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The Breakout Principle: How to Activate the Natural Trigger That Maximizes Creativity, Athletic Performance, Productivity and Personal Well-Being Hardcover – March 25, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (March 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743223977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743223973
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If self-help books usually fall short of delivering life changes, The Breakout Principle is a book of a different stripe: a science-based path to self-transformation. Herbert Benson, M.D. pulls together 30 years of mind-body research to describe the Breakout Principle: "a powerful mind-body impulse that severs prior mental patterns and--even in times of great stress or emotional trauma--opens an inner door to a host of personal benefits." Breakouts open the door to different kinds of peak experiences--self-awareness, creativity, productivity, athleticism, rejuvenation, and transcendence--and lead to lasting changes.

Benson explains the stages of stress/struggle, release (during which you give up unresolved destructive or negative thought patterns), breakout/peak experience, and "new-normal" state. He balances the science behind his concepts with practical, how-to tips. For example, many different activities and types of experiences can trigger your personal Breakout in the release stage, and Benson helps you figure out which ones might work for you: repetitive mental or physical activity, an absorbing personal encounter, expression of your personal belief system, "total abandon" to an intense experience, altruistic activity, or filling your mind with a dominant sensory impression. He and skillful co-author William Proctor illustrate points with case studies and personal reflections, making complex medical and philosophical issues more easily accessible.

Benson, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and founding president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute, is well known for his mind/body research, especially his work on the relaxation response. His other books include The Relaxation Response, Beyond the Relaxation Response: How to Harness the Healing Power of Your Personal Beliefs, and Timeless Healing. This powerful and empowering book is highly recommended as a guide for readers willing to do the work of making a life change. --Joan Price

From Publishers Weekly

In this well researched follow-up to the bestselling The Relaxation Response, which was first published in 1975, Benson and his co-author Proctor detail the intricate relationship between mind and body to uncover what they call a revolutionary "fundamental self-transforming principle"-the self-help solution to end all self-help solutions. The Breakout Principle holds that through a series of practiced mental and physical activities, an individual can achieve higher levels of self-awareness, creativity, productivity, athleticism, rejuvenation and personal enlightenment, as well as escape the stress and anxiety that can often block personal progress. Not the panacea it might seem, this method is a four-step method of tackling challenging life circumstances that begins with the struggle phase, followed by a "letting go," or mental release of the problem, and then by a Breakout experience (when you're completely released from familiar but unproductive thought patterns), and ending with a "new-normal" (i.e., enhanced) state of being. Benson and Proctor give plenty of "release triggers," including meditating, jogging, folding laundry and looking at nature, that may assist in bringing readers to a mentally freeing "peak experience." Anecdotes and case studies pad the text, and fairly extensive empirical evidence gives it weight. This may not be the cure-all the subtitle promises, but it's a good resource for anyone seeking a new path to self-understanding.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This book should be listed as an example of "literary fluff" in a dictionary.
Rude
The book is clearly written, making it easy for the reader to grasp the principle and learn to put together his or her own personal breakout strategy.
Fafa Demasio
Benson claims that a key physiological factor in this process is the release of nitrous oxide, which acts as a feel good agent within the body.
bronx book nerd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting book but you can tell from the big print and cheezy cover that it is not a keeper. Basically, the authors have put a name to something ("the breakout principle") which artists have been doing for centuries. For instance, Charles Dickens spent 5 hours a day at his writing desk, struggling with whatever novel he was writing. Then, after five hours, he would always stop for the day and spend the next three hours WALKING around London or engaging in some sort of physical exertions. And very often, during those off hours, the creative process would continue working and new ideas would come to him. Similarly, many artists find that after working hard for a long time, they can go to sleep and dream of a solution. Or it comes to them the next day when they aren't thinking about it or when they are taking a shower or jogging or cooking or knitting. Read any interviews with writers, musicians, novelists, you will find this process at work. STEP ONE: Work hard at the problem. STEP TWO: Step away from the problem and do something that switches the mind in another direction. STEP THREE: Allow the unconscious to percolate and present you with a new solution. That's basically what this book tells you in a nutshell. And it is VERY useful to have it presented in such a simple 1,2,3 step manner. So how come I'm not giving the book five stars? Because once you grasp its basic thesis (i.e. once you read it over in the bookstore as I did) you will NOT need to buy the book. And you can get this knowledge from many other sources as well.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stuart C. Woodward on April 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
NOW I UNDERSTAND why I have bursts of creativity or achieve a "runner's high" (even though I'm just walking briskly) under certain conditions. Benson explains that it's the science--and explains it in a way that I can replicate (he would say "trigger") the Breakout experience at will.
The various applications of the Breakout principle are organized by chapter, allowing the reader to think about each application type and to compare and contrast them. Currently our teenagers are applying the Breakout technique in their respective sports activities with some success. I am curious about applying it in an R&D setting where colleagues need to have a "collective" Breakout to develop new, innovative products.
This book gives you insights (1) to how the brain functions, (2) to better harness its power and (3) to outperform competitors.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Breakout Principle has completely revolutionized the way I work...I don't stay in the office for 12 hours a day before a big presentation...I prepare carefullly and thoroughly and THEN I GO HOME AND RELAX. Always, and I mean always, my presentations are clearer, have more energy, are more relaxed and creative. All that time away from your work, time I always thought of as play or even goofing off, happen to be incredibly valuable for generating new ideas and having the energy to get things done. A great book that's changed everything for me.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Rude on February 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a hard book to finish. The good doctor belabors the material with a particularly annoying baby talk style. The book wears thin quickly after the first couple chapters. Most of the "revolutionary" material consists of concepts already espoused in many prior books on creativity. This book should be listed as an example of "literary fluff" in a dictionary. Don't bother.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By hapathy on October 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Why did I buy this book? It was one of those darn impulse purchases. I mean it's not terrible or anything In some ways it explains the well-known phenomena of creativity after intellectual struggle and more interestingly it provides an explanation of why meditation etc. may work. But there's not much substance and it is certainly not worth full price. Also towards the end it pushes religion on the reader. If this type of thing bugs you, be forewarned.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Fafa Demasio on March 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
THE BREAKOUT PRINCIPLE teaches you a simple yet powerful concept (called the "Breakout Principle") to help improve your life on a long-term basis.
The book is clearly written, making it easy for the reader to grasp the principle and learn to put together his or her own personal breakout strategy. I like how anyone - individuals or groups - can apply this concept to his or her life. The authors give great examples of how people from all walks of life with different problems are able to trigger this breakout principle and transform their lives for the better - a family dealing with their fears after the September 11 attack, athletes trying to improve their game, a woman trying to find self-discipline to lose weight, a young man seeking deeper spiritual awareness, and more.
THE BREAKOUT PRINCIPLE is a very enlightening book.
Fafa Demasio
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By H. Friedman on April 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
THE BREAKOUT PRINCIPLE breaks through to a new understanding of
creativity and productivity. I never realized that there was a biological basis for the generation of ideas and insights -and that this biology could actually be switched on at will. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to increase the odds of achieving peak performance at work or play.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. H. on August 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has ever tried to gain mastery in any field would notice that after a while of dedicated practice, you tend to plateau. After even more practice you make a burst, but then you'll eventually hit another plataeu. Once you learn the easy principles in this book, you'll learn how to consistently improve your mastery and supercharge your life in any area you choose without having to level off. You feel like you're in the "zone" and a natural high as you break through any limitations you face in life. I've used the Breakout Principle to improve my health, creativity, college school work, solving problems, spirituallity, athletic performance, and my singing (I'm majoring in opera vocal performance and physics). This really is the ultimate self improvement book and I hope you all use it and enjoy the success it can bring in your life.
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