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Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching: A 5-Step Guide to Creative Complaining Paperback – September 4, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (September 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312283512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312283513
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,524,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I thoroughly agree with the principle of creative kvetching. Submissive suffering is self destructive. . . . If people kvetched they'd feel better. -- Bernie Siegel, MD, author of Love, Medicine & Miracles; Prescriptions For Living. April, 2000

In Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching, Barbara Held's genuine humor with a practical and unique approach to self-help is based on the premise that having to act happy (or worse, actually be happy) when the harsh realities of life descend upon us is to add insult to injury. Rather, the trick to true happiness under trying circumstances is to know how to complain (kvetch) properly, so that we attract others, including their assistance and resources, rather than repel them. . . . Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching is the ideal antidote to all those other saccharine and submissive self-help books. -- Michael J. Carson, Midwest Book Review, October, 1999

The author contends that other self-help books with their message that you have to act happy and be happy all the time are often just a guilt trip that ignores the fact that we often encounter things worth complaining about. She does so with refreshing humor and I think this book will prove helpful to those too timid to complain when they should. -- Alan Caruba, Bookviews, October, 1999 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

A professor of psychology at Bowdoin College in Maine, Barbara Held, Ph.D. introduced the American Psychological Association to The (Overlooked) Virtues of Negativity in a well-received symposium.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Psychologist on November 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a psychologist who practices psychotherapy, I am always looking for self-help books that really work. In my experience, "Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching" really works. I have loaned this book to all kinds of patients, from ones who are so afraid to express their emotional pain that they end up miserable and alone, to those who vent so indiscriminantly that they alienate others and also end up miserable and alone. The five steps--and the humorous stories that illustrate them--have helped both types of people, but I am particularly impressed by how much this book has helped the over-complainers learn to tone down their complaining, which has improved their relationships with others. I recommend this book both to those who suffer alone in their silence and to those who have relational problems because of their over-complaining.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. Chandler on October 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This wonderful little book is great for two groups of people: those who don't express or vent their pain when they need to, and those who complain too much and drive me nuts. Dr. Held gives the first group (the noncomplainers) permission and support to complain or vent to release their pain. She also gives rules for how to complain without driving people away. These rules are particularly helpful to the second group (the people who complain too much). The humor helps both groups relax and take in the unusual but serious and very helpful message. I'm giving this book to friends in both groups.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Real on January 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
What a relief to find a book that doesn't presume that I have to feel good all the time. It's easy to find self help books with the premise that you can feel good all the time. Those books have always frustrated me because I simply can't live up to those standards. Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching is a humorous but effective lesson about life... What a relief to learn that it is okay to acknowledge to yourself and others that life isn't always grand and to learn how to express this without driving others away.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Not being an optimist by nature or upbringing, my life is all about the positive power of negative thinking -- so I was happy when Dr. Held taught me to overcome being kvetching challenged. Right now, facing 2003, I rely on my 3 favorite books to keep me sane. The other 2 are 'The Positive Power of Negative Thinking' and 'How to be Happy, Dammit' -- all 3 help me to harness the positive energy of negativity. These 3 books make up my personal triple play for dealing constructively with anxiety, worry, irritation, and negative moods. So my new year's resolution is to make the most of who I am and how I deal with the world around me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a very funny book about a very serious subject. Psychologist Barbara Held has written a hilarious broadside against what she calls "the tyranny of the positive attitude"--the smug assumption that the best way to deal with our pain and suffering is to hide it by pasting on a smile and pretending that everything is great. Always maintaining a light touch, Ms. Held reveals that "positive thinking" can be a callous mask for selfishness--that when we say "cheer up" or "look on the bright side" we too often mean "I can't be bothered with your problems." Wryly championing our inalienable right to complain--to "kvetch"--she shows us the psychological wisdom of seeking sympathy and sympathizing with the pain of others.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By George Schmiedeshoff on January 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Barbara Held pops the "have a nice day" balloon with funny, clear prose that is easy to read and which would be considered common sense in any society except the one most of us live in. As a white Anglo-Saxon protestant this book really helped me break out of my "kvetching-challenged" life style. It's a great read. Five Stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Betty Pilch on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
An intelligent "help book" has finally arrived. It's full of truth and those truths are inter-mingled with Dr. Held's own style of humor. This is an easy read - marked with witticisms and a little bit of irony. The book, in five easy chapters, helped me to leave my 'good girl' past behind me and kvetch creatively when I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
For me, "kvetching" was a novel concept -- not just a new word, but a new idea. A Great Idea. If you were raised to be nice Nice NICE, as I was, you probably need some negative energy liberation. I guess I'm what psychologists call a 'defensive pessimist' -- but reading this book about Kvetching might inspire me to get in touch with 'the positive power of negative thinking.' No more smiley faces for me, I'm ready to (try to) get real. Excellent book for getting in touch with authentic human emotion. I recommend it.
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