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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outdated but still the best
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 The reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it's outdated.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.
Published on July 20, 2001

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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated
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...
Published on July 26, 1999 by Michael Polich


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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated, July 26, 1999
By 
This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Outdated but still the best, July 20, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (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 The reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it's outdated.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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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not that good, May 23, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (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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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of course it's dated. All classics are. It is nevertheless timeless., August 18, 2005
This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read between the lines, January 2, 2011
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This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!, February 1, 2012
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This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (Paperback)
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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32 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ick., April 30, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (Paperback)
This book was recommended to me by my manager because I am a quiet person, and very choosy about the people I associate with. While I am a bit shy, it doesn't interfere with my personal or professional life as much as this book implicated that it should.
This book covered mostly pathologically shy people, and painfully shy people. The end of the first half of the book pointed out that shy people have greater tendencies to become murderers, rapist, see prostitutes, etc. It freaked me out so badly that I put the book down.
I picked it up, read through the second half, and surprise, surprise, it was a bunch of self-exploratory psychobabble exercises. While this might have been fine for someone who has not thought about who they are, where they came from, and what they're doing now, I found the exercises useless, as I know very well who I am.
I knew beforehand the particular reasons that I don't like to be around people, so this book wasn't much help. It was interesting to read the interviews with nearly terminally shy people, but other than that... there was almost no reason for me to read this book. It brought me little enjoyment, and even less revelation.
I'm sure there are people who haven't looked at their lives, and their surroundings, and their thoughts about themselves and others. Perhaps to them, this may be a wake-up call.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book with a lot of scientific facts., September 7, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (Paperback)
I liked this book very much. (1) It is written by a Stanford professor who has a Shyness clinic. (2) He gives a lot of scientific facts, examples, &various peoples' quotes. His approach is good for different levels of shyness (extreme shyness too). Finally he gives some exercises to start working on for building a social skills toolset (from greeting people, striking up a conversation with someone you don't know, asking a question, etc.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars shyness, September 10, 2010
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This review is from: Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It (Paperback)
The best thing about this book is that it shows that many people in the world are shy. If you are shy you feel like you're not alone. It talks about how great a problem shyness is and what we can do about it. An interesting and easy read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, August 11, 2010
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This book is awesome for anyone who wants to get over their shyness, or just wants to learn more about it. Very informative, very good. I have learned so much from this book it is AMAZING! Highly recommended. The author, Dr. Philip Zimbardo, is the pioneer of studying and treating shyness.
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Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It
Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It by Philip G. Zimbardo (Paperback - January 22, 1990)
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