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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Thoughts Here, October 5, 2010
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This review is from: Your Erroneous Zones (Paperback)
First things first: there are some very fundamental principles to learn in this book if you were not aware of them already. These include trusting in yourself and not having to rely on others, present-moment thinking, the rejection of negative emotions, separating your self image from other-oriented criticism and failure, etc. Indeed, there is a lot of good content here. Dyer can get repetitive, sometimes filling out a chapter with the same information said over and over in different ways, but I guess that's okay.

Okay, now that that's out of the way...

I was very confused with the numerous sexual references in the book. Sometimes it seems mildly inappropriate, and other times it just outright catches you off guard. This occurs mostly toward the beginning of the book. One incident in particular occurs in chapter 2. In regards to leaning how to love yourself, Dyer suggests standing nude in front of a mirror, exploring yourself sensually, with the aim of achieving "goose-bumps of shivery pleasure." I haven't read other self-help books. Maybe this is a common theme? I sure didn't see it coming.

Another complaint I had was in Dyer's perception of ideal relationships with others. He argues that holding any person above yourself is a grave mistake. No one is better than you. It's a bad idea to have idols or heroes, says Dyer. He brings forth obscurities as refusing to call your dentist "doctor," for that gives him prestige for his title that he doesn't deserve. Really? Wow. There are numerous nit-picks like this throughout the book--strange rituals between the lines.

Furthermore, one should never, according to Dyer, aid someone who needs you. He says it is better to refuse to help them, with the goal of teaching them to help themselves. The last time I checked, the phrase "need" means their request was not an optional favor--they are in trouble. I guess that's not how Dyer sees it.

The overlying theme that I could not overlook is essentially this: your personal happiness and fulfillment are paramount to everything else. Never feel bad. Even at a funeral, show no negative emotion. Compassion is a waste of present moment time where you could be feeling happy. If you don't like something, don't do it. It does not matter what anyone else thinks, or who it affects for the worse.

It's just an inflated, egotistical world view, and Dyer even acknowledges to disregard people who call you selfish for it.

So yes.. I'm not sure how to feel about this one. There is definitely some content to make it worth the read, but at the same time the peculiarities mentioned leave you feeling uncomfortable at times and offended at others.
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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 23, 2010 5:37:43 PM PST
He doesn't say holding someone above yourself is a grave mistake. I could get this a little off since i've only read the book once but I believe he says that worshiping a hero is bad since you aren't actually becoming as good as you could but instead your investing responibility in the hero for being what you could be and also excusing some of the negative parts of your behavior since your just not as high up as the "hero". I think he's saying to see the hero as a person just like you to better show your own capability to grow. Also He never says to never aid someone who needs you. He merely says that when raising a child it becomes hurtful to help the kid too often especially in stages of development when the kid should be learning to be independent and on its own, if you do things for the kid when he/she can do things for his/her self. If you're referring to other parts of the book where things you could do are indirectly things that would help ppl in need. He's referring to ways that are not productive for you or the other person and "immobilize" you from being helpful to yourself or the other person. I can see how someone might misconstrue a lot of his points and take them the wrong direction which is what I assume happend with your case. I understand fully. His wording is very case specific and doesn't mean all together to think or behave a certain way. He just brings up situations where thinking or behaving a certain way is maladaptive not that you shouldn't think or behave that way in other situations. I guess an example would be. He brings up that apologizing can be a form of approval seeking. When one first reads this one might think ok so I shouldn't apologize to ppl. no no no, that's not the case. He's saying that when you are apologizing not for the sake of being sympathetic but for the sake of wanting approval from the person so they think that you didnt really mean to say what you said, which in all actuality you did but you just didn't want the persons dissaproval. I wish I could write more to help you and/or others to better understand how it's possible to take the wrong way what he writes about. I'm keeping an open mind about it. maybe I missed a few hidden undertones that I'm not sure of. I'll re read and keep in mind what you've said. But I definately can see how certain things can be taken the wrong way if you don't fully understand the specificity to his words and what exactly he means. I do give him support though because the types of things he's addressing take a certain type of skill and precision to address and I think he's done a good job of proposing ideas that are very helpful to these numerous "erroneous zones" which can trap us from being the best human we can not just for us but for all our loved ones too. With that said I hope this helps and I still think it's a book worth while to read, it just takes a careful understanding of what he's saying because of the uncharted territory of the mind you'll be learning to heal.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2010 12:45:57 AM PST
Evan says:
Thanks for the comment. As for holding people above yourself, I believe there was a quote where he said exactly this, in such a way that would not be misconstrued. I could be wrong. I remember thinking about it when I read the review. I still have the book. I may look it up sometime.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2010 6:00:55 PM PST
Evan says:
I'm back. I'm reviewing the book for a final paper including it so I found a few of the quotes which troubled me on the first time through:

"Hero worship is a form of self-repudiation. It makes others more important than you, ... it becomes an erroneous zone when you model your own behavior on their standards." (p. 174 - 75)

"All the great heroes in your life have taught you nothing. And they are no better than you, in any way." (p 175)

It just seems to me like Dyer resorts to hyperbole to express a personal paranoia of his. More quotes to come as I find them.

Posted on Dec 15, 2010 6:14:18 PM PST
Evan says:
"You'll hear the old argument of, 'What if everybody decided to obey only the rules they wanted to?' [which is what Dyer is advocating in Chapter 7] The simple answer to this, of course, is that everybody won't!" (p. 185)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2010 6:20:36 PM PST
Evan says:
I found a great example of Dyer's abuse of hyperbole:

"A colleague of mine was in the Navy, stationed aboard an aircraft carrier home ported in San Fransisco at the time President Eisenhower was visiting northern California on a political swing. They were commanded to spell out in human formation the words, HI IKE, so that the President could look down from his helicopter and view the message. My friend decided the idea was insane, and decided not to do it, because it conflicted with everything he stood for." (p. 186)

The idea was "insane?" Saying "hi" to the President "conflicted with everything he stood for?" Really?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2010 2:09:11 AM PST
Evan says:
Okay, one more, a particularly revealing one. As for the self-actualized, "free from erroneous zones" person, Dyer says of them this:

"If someone needs them, they reject such a need as harmful to the other person as well as to themselves." (279 - 80)

Posted on Oct 1, 2011 8:11:15 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 1, 2011 8:20:07 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2013 9:38:12 AM PDT
hillary says:
Hi, I just want to join this discussion. I was wondering that perhaps the audience of this book are people who are somewhat depressed and have low-self esteem, like myself before reading the book. I think his message here meant that heroes are still humans, although they might greatly excel in some areas than you, there is no need to think that they are a better person than you as a whole. It can be an "erroneous zone" when people idolize individuals, for example star worshippers, star stalkers, star wannabees, etc. I agree that I think Dr. Dyer's language is a bit extreme sometimes, but they serve to convince those with low self-esteem to be strong and to believe. For example, "All the great heroes in your life have taught you nothing. And they are no better than you, in any way." "in any way" is extreme because heroes are usually known for their superior ability in something.I think the author is just trying to say that the each individual matters and instead of focusing and emulating someone elses abilities, take the time to develop your own. This statement can also help with those who get jealous of people who have "better" lives than them exonerate that jealousy because their is no need to be jealous. I hope to hear back from you. thank you

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2013 9:44:23 AM PDT
hillary says:
this also depends on how you interpret the meaning of the text. similar to any other piece of literature or idea, there will always be many interpretations, views, and sides. I took it as, if someone who are capable of helping themselves in a situation should not be helped, but I will definetly offer help to someone who needs them. I agree that Dr. Dyer should have been a little more specific, but I think that might be perhaps he thinks on his own train of thoughts. I think that one thing that can be agreed upon is that no matter how brilliant or how dumb an idea or a belief is, there will always be a supporting and a opposing side.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2013 9:48:56 AM PDT
hillary says:
To be honest, I did not understand this part. All I can say is the book taught me to think for myself and I choose to disregard this proposal of going completely against some rules of society. For example, will it be insane to say "hi" to your teacher, or your mother? will it be "insane"? This part should have been better explained despite whether people will agree or disagree with the premises.
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