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You Can Choose To Be Happy: "Rise Above" Anxiety, Anger, and Depression First Edition 1998 (out of print) Edition

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0965337717
ISBN-10: 0965337715
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Editorial Reviews


"I'm a self-help book junkie, and this is the best self-help book I've read." <P>"This book is a terrific combination of scholarship, superb information, and spirituality." <P>"It's packed with insightful knowledge and expertise. All the personal experiences, and all the skills that I learned will stay with me forever." <P>"I am a professional and find most self-help books too simplistic. I was happy to find one that was so interesting and that I could get so much from. I highly recommend it to people who are more advanced in their own self-development." <P>"This book is much more clear, understandable, and 100 times more useful [than other self-help books]." --Readers

A test group of 35 adults read a prepublication version of the book. 100% said that they would recommend the book to a friend--40% said they already had. When asked, overall, how useful the book was, readers gave it a average rating of 8.23 on a 1-9 rating scale. --Test Goup

A thorough presentation, rich in detail, yet very reader friendly. I enthusiastically endorse Tom Stevens' book and recommend it as a powerful tool for human development. --Dr. Wayne Dyer, author of Your Erroneous Zones, Pulling Your Own Strings, Your Sacred Self

From the Publisher

How much can you control your happiness? Could you overcome almost any circumstances and still be happy? Could you be happy even if you were flat on your back in a full-body cast for over a year (unable to watch TV or read)? Read how Genevieve did. She discovered how to create active, positive mental states. Later, she said, "That was the happiest year of my life--I learned to love myself and get control of my life. Before that year, she feared doing what she really wanted. Afterward, she had much higher self-esteem and assertiveness, changed careers, and eventually obtained her doctorate in counseling. You will read many other true stories of exactly how people overcame all kinds of difficult situations to find happiness. They key is how they got mental control of the situation.

Each day, we are harassed by negative inputs that get their sting from our underlying fears. We hate reading about gang killings because we fear for our own safety. We hate reading about a recession out of fear for our own financial security. Underneath small daily anxieties lay major, unresolved sources of anxiety--such as fears of poverty, loneliness, failure, sickness, or death.

One attempt to feel better is refusing to read the newspaper and block out all thoughts about the possibilities of poverty or death. However, that solution is only temporary. Dr. Stevens shows that the secret to overcoming fears is to dig down into our basic beliefs about ourselves, our world, and the meaning of life. These basic beliefs generate our positive or negative thoughts.

Readers learn to see life from new points-of-view that are hardier than their old ones. More constructive beliefs will triumph if they are believable and if they produce the most fruit (of happiness).

Chapter 3 teaches about your natural Higher Self the part that wants to be happy and naturally loves you unconditionally. Your Higher Self can be your inner "hero" in time of need, and it can help you become a more integrated, peaceful person. You can resolve motivational conflicts such as "work" versus "play" or "pleasing others" versus "pleasing self." You can learn how to accept your past mistakes and parts of yourself that you disown. You can improve your self-esteem and self-confidence by following the clear step-by-step instructions in chapters 3 and 5.

The big secret of how You Can Choose To Be Happy helps you become happier (in even difficult circumstances ) comes from striking new insights about the causes of emotions. The "Harmonious Functioning Model" of emotions will teach you how to adjust your emotions almost like adjusting a thermostat to turn up the emotional heat or to turn it down. Learn how to "rise above" anxiety, anger, and depression. See Chapters 7 and 8.

What distinguishes You Can Choose To Be Happy from other self-help books on the market? As one reader said, "Overall, it's the best book I have seen about how to be happy." It integrates many ideas from religion, philosophy, and clinical and research psychology into simple models that readers can understand and use--such as the harmonious functioning model. It presents many real stories of how my clients and I have applied these ideas to create happier lives.

While almost anyone can understand and receive help from this book, it as an "advanced self-help book." First, like Wayne Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones or Maxwell Maltz's Psychocybernetics, it is general in scope it doesn't deal with one narrow type of problem as most books on the market do today. It deals with core ideas that transcend many problem areas. However, as Wayne Dyer's book went into greater depth and reflected the more advanced psychological thinking of its day, this book builds upon more recent advancements in psychology.

Another way it is advanced is that it goes beyond many self-help and recovery books toward helping the reader reach for higher levels of thinking and living. It is not just about overcoming problems. Many people began their quest for happiness focusing on their pain and problems, but are moving beyond problem-orientation to growth-orientation. You Can Choose To Be Happy helps make that transition. Readers can gain increased mental control over their emotions, self-esteem, and life from the comprehensive self-change program built into the structure of the book. This self-development program unfolds chapter-by-chapter.

(Go to the the BOOK EXCERPTS section to see an outline of the Choose To Be Happy Self- Development plan.)

The many personal and client examples presented in the book can help the reader learn how to make these ideas work in their lives. Readers say that knowing these ideas were written by someone who has found them successful in his own life and in the lives of his clients gives them more hope. One reader wrote, "It gave me practical advice on how to implement the ideas. The step-by-step instructions were a rare and invaluable component."


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wheeler-Sutton Publishing Company; First Edition 1998 (out of print) edition (February 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965337715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965337717
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,429,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Tom G. Stevens is a psychologist professor emeritus at California State University, Long Beach; where he worked in the Counseling and Psychological Services Center for 31 years. His four degrees include a PhD in Psychology from the University of Hawaii and a Master of Theology from the Claremont School of Theology. He was a United Methodist minister before getting his PhD. Integrating theology, philosophy, and science is a special interest of his.

His pursuit of understanding how people can learn to be happy and more productive began with a life-altering experience at age 16. Dr. Stevens' professional contributions include a number of publications and papers. He has completed research in the areas of self-management and emotional coping, interpersonal communication, career and life planning, assertion training, life skills training, habit change, and artificial intelligence. One of his research projects was a four-year study of factors contributing to the happiness and success of over 4,000 college students and persons in the community.

He also led a series of experimental studies developing self-instructional videotapes for interpersonal skills training. All ten experimental studies found positive effects. He and his wife Sherry developed a relationship questionnaire (the SRQ) which had high correlations with relationship happiness. The research supported many of their ideas about successful relationships. He has also developed "ANDY" a computer program utilizing artificial intelligence to assess and advise college students.

He has developed a number of college classes and community workshops to help people learn self-management, career, and interpersonal skills. Thousands of people have participated in these classes and workshops (which receive high ratings from participants).

Dr. Stevens has used the term Spiritual Cognitive Therapy to designate a psychotherapy approach that varies from traditional cognitive therapy by focusing more upon people's top values and beliefs, because they are the core of our personality and probably are the most important long-term factors affecting our emotions and life success.

After writing the first (1998) edition of his book, You Can Choose To Be Happy: Rise Above Anxiety, Anger, and Depression, Dr. Stevens wanted even more proof that this book was valid, so he developed the free, online questionnaire, SHAQ (The Success and Happiness Attributes Questionnaire), by going through each chapter, taking each main idea, and turning it into questions. He correlated these questions (and related scales) with over 3400 SHAQ users' emotional and life success measures. SHAQ scales correlated with Happiness, .87; with Low Depression, .73; with Low Anxiety, .68; with Low Anger-Aggression, .70; with Relationship Success, .70; and with good results for career success measures. Correlations this high are rarely found in this type of research. We're unaware of any self-help book that has ever tested its ideas so extensively. These dramatic results impelled Dr. Stevens to write the 2010 revision of his book and include his research and new sections.

Dr. Stevens lives what he writes about. His favorite hobby is tennis, which he plays often. He and his wife Sherry have the kind of intimate--yet independent--relationship he writes about. Their many happy activities together include dancing, biking, swimming, music, reading, walking, and travel. They spend part of each year in their Maui paradise. Between them they have three "children" who are now adults.

Dr. Stevens believes that his greatest success is living a happy life and helping others find happiness. He has spent his life learning the secrets of how to overcome negative emotions and how to be happy, and wants to share them with as many people as possible. He wants you to know how You Can Choose to Be Happy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Only read this book if you want to change your life. This book is for people who want to help themselves and believe that they have choices in their lives. As a therapist, I believe this concept is one of the most important awarenesses you can have. Once a person accepts this they know they can have more control over their reactions in every life situation. Dr. Stevens book is not to entertain but to give well thought out strategies for rising above difficult situations and moving towards "harmonious functioning", which he defines as having happiness and harmony in your life.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By janis winters on December 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book. Each sentence is relevant with a point and it's structured very well. Complex material is presented in a simple manner and there isn't any filler. It is clear the author is a great teacher. It reminds me of all the good professors I've had who were so comforting with sound advice from life experience and sincere wisdom. I found this book the day after I was given a diagnosis for bipolar disorder and it changed everything for me in a matter of hours. I am ordering a copy so I can highlight passages and come back to it again and again. I'm not a sucker for self-help books. I am skeptical of most books and bored very easily. My first impression of this book was that it may be too simple as I have been forced to read many dry, complicated texts as I earned a Masters of Science. However, I soon found that the material was very deep and presented so well that it was easy to understand and impossible to put down. Thanks to the author for helping me to rediscover the internal sources of contentment that I had lost in my post grad life and presenting the tools I needed to reject my life-long diagnosis and easily gain control of my moods and my own happiness.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 10, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read quite a few self help books but few are as packed with information as this one. Dr. Stevens is a man on a mission. His book, as well as his website make this help freely available to all. I initially got the free pdf of the first edition. I purchased the hardcopy just because my eyes start to have a tough time staring at my computer after a while, and I wanted access to the new information as well. There are chapters that cover most of life's obstacles to joy, and he even gives excellent advice on how to implement the information and how to deal with boredom as well as impatience when reading a work like this. If you seriously want to improve the quality of your life, this book is a true gem. Take advantage of his website as well! I don't think you will be disappointed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
said it all above plus it's free on author's website.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DJ Triple9 on May 18, 2011
Format: Perfect Paperback
It is rare for me to give a 5 star rating on a book, but it is completely worthy of it.

But then again any self help book is only as effective as the receptiveness of the reader. Don't get this book to find out why you should change; buy this book because you've decided to. Also be ready to face the hard truth: you and only you are responsible for the way you feel, and your aren't entitled or deserve to be happy by default, it is a goal that must be asserted for. If that statement makes you mad and you refuse to think otherwise, you reading this will be worthless and only server to make you more bitter. If not, this book will change you life. :)

I highly recommend going to his web site and taking the Shaq test BEFORE opening this book up. This will help guide you through the book and identify strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, do the exercises on paper, not in your head. This will give you the most effective results, and will allow you to more accurately reflect and track you progress.

I would also recommend the book "Why Forgive" by Johann Christoph Arnold (it is free to download from his web site or to buy on amazon as well) to read in tandem with this if you are blaming life's transgression on specific people, or even if you blame yourself for the transgressions of others. It's not a self help book, but more of an inspiration.

Yes the book is free off of his website, and downloadable as a PDF, but I'm ordering a copy for myself to carry to remind myself whenever I start to feel unhappy or anxious.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TripleX on September 6, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
I was most sceptical when I did order this book which I came to by accident. After reading I say: "This is the very best I've ever read about in this genre. If you won't get happy you will understand why at least. Although the book it's not a religion one all these stuff gets to be understood as Tom G. Stevens is a master himself. So I will only say: "Try out and rise above, guys!" This is a promise...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Megan N. Oswald on November 29, 2007
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You Can Choose to be Happy has practical, easy to follow suggestions to improve one's attitude, reduce anxiety and anger and achieve more happiness. It's packed with useful information and fun to read. I highly recommend it to people in the mental helping field as well as to the general population.
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By J. Zahn on February 24, 2012
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This succinct little gem is one of the best of its kind I have come across in a long time. If you have a Kindle, at less than five bucks, you can't afford to not have this with you all of the time. Practical and real with down to earth advice. Highly recommend.
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