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Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life Paperback – April 21, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The quality alone of this self-help book justifies Branden's (The Psychology of Self-Esteem, LJ 2/1/70; The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, LJ 2/1/94) status as an expert on the subject of self-esteem. Here he further examines the role that self-esteem plays in how one accepts responsibility for one's actions. Clearly and concisely, Branden gives good examples of specific areas of concern, such as parental problems or problems with work. Sound advice is dispensed in both psychological and sociological terms. Most readers looking for a good self-help volume will find this one useful. Recommended for public libraries and subject collections.
Priscilla Davis Dann, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D. has done more than anyone to awaken America's consciousness to the importance of self-esteem. He has written many books on self-esteem including the bestsellers The Psychology of Self-Esteem, Honoring The Self, and How To Raise Your Self-Esteem. Dr. Branden is in private practice in Los Angeles where he offers self-esteem seminars and works as a consultant to businesses and other organizations.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (April 21, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684832488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684832487
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The word "responsibility" carries an unfortunate moralistic implication, which Branden takes pains to dispel repeatedly throughout this book. Nevertheless, a light reading of this important work may create a false impression in the reader that Branden's term "Self-Responsibility" does in fact mean a moralistic responsibility. This is the major problem that haunts this work.
Even with this flaw, this is one of Branden's more important books. It is brilliant and profound. It is a book to read and re-read at regular intervals throughout one's life. Two of the most important chapters are "Self Reliance and Social Metaphysics" and "Self-Responsibility and Romantic Love". Both of these themes appeared in his earlier "The Psychology of Self-Esteem". In particular the concept of social metaphysics is one of the most vital to understand in attempting to gain true psychological freedom and intellectual sovereignty. In my own case, had I just taken the time to understand how social metaphysics was impacting my decision to seek a divorce, I might been able to save my marriage.
The Introduction to this book is by itself almost worth the price of the entire book. It contains indispensible advice for finding true happiness in life. It also shows Brandon's essential modesty, as he credits his wife for these important insights.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this brilliant tome, Nathaniel Branden makes a definitive statement on leading the joyful life of personal responsibility and reality-orientation...and the alternative where individuals "unconsciously" ignore the fruits of their own actions. Branden uproots this rejection of responsibility from every corner where it hides, from your choice of values to your choice of companions. He applies this vision of responsibility to romantic love (where using others for your fulfillment often becomes sport), organizations (where avoiding blame becomes the goal), and government (where entitlements have replaced rights). Branden also includes do-it-yourself exercises (I can attest to their effectiveness) to help readers explore their own deep-rooted attitudes towards their own role in the world. An essential read that communicates the true demands of the free and sovereign life.
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Format: Paperback
Branden's writing is ever more concise, practical and powerful. He continues to challenge the prevailing norms and beliefs. He argues persuasively that the United States is promoting dependency and irresponsibility through its social policies.
He outlines the dangers and consequences of the "victim" mentality and explains why certain popular American beliefs are hurting the very people they are supposed to help.
Branden explains how responsible Americans are being forced by the US government to enable the irresponsibility of others.
Branden presents a well-organized model of personal responsibility which is unmatched by anything I have previously seen. In the book he offers practical exercises which can be used by all of us.
There is one point with which I strongly disagree with Branden, however. In his discussion of choices and consequences he uses one example of a parent giving a child a "choice" which really isn't much of a choice at all. The example is something like this "You can either sit quietly at the dinner table, or go to your room without eating. It is your choice. You decide."
To me this is an example of the use of power and punishment, not an example of natural consequences. Neither is it an example of emotional honesty or emotional intelligence by the parent. And finally, it is not even an example of using reason to explain cause and effect, something which Branden himself has strongly advocated throughout his writing career.
My only other somewhat negative comment is that Branden comes across at times as a tad judgmental, bitter and lecturing, which I attribute to the strength of his feelings and his conviction to his beliefs, and thus take with a grain of salt.
Overall, I strongly recommend this book to all teenagers, parents, teachers, professors, politicians, human service workers and policy makers.
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By A Customer on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is both a guidebook for truly "growing up" and a treatise on some of the problems that society is facing and why they are problems. This book isn't soft & cuddly--it gets right to it but in a way that makes the changes seem possible while at the same time giving you a clear view into why some behaviors are a problem and what types of behaviors are better choices, as well as a plan to improve and explanations of why people have certain types of problems. If you think you're ready to tackle some of the parts of your life that need work head-on, this book is awesome. If you are still not willing to own your issues and want to avoid directly confronting the consequences of your behaviors, you won't like this book.
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Format: Paperback
Nathaniel Branden was a lover of Ayn Rand for many years, and as much as their extramarital affair ended abruptly, he has largely retained a similar viewpoint of individual self interest. I've been looking around for some motivation to encourage me to take charge of my financial life, and this book does that and more. We alone are responsible for - and capable of - determining our lives. I like the empowerment aspect of Libertarianism and Ayn Rand 's Objectivism, but I've disliked the distortion of the elite's destiny to get incredibly wealthy. In Atlas Shrugged, Rand wrote of the inherent laziness and stupidity of the average person, justifying the elite's right to profit, that they alone make civilization and culture possible. This point of view is lunacy. Rand was a neurotic and a narcissist as described in Branden 's ex wife's biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand.

Branden however has a legitimate background in psychology and a certain faith in general humanity. This book cuts to the core of taking charge of your life. You don't have to become bitterly selfish of an extremist, hating moochers. If you want to grow out of the victim privileged attitude that our hyper consumerist society espouses, this is the book. You gain the sense of power to take charge of your life and make your wildest dreams possible.
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