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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a simply written book that contains very powerful and useful ideas about managing your inner critic. It focuses on mindfulness of your process and disidentifying with the voices in your head that undermine you on a daily basis.

Some of the keys to this approach are being curious rather than critical about what is happening in the moment. This leads to an awareness that allows one to penetrate old conditioned patterns and achieve a state a heightened state of awareness that leads to conscious choice rather than unconscious acting out. It also encourages a playful and experimental approach to playing with new options which is helpful for people who take themselves seriously and have difficulty trying on new behaviors.

This book is fun to read, but like some of the other reviews, I agree that the metaphor of the "gremlin" is pushed to its limits of usefulness. On the other hand, the book is quite entertaining. I must admit at times I found myself annoyed by the recurring gremlin analogies, but I know other people who have read this found it to be a strong point.

The exercises in this book are very good and like that the author included space in the book to record observations and written answers from exercises. In short, this is a great tool for self inquiry and a good companion to combine with counseling or life coaching.
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265 of 305 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I heard Rick Carson on NPR some time ago and was impressed with that he had to say. I had never heard of his book until then and I immediately wrote down the title so that I could buy it at a later date.
Now that I've read the book I'm trying to figure out why what I heard him say is so different than what I'm reading.
My problem with this book started right at the beginning with his "trademarked" Gremlin-Training Method (all caps, just as he does in the book). This seemed contrived to me, absolutely false. It was like reading a book talk about the author's patented passive solar windows as their own trademarked "Sun Energy Capture Device." In other words, like an infomercial. This intial reaction was confirmed as I continued to read. The tactics and topics Carson raises are extremely simplistic. Practical perhaps, but hardly worthy of a "trademark."
The other problem I had with the book is that Carson uses his metaphor to excess. This is a danger he should have been aware of. A Gremlin is a workable metaphor for most people as long as you make it abstract. That is, that voice in your head which puts you down. As soon as you start describing its supposed physical nature (the minister, the coach, the monster, etc.) the metaphor starts losing its audience. Not everyone wants or needs to describe that nasty voice in such terms.
I wished Carson had backed off the metaphor somewhat, backed off from from the hard sell on his "trademarked" method, and just gave an in-depth analysis of people's internal negative voices, where they come from, how to control them, etc. I don't want to read something that makes me feel like I'm buying a used car or the next TV control clapper.
This book, based on many previous glowing reviews, works for many people. No doubt that is true. Criticizing this book is rather subjective - if it works for you, it works, if it doesn't, it doesn't. You can't debate it. My recommendation is to really look at the text before buying and THEN decide if you want to purchase. You might find that you like it, or you might not.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Taming your Gremlin is a great book because it helps us to confront our own demons and overcome them. This book will help people who have self-destructive patterns of behavior. I suggest you read another book, Optimal Thinking: How to Be your Best Self which shows you how to make the best choices in every situation. There is also a chapter that shows you how to identify the core beliefs that stop you from being your best and realistic simple strategies to overcome them. I absolutely recommend each of these books.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
There are only a few books that have the capacity to change one's life forever. The Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck; Be Here Now, Ram Dass; Think On These Things, J. Krishnamurti; and now Taming Your Gremlin. The techniques are so simple and obvious that they often seem counterintuitive; we expect the solutions to require much more strife than they actually do. In a style akin to a contemporary Lao-Tse, Carson lucidly communicates his message with humor and accesibility. Did I mention that it works?
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
It's clear from reading the wide variety of reviews of this book that the concepts presented work really well for some people, and a whole lot less well for others.

To me, the very simplicity that some reviewers complained about is what makes this really work. In fact, I'd bet that there's a whole lot of complexity and many years of work underneath Carson's surprisingly straightforward presentation (and speaking of "surprisingly," he does say right in the title that it's a "surprisingly simple method"!).

If you are someone who needs to know the theory behind the practice, or if you want your self-help books to be serious rather than playful, then this is not the book for you. However, if you're ready to try out the exercises Carson suggests (which although simple are not at all effortless) and gain some new and very useful insights into ways in which you could be self-sabotaging your goals and denying yourself the right to your own life - well, as I think Carson would say, that would be your choice!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
The cover and illustrations grab your attention and add a light touch to an important topic -- dealing with the voice inside you that discourages you from taking positive steps in your life. I give this book to clients frequently and find that, whether they read every page or just pick up on a few themes, it helps them to understand how they are sabotaging themselves.

I've found that kids of all ages understand the gremlin concept and love the illustrations, too. This book is a great teaching tool.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
A little book on a big topic, Taming Your Gremlin, by Richard Carson, is a practical guide to overcoming barriers to your success. The gremlin is used as a metaphor for that voice of doubt we so often encounter when facing a new challenge. Carson takes readers through the steps they can follow to pursue their dreams in spite of their fears.
His formula of simply noticing, choosing and playing with options, and being in process, is reinforced throughout the book. Carson relates common scenarios encountered through his many years of counseling practice with his patients. The scenarios are oh so familiar!
This book is a quick read on a topic that can change how you relate to the fears associated with taking risks. Each chapter builds on the earlier ones. In the end, the reader knows more about themselves and has tools to tame their voice of doubt.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Rick Carson writes this simple to follow, wisdom filled and practical book as if he was talking to you one on one over a cup of coffee. One sentence he wrote about you using his process said, "Either way, I'm here for you for the long haul" just cracked me up!
Simply stated in Carson's word, "Your Gremlin is the narrator in your head that diverts you from finding simple pleasures inside." He also reminded me how my own Gremlin hypnotizes me to what is really true.
The process is presented at its simplest and includes excercises to deepen the readers experience.
All of this is very valuable AND I would recommend this book AND I think there is something missing because I hardly see my life as having ONE Gremlin... perhaps it is a HEAD Gremlin... to me the Narrator Gremlin wears different costumes.
Nonetheless, overall both the book and the process will have incredible value for you, especially if you take action and integrate what you learn AND take it even deeper as it works in your life.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Rick Carson doesn't beat around the bush in this book. He gets straight to the issue and then describes a process to help free us from the unhappiness our gremlins can create. An easy book to follow, I would recommend this to anyone. The method is simple and do-able. And Rick's humor makes it fun as well.

Definitely worth 5 stars!
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I've been working in the personal and professional development arena for the past 7 years and this book has been recommended to me many times. I finally decided to read it because limiting beliefs are a common theme with many of my clients.

I don't get it!

It's not just that the gremlin metaphor gets taken to the extreme, it's that the promised method for "getting out of my own way" was nowhere to be found! When I finished the book, it felt as if there were a few chapters missing.

Carson goes way too far in describing how to identify your gremlins and even visualize them but doesn't go into enough depth on moving past and eliminating them.

I'd recommend this book only to someone who isn't sure what is holding them back and hasn't yet identified their limiting beliefs.
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