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105 of 128 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How to be a sociopath?, February 22, 2012
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This review is from: The Flinch (Kindle Edition)
Or "The Flinch who stole Christmas" or "take as part of a balanced diet and program of exercise".

I found this both an energizing and totally disappointing book. It is based on the rather tired premise that we can all become "great people" if we just give up our quiet, comfortable lives and fight for what we want. But we held back by The Enemy, the primordial urge to flinch at the least sight of danger. (In several passages I could substitute Satan for Flinch and it would replicate sermons I had heard at Bible camp! Hence "the Flinch who stole Christmas")

Some of the advice is worth taking. If fear and anxiety is holding you back from your goals - there is some real gold in this book and some good things to try out. I did put the first two homework assignments into action. I was brought to an abrupt stop on about the fourth day when I slipped down the wet stairs running for the train and landed firmly on my butt. This is something I have never done before in my life. It occurred to me after this that the so called "Flinch" is neither enemy nor friend - it just is. It is that moment when you hold back and consider. That moment when you think before opening your mouth. The moment you pause before hurtling down slippery steps. To train yourself out of it is just as ridiculous as holding onto it regardless.

In my view, if you just follow this book, at best you will end up shadow boxing imaginary enemies and having little regard and respect for the people around you. At worst, you will rush head long into dangerous and potentially suicidal situations with little preparation or planning.

And by the way, the last three days have reminded me that pain sucks. Falling on your butt is something well worth avoiding and adds nothing of value to your existence.

So in this way the book reminds me of those no-fat diets that were popular in the 1990s. The only problem was that having given up all fat, people loaded up on carbs and sugar and low and behold put on more weight and increased their risk of diabetes. Fat was not the evil. It was the lack of a balanced diet.

The book lacks any discussion of other key aspects of success such as establishing purpose, setting goals, having compassion, acting with humility and building perseverance.

At the end of the book we are exhorted to take on the fight to "defeat the flinch" by handing it on to others. Only problem is it only available in Kindle format, one of the least sharable formats available.

The book itself ends rather abruptly at just on 20%. The rest is advertising for something called the Domino Project. This is named after the Domino Effect. I am not sure if anyone has told the group that this was a political theory about the spread of communist totalitarianism in South East Asia following the Second World War. Apparently if we all read these books and follow their ways it will change the world. Their plan is to use Amazon as the new channel for engaging with directly with readers. Have they not heard of blogs? And they will bring us books written by "stellar authors". Well, I am not quite sure what their criteria are selecting authors. But going on the Flinch, the author is stellar neither by writing nor expertise.

If you are looking for some good personal change books, I would recommend to stick with some of the more definitive titles in the field. My personal recommendations are:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 14, 2012 2:25:46 PM PDT
Some people need the wake-up call that this book provides. It's not about "shadow boxing imaginary enemies"; it's about ignoring imaginary fears, fears that people will not like you. (When reading the book, I was reminded primarily of social risks, not physical risks like falling on your butt. I believe the homework assignments are meant to train you to deal with a flood of anxiety and stress in a benign environment, like the shower, before dealing with it in the real world.)

There is a line between respect for other people and fear of their opinions. Successful people cannot afford to be concerned with other people's opinions, because there will always be critics. I think far more people struggle with the inability to put themselves in vulnerable and risky positions than do with bulldozing others and stepping on toes.

Personally, The Flinch helped me, and that alone outweighs the downsides you mentioned.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2012 11:24:45 PM PDT
D Earle says:
I agree the book has value and there is probably some irony in that I would not have written such a forthright review before I read it.
My review is really a caution that the author has only got it half right in my view. As I get more distance from my first reading, I can appreciate the wisdom and be less bothered by his rather overdone insistence.
I am actually glad that the frame of mind that reading the book took me into (which I take full responsibility for by the way) put me into physical rather than social risks. Physical injuries can heal. Not all social injuries heal. So my lesson from this is, yes it is good to push the boundaries, but do so in a considered way or you can miss the step.
I agree that there is a line between respecting other people and fearing their opinions and this book had really helped me review that line. But I was also very disappointed that it did not point out that there is still a need to respect other people's opinions and we ignore them at our peril. The people I see who are truly successful in the long term are the ones who listen to others opinions and engage with their critics, rather than pushing forward and ignoring them. Ones who do the latter often get short-term glory but can quickly fall down due to the weakness of their position and lack of wider support.
Thanks for your comments. I really did want to open up discussion on the book. One of the reasons for putting a one-star was to make sure my review was not lost in the middle. I am glad to have achieved that.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2012 9:29:36 AM PDT
Yes, often I wish that people would challenge my strongly-stated opinions. Discussion is always good.

So it seems that book's existence has not been a waste of time, if it taught you that it is good to take *wise* risks.

And I agree, a disclaimer in The Flinch-as you said, "respect other people's opinions or ignore them at our peril"-would have been appropriate.

Posted on Oct 21, 2013 10:55:50 AM PDT
catasha says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2014 2:41:13 PM PDT
To put a ONE STAR just to further the reviewer D. Earle's objective of not wanting his review to be "lost in the middle" and proud that he has achieved that is just plain wrong and even I as a first time poster, know that. D Earle, I'm sorry I've lost my respect for your opinions because you seem to color your world with a subtle ulterior motive. Live life a little more authentically because to cause something to happen by not being authentic is really to cause a lie, isn't it ? I haven't read the book and I came here to read the reviews because the book was recommended to me by someone I respect and the one star set the stage for negative thoughts already forming in my mind about the book and thankfully, I did not listen. When you buy a fish at the market, you know there are bones and if you are not careful, it might lodge in your throat, but do you go around asking fisherman and grocery stores to put a warning and would you stay away from fish because they have hidden bones that may cause problems for you. Sorry, I had to explain it like it is for a child.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2014 10:34:25 PM PDT
D Earle says:
Having grown up with a fishing line in my hand, I know fish have bones in them. What I don't like finding in my fish are hooks that haven't been removed.
Certainly go ahead and read the book.
I think once you have read it you will see that the author can cope with one-star review and there is a kind of honouring of his view point in providing that. And to restate, I am pleased to have raised debate, not whether my views are agreed with.
I still think he has left some fish-hooks in and people should consider those having read the book.
To put my counter-argument most succinctly: fight or flight is a constant choice we have in life and we should claim it as a conscious choice. There are times to stand and fight, there are times to walk away and most of the time we are best to navigate a middle path. Simply suppressing the flinch and flight instinct is just as bad as being ruled by it. On the otherhand become aware of how much it can control our lives is a worthy end.
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