardo J. Carducci, Ph.D. His book is recent and the information provided is totally up todate. He doesn't think shyness is a character defect that needs to be treated, etc.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gypsy Violets on January 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I too began to question myself and feel frightened when Zimbardo presented the many theories of why one may be shy... But, this is the thing, he explains these are mere theories, conjured by many different people, and that they may not apply to everyone. He is not for putting people into categories... I skimmed through these parts as I only took in those ideas that were most important to me.... Yes, he mentions some scary things that stay in one's mind... How most men that go to prostitutes are shy, and that many horrendous crimes are committed not only by people with long records, with leanings towards impulsive acts; but, that many crimes are committed by the good citizen, who for many years were the quiet but all too controlled and repressed individual, who one day "snapped"...

I really loved the second part of this book though. Zimbardo's compassion for the reader is really felt in these pages. He explains to us the detrimental effects of shyness on a society (with commentary on society's where shyness is not prevalent), gives various exercises that allow readers to really take in how they see themselves, and outlines effective ways to deal with anxiety, how to meditate, and common sense ways to stay comfortable with people in social settings. I could really feel this author wished the best for people dealing with low self-esteem. After reading this book, I felt compelled to open it up again just to feel I had a cheerleader in its pages. I know it will take work and action to bring change to my life, but this book made it feel possible.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Erma on February 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
True this book is a little outdated, but it contained the best information to understanding and overcoming shyness. I was painfully shy most of my life. Reading this book several years ago made me not only see myself differently but helped me overcome most of my shyness issues. It helped me see that many times it's how we view ourselves and not how others view us that's the problem. We are our harshest critics. It is a must read for all who suffer from shyness.
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