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The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field Paperback – May 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Self-esteem expert Branden outlines the six characteristics that define his guide to better living, emphasizing personal responsibility and self-reliance.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Branden, who has already explored issues of self-esteem in The Psychology of Self-Esteem , LJ 2/1/70, and How To Raise Your Self-Esteem, LJ 3/15/87, argues that acquiring high self-esteem is essential to a person's survival in the world. His core assertions are believable enough , but he does not outline the six pillars until well into the book, which is too late to hook the reader. Ultimately, this is a repetitive, verbose, and somewhat rambling book. Better choices would be Richard Bednar's more scholarly Self-Esteem: Paradoxes and Innovations in Clinical Theory and Practice (American Psychological Assn., 1989) or, for public libraries, Matthew McKay, Self-Esteem (New Harbinger, 1992). Not recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/93.
- Jennifer Amador, Central State Hosp. Medical Lib., Petersburg, Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553374397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553374391
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D. is a lecturer, a practicing psychotherapist, and the author of twenty books on the psychology of self-esteem, romantic love, and the life and thought of Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand. His work has been translated into eighteen languages and has sold more than 4 million copies, and includes such titles as Taking Responsibility, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, and My Years with Ayn Rand. Branden's name has become synonymous with the psychology of self-esteem, a field he pioneered more than thirty years ago.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

347 of 356 people found the following review helpful By Carmen Matthews on January 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
An interesting passage from this book reads, "Some of the most important things I learned came from thinking about my own mistakes and from noticing what I did that lowered or raised my own self-esteem."
This interests me to reread this, because having first read this book in 1994, I wrote so many detailed introspective notes that I too can say, I've learned a lot from thinking and writing about the "learning lessons" of my life.
And this is a life-time process.
So, what are the 6 Pillars of Self-esteem?
First, I'd like to say that a healthy dose of self-esteem is thinking for yourself, no matter what is going on around you; while you maintain the belief that you deserve to be happy.
And happiness is when you can say that you have more joy than pain in your life.
The 6 pillars are:
1. Live Consciously
This requires us to be fully in the present moment. And for
most, this takes a bit of practice, because many of us are
conditioned to disown the here and now, to survive what we
have thought that we cannot handle.

2. Accept Yourself
Yes. You have flaws and attributes. You also have the
opportunity to enhance who you are, by accepting everything
about yourself. In fact, the only way to enhance who you
are is to accept yourself.
3. Take Responsibility for Your Experiences
Through my journey, I have learned to be in conversations
where I say to myself, "It comes down to 'this is where you
end, and I begin,'"
Saying such an affirmation has helped me to congruently say
what I will and will not experience. And this is quite
liberating not only to myself, but also to my interlocutor
(most of the time)
Read more ›
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114 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Crystal Eitle on December 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a good book for anyone who enjoys a systematic approach and enjoys doing exercises, because the book provides both. It's called "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem", but one thing that is important to grasp is that self-esteem is not built directly; rather it is an indirect result of what you do. Branden breaks this down into the six practices of Living Consciously, Self-Acceptance, Self-Responsibility, Self-Assertiveness, Living Purposefully and Personal Integrity. If you are aware (conscious) of the real conditions of your life, accepting of yourself, take responsibility for yourself, assert yourself, have a sense of purpose and are rigorously honest, then self-esteem is the natural result.
The heart of this book is the sentence-completion exercises which Branden has developed during his decades as a practicing psychologist. The exercises are designed to bring about change gently. Because the effect is gradual and cumulative, you will begin to notice subtle positive changes in your thinking and behavior without having to summon superhuman resources of willpower. The exercises take about fifteen minutes a day to do and there are about a year's worth in the book. The most profound beneficial effect this book has had on me so far is to make me more aware of my own values and desires and to keep me honest with myself; this awareness of who I really want to be has served as a reminder when it comes time to make choices, and has helped me to make the right choices for myself.
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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John M. Macgregor on April 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
At 54, I've come to the astonishing conclusion that your life can be changed via books.

Branden's 'Six Pillars' is the leading example of this presently, in my life.

After an insightful look at the roots of self-esteem, the sentence-completion exercises he leads you thru start stirring up powerful stuff.

(NB: I didn't believe mere sentence-completion exercises could achieve much before I began them.)

My first reaction was horror, at how low my self-esteem had sunk over the years. I'd bet that's a common response.

Then some new stuff started to be 'installed': in small practical ways I started feeling better about myself, and life.

Simultaneously I saw bad, old ideas dissolving - bad, old patterns breaking up.

Some are still there, of course: you have to keep at it.

Seven weeks now, and I'm still game for quite a bit more. Tho I don't want to become a lifelong therapy junkie - that's one of the more subtle form of addiction IMO - so will pull the plug at some stage.

I also exprienced (once) hitting bedrock: low self-esteem stuff that would not be moved, and felt it was as old as the cells in my body.

Just coming thru that now: it seems the exercises will shift that stuff too, or at least some of it.

All up, this is the most powerful therapeutic method I've employed. That might be because self-esteem is the most basic, or all-embracing, psychological phenomenon I've yet worked on.

I can't imagine anyone not benefiting from this book, tho the more assiduous you are in absorbing its message and doing the exercises - that is, the more desperate you are to change - the more you'll get out of it.

John Macgregor
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153 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Counts on September 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
After reading through many of the negative reviews on The Six Pillars, I found myself wondering how many of those naysayers have actually read (or understand) the book. Take, for instance, the review of the supposed "psychologist" who trashes the entire book based on Branden's comment that people in intimate relationships feel most at home, most comfortable with, people who share similar levels of self-esteem. (This comment on page 6, by the way, which is as far as "the psychologist" got, I fear). Our worthy psychologist says that this can't be true because, get this, in his experience as a psychologist, unpopular kids at school want to be like and hang around the popular kids. Therefore it can't be true that people in long term, close relationships feel comfortable with partners of similar self-esteem levels. Maybe its just me, but DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE?? What does unpopular kids wanting to be like or be around popular kids have to do with self-esteem and intimate human relationships? And since when do the popular kids at school automatically have high levels of self-esteem???? The logical errors in his review really startle me, coming from a supposed mental health professional. And then to use this convoluted argument to discredit the whole book? I just wanted to point this one example out because I think a majority of bad reviews for this wonderful book have to do with emotional, kneee jerk reactions, or simple misreading of the text. And of all the things Nathaniel Branden would cringe at, irrational, and emotional logic would be at the top of the list.
I posted an earlier review of the book, so I won't go into how special a thinker and writer I think Branden is. Or how carefully argued the Six Pillars is. I just wanted to point out that to Branden, logic and reason are sacred things, and to discredit him without using logic or reason is a bit of an insult to his work.
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