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The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life Hardcover – November 9, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this relatable, down-to-earth book, Williamson explicates A Course in Miracles, which she describes as "a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy." Both A Course in Miracles and Williamson's work borrow heavily from the Christian lexicon: she refers to God as "he" and speaks often of the Holy Spirit and Jesus. Her take-home message is that we must submit not to our egos, which tell us we are separate from God, but instead surrender to God, of whom we are all a part. While she does refer to all minds being joined and describes the world we know as a dream from which we must awaken, she differs from other New Thought and New Age thinkers by balancing an assumption that the negative things of this world (especially illness and adversity) are illusory with the fact that they feel real to us and that we must take practical steps to overcome them. She recommends embracing love and eschewing fear, arguing that we will encounter a loving world when we stop assuming it is hostile. She says that while we are not responsible for the bad things that happen to us, the universe is always primed to give us a new beginning, if only we can forgive, atone and trust that our loving attitudes and good works make a profound difference.
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“[Williamson’s] voice is strong medicine for our woundedness, warmth, insistence, good humor, and a little light to see by.” (Anne Lamott, author of Traveling Mercies)

“Williamson takes her readers seriously enough to ask serious attention of them and to offer them much in return.” (Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People)

“Never has a society needed this wisdom and guidance more than now.” (Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit)

“[From] one of our most profound teachers of transformational wisdom, this book is truly a gift to the world.” (Wayne W. Dyer, author of The Power of Intention)

“Williamson challenges us to live in the present moment … that it can be a portal to the miraculous.” (Spirituality and Health magazine)

“Marianne Williamson challenges us to dive beneath the slick surface of our everyday life to encounter–and embrace–what frightens us most.” (Body & Soul)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (November 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006058534X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060585341
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #733,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Best Sellers. A paragraph from A Return to Love, beginning "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure..." - is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.

Marianne's other books include The Age of Miracles, Everyday Grace, A Woman's Worth, Illuminata, Healing the Soul of America, A Course in Weight Loss, and The Gift of Change. Her newest book, THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION: On Work, Money and Miracles, was published in November 2012 by Harper Collins. For more information on Marianne, please visit

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#87 in Books > Self-Help
#87 in Books > Self-Help

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 205 people found the following review helpful By Janet Boyer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"There's no point in trying to go to Outer Mongolia to escape your issues; they will find you there because they live inside your head." --Marianne Williamson in The Gift Of Change - Spiritual Guidance For A Radically New Life

For over a decade, Marianne Williamson has been teaching principles from A Course In Miracles (ACIM)--a channeled psycho-spiritual self-study work which shows individuals how to create miracles by surrendering to love. Some scoff at the notion that "love is the answer", but Williamson answers them by saying: "It's amazing how much ridicule the topic of love can attract when it does anything other than support the status quo." Make no mistake: Williamson does not advocate what I call "sloppy agape". Rather, she boldly challenges humanity to start getting with the Divine program and begin to change from the inside out.

In her new book The Gift Of Change - Spiritual Guidance For A Radically New Life , Williamson sounds a clarion call that now is the time to begin to look within for change. Attempting to change the external world, she asserts, is akin to trying to change a movie by altering the screen when dealing with the projector is what's needed. Saying "hidden beliefs are dangerous beliefs", the reader is challenged to examine personal beliefs and the attitudes they engender. Tracing defensiveness--a form of "passive violence"--to the root of war, Williamson demonstrates how our resistance to love and vulnerability keep us enslaved to the ego. She writes:

"Whenever our outer world remains stuck, it is incumbent upon us to look, not outward, but inward.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Richard Thomas on January 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The world is as it is be because of the belief systems "hosted". Marianne maps out a new approach to formulating a new system of belief and by that I mean a change in the choice of perception, interpretation, understanding and response to our worldly experience.

The book contains great insight and is comprehensive and potent in a real world sort of way. It is not a "feel good" book which results in positive feelings evaporating when faced with real world experience. The "feel good" comes after the fact if you actually apply the principles in the real world. The book will transform you as you read it, there is no turning back once exposed and it will flip the light switch on in any mind that consumes it.

No doubt that the few that benefit from the current "system of things" based on fear and ignorance will be faced with major issues as the contents of this book reaches critical mass.

It is becoming more apparent Marianne is one of the world's great spiritual leaders not afraid to confront politics and infuse them with spirit and wisdom, and that is what this world needs spiritual leaders given a voice to rise above the ego chatter and as she mentions in the book the "audacity" to do so.

I had read about a 100 pages before I went into a business meeting where egos were just waiting to escalate into conflict, I had resolved myself to remaining quiet and peaceful and seeing all as being right from their point of view and as my self. Try as they might they could not create a conflict with me in the room, for from some where the right words came dissolving the ego's fabrications and reframing perceptions.

Oh and if you want to see a miracle in your neighborhood or at work buy copies for everyone on your street and leave them at their door steps.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Tom on November 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a miracle in and of itself. It really shifted my mind and, as other's here have said, returned my thinking back to Love. As I read this book, I realized how hungry I was for Marianne's special brand of wisom and inspiration in my life. I found myself immersing myself in it, the way I did with A Return to Love. and Illuminata.

The one star review here, made my heart sink. Casting guilt is not exactly what A Course in Miracles had in mind. There is the letter of the law. And the Spirit of the Law. A Gift of Change stands on its own merits. Marianne is a magnificent teacher of that material. And this book is a culmination of her many years of experience and genius. Like fine wine she just gets better and better with age. I really urge you to read this book. In this day and age, with all that's going on, we could all use a very healthy dose of The Gift of Change. For me, personally, reading it reallly uplifted me and gave me hope again.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By anonymous on March 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I feel that Marianne Williamson is one of the best inspirational authors and thinkers of our time. Her eloquence in her writing and her insight is amazing and it has changed my life in more ways than one. I want to thank her for her work and for this book, which is just one more gift on top of everything she has done for me. This book can chage your life.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mary M. Bauer on October 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
It is clear--Marianne Williamson is most interested in creating miracles in this world and not just short-term gains.

As a new reader to this author, The Gift of Change for me started a bit slow, perhaps even somewhat negative and hardly what I considered uplifting: "I think, there is a collective depression among us, not so much dealt with as glossed over and suppressed. Each of us, as individual actors in a larger drama, carries an imprint of a larger despair."

But I encourage you to keep reading. After the doom and gloom the author makes this profound point: "Only when we have faced the limits of what we can do, does it begin to dawn on us the limitlessness of what God can do. It is in the depth of the darkness now confronting our world that will reveal to us the magic of who we truly are. We are spirit, and thus we are more than the world. When we remember that, the world itself will bow to our remembrance."

As a student and lecturer of the principles taught in the heavily Christian "spiritual psychotherapy" called A Course In Miracles (Foundation for Inner Peace), Ms. Williamson liberally borrows many of her reflections and passages found in AGOC from the Course and makes no bones about it. So steeped in these teachings, she comes off as genuine and her approach to living life the best way possible is not only believable, but really hits home.

Her honesty is refreshing. She looks back on her life, as we so often do, and wonders how she could have thought the things she did. Now in her 50's, she muses over a picture she saw of herself taken when she was in her 30's and wonders how she could have ever thought that that was inadequate?
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