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142 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A starkly confronting read...
Having been a student of personal growth and transformational work for years, I can sometimes feel pretty smug about my own mental/spiritual/emotional state of affairs. After reading this book, I'm now quite aware that I'm still far from done with my personal journey of self-awareness and self-love. That despite what I'd like to believe, I still have many limiting and...
Published on March 14, 2008 by WhollyMan

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23 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An extreme view of a good theory
Debbie Ford discusses a theory that we are all made up of good and bad which makes sense. BUT she takes it so far to the extreme that it's frightening. Being mortified that her THREE year old son wanted four cookies...saying he's greedy, and then calling her THREE year old son a liar because he said he's had his washed when he hadn't is an extreme...she's talking about a...
Published on August 12, 2008 by Kerrie


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142 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A starkly confronting read..., March 14, 2008
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Having been a student of personal growth and transformational work for years, I can sometimes feel pretty smug about my own mental/spiritual/emotional state of affairs. After reading this book, I'm now quite aware that I'm still far from done with my personal journey of self-awareness and self-love. That despite what I'd like to believe, I still have many limiting and damaging tendencies lurking under the surface. Turns out that the together, nice-guy, intellectual persona I've been so proud of, is nothing more than mask that I still hide behind to conceal my shame. Ouch.

Debbie Ford uses the pages of her newest work to expertly cut through the illusions of good and bad, right and wrong, real and unreal. She quickly gets to the root of the most significant problem plaguing the world today - the effects of toxic shame, and the inability of people to accept and make peace with the totality of who they are - both the light and the dark. She points to the internal split that results, as the cause of an on-going conflict within each one of us. She explains the unconscious mechanisms that inexhorably draw us into a range of negative and destructive behaviors that will continue to plague us until the split is healed and the conflict resolved. Fortunately, Ms. Ford also offers useful concepts, tools and antidotes for making peace and returning to wholeness.

One can choose to read this book and be fascinated intellectually by the ideas presented without taking personal action. Or one can choose to use it as a catalyst to explore their inner world, make new choices and ultimately become more authentic and whole. I recommend the latter.
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105 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a chilling exploration of why we do what we do, March 13, 2008
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I bought this book because I respect Debbie Ford's work and I wanted to understand why I seem to sabotage my progress just as I am about to take a giant leap forward. Why do I push people away when I say I want more intimacy in my life? Why do I spend money on triffles when I am trying to save to buy a home?

I have long felt that there are "two" sides of me that are vying for my attention. This book explains with incredible detail just how true this is. Nearly every page sent chills up my spine.

"Why Good People Do Bad Things: How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy" helped me to understand the hidden causes of my own self-sabotage and more importantly, gave me the spiritual antidotes needed to steer my choices in a more positive direction.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FABULOUS BOOK!, March 15, 2008
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E. Henry Brown (New Hampshire, USA) - See all my reviews
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Another FABULOUS book by Debbie Ford.. and very possibly her best and most helpful to date. If you find the recent headlines about Eliot Spitzer or Larry Craig perplexing, or simply would like to understand why you do things, both subtle and obvious, to undermine yourself and sabotage your own success, you need to look no further than the 243 pages of this remarkable book. Everything you need to know is here, including how to once and for all release yourself from the mire of self destructive, self defeating behavior. This is a true Godsend!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Wisdom from a Gifted Light Carrier, March 16, 2008
As Debbie Ford's writing has, for me, moved from dark to lighter, I have become an ever bigger champion of her writing. Her latest book is her best yet. This book takes the reader on a walk through the dark side of our personalities so as to help us understand why good people do bad things. But, it is beautifully balanced with thoughtful advice on how to adjust our thinking so as to deal with the darkness that the author believes all of us have.

There is so much to like about this book. First, it is extremely well written. Every sentence, every story, and every chapter is tightly written with power-packed thoughts. In a world where so many content rich books are poorly written, the mere quality of the writing helps the powerful message of the author to resonate so strongly.

The second thing that was remarkable about the book was just how timely it is...appearing just as the tragedy of Elliot Spitzer unfolds. Who among us has not wondered "what was HE thinking?" The author will quickly have every reader understanding that each and every one of us has the seeds of self destruction within us. Now that is a scary thought that we all, in our own ways, have the potential to end up in a place like Spitzer!

The third thing I liked about the book was that as raw as it is in shining a light on the reader, it is equally soothing by providing a very specific program for avoiding a Spitzer like result.

So many other things that I liked about this book. But enough already. Reading a longer review by me is a waste compared to getting on with reading the book, itself.

This is a truly great book. Such a beautiful mixture of cautionary alarm and prescriptive love. Almost like taking a preview journey to hell and heaven with a guide who so graciously and authentically shares her experiences on this journey we call life.

Debbie Ford, I am in awe of what you have written and the potential impact that I hope this book has on making this world a much better place. Triple kudos to YOU! You are moving out from the shadows to become such a great light carrier.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Confronting, Healing, April 11, 2008
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*****
Based upon the title and the cover, "Why Good People Do Bad Things" looks like a typical self-help book. It is not. It is a tour de force by the life coach who popularized dealing with our dark side, an idea taken even further and deeper in this latest book.

The author not only explores answers to questions posed by recent headlines as to why famous and successful people do humiliating things. This is a personally confronting book, exploring why we each self-sabotage. To read this book and to apply it to your own life takes courage, but it is well worth it for the enormous growth that will result.

The purpose of the book is to assist in healing the split between our wounded self (often called the Ego) and our Higher Self. Debbie writes: "There is absolutely nothing we can do to eliminate either one of them, nor would we want to. When we understand them both and allow them to operate in the manner in which they were designed, we find ourselves eternally grateful that we possess both of these forces." This is so helpful for those of us who do not understand why we shouldn't want to get rid to the Ego! We need both, and this book is a fascinating journey that explores why.

The author sees unprocessed pain as a dangerous thing AND a spiritual gift. She sees self-sabotage as a catalyst that shows us to what we should pay attention. Shame has intrinsic value and is a gift. Denial is a blessing and a burden. She writes most powerfully about healing the split between our Higher Self and Ego and living in "peaceful co-existence". My favorite chapter was on "The Strength of Forgiveness" in which she adds powerful information and fresh insight to the huge body of work already written on this important topic.

This book was not an easy read, because I chose to keep confronting my own issues as I read each chapter. But it was invaluable to me in being able to deal with the things that hold me back in my life and that stop me from being whole. I plan to reread it every few years as it will continue to offer me fresh insight as I change and evolve.

Highest recommendation.
*****
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and insightful, April 13, 2008
First, I am a big fan of Debbie Ford and have written rave reviews of her other books. So I was eager to read this one. While I liked much of the content, and find the theme fascinating, I couldn't help feeling the author was squeezing 3 or 4 books' worth of ideas one medium sized book.

First, what's the topic? I would differentiate between "good people who do bad things" and "people who feel shame because they think they've done something bad." And...

P 49: "Our feelings of shame are the source of all forms of self-sabotage and self-punishment."

P 56 "Underneath every destructive act we will find a toxic buildup of one or more unexpressed emotions."

I'd like to see references to research or the author's experience for the discussion of toxic emotions. For example:

P 60: "Rather than providing a healthy outlet for our emotions, these [prescribed] medications merely allow it to build up unnoticed until some self-sabotaging incident triggers its release."

I believe this statement is true but I would want to see a source cited, or else a comment like "After coaching thousands of clients, I've come to believe..."

I've also been told that some depression is created by physiological conditions. And I've read research suggesting that emotional states can be learned or can reflect cultural interpretations.

The talented designer story (pp. 74-75) puzzled me. Either "Michelle B" was hopelessly naïve or she was in a stage of clinical detachment from reality. Indeed most of the examples reflect extreme behavior rather than more ordinary examples, such as saying just the wrong thing when you're about to advance in your career.

The discussion of masks could be a whole separate book. On p 100, Ford writes that her life was changed by recognizing her "basic nature as that of prey" instead of predator. How was her life changed? She briefly notes that she could recognize the real predators but I would like to hear more.

There's a lot of good material here. Recognizing that strong feelings about others will give clues to your own masks is an especially powerful insight that deserves more space. I'd like to know much more about recognizing a mask and poking behind the mask. Because Ford allocates just a few sentences for the challenges (i.e.,issues about changing) for each mask, this section comes across as simplistic and even shallow.

For example, the bully's challenge is "finding acceptance for their weaknes" and "embracing their vulnerability." Easier said than done! Quiet snake does not seem to be a mask: I would think the mask of "harmless person" hides the "quiet snake."

While I've known some depressives, I'm not sure they wear a mask. They don't seem to hide hurt, rejection and helplessness - frankly, they seem to flaunt those qualities. People have revealed their anti-depressant prescriptions five minutes after meeting me...and they're not clients, just acquaintances.

How do we distinguish a character trait or lifestyle preference from a mask? For example, in his book Solitude, British psychiatrist Anthony Storr argues that some people are more work-oriented and less relationship oriented. They're not neurotic, just different from the standard model. So is "loner" a mask, a choice or a personal quality that's neither good nor bad? The answer seems to be, "In depends..." but I'd like to see that spelled out.

Readers should chuckle on p. 136 when Ford lists potential addictions of loners. Fans of the Sex and the City series will immediately remember Charlotte's episode when she got hooked by one of the items mentioned here. I doubt there's a relevant 12-step program available.

Similarly the signposts are covered too lightly. Do we really recognize these signposts in ourselves, particularly intolerance and self-absorption? Should we really encourage people to let themselves be vulnerable before they've learned how to create and/or identify a safe space?

I know the author has far more knowledge than we see here and I hope she revisits these themes in a future book, perhaps giving a whole substantial chapter to each mask and writing another book on signposts. I particularly liked the paragraph on p. 242, where she writes from the heart: Her addiction opened her up to "greater realities." Fear of being called lazy motivates her drive for work. This could have been another theme: instead of burying our darkest selves, empower them and use them as leverage to reach the goals that matter.

Ultimately I would suggest an amendment to the book's premise, which seems to be along the lines of, "Self-destructive behavior originates with shame." I believe people can sabotage their own career success when they're just deeply dissatisfied with their own professional path. I have told clients that, in my experience, if you wait too long to leave a job, you may do something to get yourself fired. It would be a stretch to argue that this behavior comes from shame.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Self Reflection, March 16, 2008
I am always on the look out for self-help and spiritual books. I have been reading them for years, long before I was diagnosed with ADHD. When it comes to sabotaging my success, I am a pro. I have gotten better at being better and I continue to get better, amazingly so, and Debbie Ford's book helps me understand why. With that understanding I feel better about myself and what I can achieve. A very good book. Highly recommended.

Bryan

I am the author of:

One Boy's Struggle: A Memoir: Surviving Life with Undiagnosed ADD
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an eye opener as to why i self sabatage, July 15, 2009
i feel this book has given me the tools neccessary to go about changing how i feel about myself, and has empowered me to realise that i am not perfect and that is ok to have a shadow side, and to welcome this side of me, for many long years i ahve suffered with feelings of guilt and inadeqacy and i feel this book has enlightened me, and i no longer feel unique.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unmasking Our Shadow Personas, May 21, 2009
I wondered when I saw the title of Debbie Ford's new book, "Why Good People Do Bad Things," how deeply it delves into the depths of abnormal psychology. I was intrigued to discover that even though the 'bad things' described here consist mostly of non-violent crimes such as theft and deceit, Ford explains that most all bad behaviors are caused by people's secret feelings of shame.

A whistle-blower in the best sense of the term, Ford shines most brightly when sharing her burning passion to encourage people to drop their masks, admit their shadow qualities, and live true to their genuine spiritual selves. Ford knows the pain of having been unfairly labeled a tattle-tale, yet she also appreciates the heroic nature of her unique type of calling to bring light to previously dark subjects. Ford describes shadow personality types so readers may recognize many masks we wear to present ourselves in the world as something other than how we truly feel inside.

Ford describes the masks we use to hide our shame in order to help us realize the damage we do when we pretend to be something we are not. She provides numerous examples of how such self-delusion inevitably collapses inward upon itself in the form of crumbling relationships, business dealings, and health. Readers can recognize themselves and others as wearing masks such as: seductress, charmer, bully, martyr, too cool, good girl, savior, intellect, entitled supporter, and more. Ford asserts that once we realize our artificial fronts are obvious to others and usually do more harm than good, we will feel inspired to do the hard work necessary to become more open, honest, vulnerable, and more true to our actual spiritual nature.

Although much of the foundation for "Why Good People Do Bad Things" could be attributed to the work of pioneering psychologists such as Maslow and Erikson, summaries of previous psychological theories are not presented. Ford acknowledges that deep spiritual work can take time, and that people often mature at their own natural pace, so this book will hopefully motivate readers to see themselves and others more clearly, and begin to initiate positive changes. Since trust / distrust issues are not covered in this book, it is best suited to readers who already feel fairly safe in the world, and are ready to spiritually and emotionally evolve.

"Why Good People Do Bad Things" is highly recommended for people seeking inspiration to walk a spiritual path, let go of ego defenses, and directly face their deepest fears. Debbie Ford's description of masks gives us a swift motivational kick in the pants to see shadow qualities we otherwise might not recognize in ourselves and others, as she exhorts us to see the value in dropping our masks, so we might better embody our intrinsic spiritual qualities of generosity, openness and compassion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly eye-opening, December 21, 2008
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I have not yet read the entire book, but it is a book you need to reflect on and digest slowly. I have been so impressed with this book that I bought my sister a copy. My husband found be crying like a baby one day while reading it (I told my sister to be prepared to spill some tears and to read the book while alone). I have never read a book (and I'm the queen reader of self-help books) that delved into what your childhood tapes can do to your adult spirit. It sure opened my eyes to so many things I've done in my past and why. It came along at a time when I needed to examine my feelings of shame and mistakes I've made. I have underscored so many lines in this book that pertain to my circumstances. I have not journaled in years. This book has caused me to look at my life in new ways and to write down things about myself that I never realized nor was able to articulate before. I'm looking forward to doing her new online course on self-sabotage. Thank you Debbie.
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Why Good People Do Bad Things: How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy
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