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This is the second book by Richard Bandler that I've read. The first one was, in a word, bizarre. This one has far less nonsensical babble about the underpinnings of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), Bandler's money machine for the psst several decades.

Bsndler has had considerable success in peddling NLP to the pop-therapy community where anyone can set up shop as a life coach or counselor. NLP certification offers these people a veneer of "qualification".

Bandler got his start in the Hippie era claiming to have reduced the purported success of "therapists" like Fritz Perls(who coined the phrase "Gestalt therapy")to a matter of language. There has been much controversy about NLP over the years and most professional therapists generally reject it.

Bandler is strong believer in hypnotic suggestion. So was Émile Coué, he of "day by day, I am getting stronger in every way" fame.

In this book, Bandler serves up self-suggestion scripts for a variety of common psychological maladies, such as fear of heights and fear of flying.

Bandler holds that the qualities of your thoughts - submodalities in his language - determine how your thoughts affect you.

His formulae, whether for tobacco cessation, having an excellent job interview, changing your feelings about something or whatever, follow essentially the same formula: 1) think of the positive, 2) observe the "submodalities" of your thoughts, 3) project as positive outcome, 4) repeat as needed.

This same advice can be found in thousands of self-help books and it is just as sound here as it anywhere else. Bandler wraps it in his invented "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" theory which may give people an extra something to believe in, which might help them.

Consider that Bandler is a very modest man: of the 15 books on his recommended reading list, 13 are by him.

Overall, many people will find Bandler's approach to overcoming common psychological problems helpful. By and large, if you are receptive to self-help, you may find Bandler's approach useful.

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on August 23, 2009
Here I am again mystified about how to use his techniques. I tried to do the exercises but I cannot figure out how. I cannot perform the past and future visualizations. When asked to either picture or locate in space brushing my teeth five years ago, I picture my bathroom sink and point to it (it's over there!). Same sink 5 yrs ago, one day ago, today, or tomorrow. So if I draw a line to connect these experiences, I get a dot. (BTW, my year is a circle.) When he tells me to locate the feeling of an experience in my body, I can't tell where it is, and it certainly doesn't "move." Make it spin? How??? There is not much help offered. I guess I could go along with this and imagine or pretend it's in one place but it feels like I am inventing false feelings. I find myself just as mystified as I did when I bought his books 30 years ago. I wish he would write a book along with someone who knows how to communicate instructions better (that's kind of ironic, isn't it?). I'm an instructional designer. Hey, Richard, I'll collaborate with you and improve your books if you'll teach me in return.
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on November 18, 2008
RB is listed as the father and cocreator of NLP. So, you may wonder how this latest ode to his love child compares with previous offerings.

It's so refreshing to read a book that explains how to do NLP in plain language.

As he says: "It's not a philosophy. It's not an ideology. It's not a religion. It's a toolbox."

As you get further into this book you will find exercises for many common life situations, including grief, taking tests, doing taxes, increasing desire, falling more in love, falling out of love, together with applications of well known processes such as the swish pattern, and the fast phobia model for traumatic memories.

Apparently RB used to teach flirting. I would like to have seen him elaborate more on the flirting process, darn it.

I particularly liked his take on the fast phobia model.

Years ago Virginia Satir asked him what he thought the dominant instinct in human beings is. He replied 'Survival.' Her answer has stuck with him ever since.

This book shows RB's insight, followed by process and exercise which you can easily do yourself. Its easy to imagine referring to this book first to read RB's take on the situation first before reading another book or manual.

I would certainly recommend this as a first read for someone new or unfamiliar with NLP. If you're more interested in the Milton and Meta Model of communication, and already have trance experience, I would recommend Guide to Trance Formations.

I hope you find this review helpful.
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on March 22, 2012
I'll begin by saying I have a vivid imagination, and I've meditated for many years. I have no trouble at all with visualization or with calling up (or creating) a visual or aural memory or a scent or tactile sensation. My problem with this book is that Richard Bandler is describing an inner landscape that is not congruent with mine in any way, but he evidently doesn't realize that not everyone perceives things in the same way. I have tried all of these exercises a number of times and find the problem is that they begin with an assumption about me which is incorrect, therefore I can't develop the states he talks about because the initial state isn't there to work with. As an example, he states that everyone's memories have a location with reference to one's body. This isn't true for me. Since I do have an imagination and the ability to visualize, I can decide arbitrarily to imagine a memory having a location with reference to my body. But, since this location is arbitrary and doesn't exist naturally, as Mr. Bandler claims it does, every time I do the exercise the location is different - because it is arbitrary and not natural to me. It's a little bit like someone saying "whenever you daydream, your daydreams take place on the top of a table. Now pick up the table and carry it down the hall." Some people who are easily instructed and easily convinced may really believe that all their daydreams took place atop a table and they'd never noticed before, but a person like myself will be immediately at odds with Mr. Bandler on account of being aware that he's made a false statement. I'm not overly or obsessively logical, and I can suspend logic entirely when it's useful to do so, but I do know that if you begin with a falsehood and build on it, all that follows thereafter will also be false. Likewise, I've never experienced an emotion as "spinning" internally. I can easily imagine what that would feel like, and so can call up that feeling within myself, but the results are not what Mr. Bandler suggests. In fact, I've tried this numerous times with no result at all. Although I've used these two things as examples, I have tried everything in this book numerous times. I can easily take a mental scene and move it off to a distance, see it in black and white, etc., but it hasn't changed my feelings in the least. There may be some deeper and more fundamental disagreement between Mr. Bandler's methods and my own philosophy of life that prevents me from benefiting from them as others have. I can only say that I began with an open mind and clear intent to add some NLP tools to my toolbox, but they have not worked for me.
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on September 24, 2008
I was on a conference call with Richard about a week or so ago and we talked about this book and the upcoming release of his hypnotic language patterns book (coming out November).

Here is what I can say from my heart about the man and about this book: Richard loves life, he loves people, and you get that in this book. He doesn't see any need for suffering over time. Whatever is not working for you in your life, Richard knows that you can get through it, over it or to it without suffering over time. He is not about doing it one way, the right way, his way - he is ALL ABOUT doing what works, doing it fast, and creating shifts in your life that impact you immediately and generatively. A generative shift is one that self adjusts over time, giving you access to more freedom, self expression and power in your life.

During the call, Richard shared that the idea for the book came to him while he was cooking. He thought about all the folks who will never walk into a certified NLP training, who may be intimated to delve into Hypnotic Learning Patterns or The Structure of Magic. All at once he knew that after nearly 40 years of change making with people from all walks of life and all parts of the world, that he was the one, (and I say the ONLY ONE) who could write a workable book where foundational NLP techniques and DHE tools are as easy to follow as a recipe for baking a chocolate cake.

He achieved his goal. As soon as I am out of the swimming pool, I am sending you a postcard, dear friend! (Swimming phobia from age 8, professional lessons, prior hypnosis, even a Tony Robbins phobia session did not work; what it took was this book!)

Buy the book. Put your skepticism in your closet long enough to read it. Choose one place in your life where you would like more freedom, power, joy and full self expression. Then take it on. Follow the directions and go for it. There's more than one technique to choose from, so no worry if the first one doesn't get it, go for the next one. My personal favorite, spinning the feelings in opposite directions. This is a big part of what smashed to pieces the real physical phobic responses my body experienced whenever I tried to swim.

If you want to have a life that works in a world that works, this is the book to buy now. No NLP experience required.
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on July 6, 2012
I was looking for a book that would shed some insight into how to use NLP when communicating with others. This is not that book. This book is one long therapy session that simply teaches readers that have unresolved problems in their lives how to cope with those issues using techniques that simply did NOT work for me because I don't have mental problems and that's not why I bought the book. This book requires a lot of patience and belief in the methods presented. I patiently read and tried to use the methods provided. I simply couldn't get into it. Some of the material was depressing to me as it's for people who have problems and want to try a new way of coping. In a nutshell: Take a bad image in your mind, shrink it, move it over to one side, turn it completely white by turning an imaginary knob, play circus music to make the image funny, play the image backwards, replace the bad image in your mind with an image of when you felt great and instead of shrinking it, make it larger, louder, brighter and more vivid so that you're replacing a bad image with a good image.... What about the reader who doesn't have major, depressing images holding them back and who simply wants to learn a new way of communicating via conversation through the use of NLP? This book wasn't what I expected. I bought the wrong book. Either way, It seems unrealistic, like fantasy and I wasted time and money on it which left me frustrated. "Where" do I feel frustrated? Where is the feeling moving to? Where does it start? Where does it end? This is an example from the book.... Well, my feeling of frustration with this book is an emotion in my head that sort of goes towards my eyes which leads to a feeling of being agitated. Maybe I should spin this feeling of frustration from left to right, up or down, or reverse it... (Another strategy from the book.) "Spinning and Reversing the spin of where the "feeling" starts and ends within your body? Really? I'm sure the author is a great guy and is very smart. Maybe this stuff works for some people and not others. But, coming from an objective, independent third party like myself I simply don't get it. It comes off as rather amusing now that I think about it. Don't buy it. Waste of time and money. Do your research on NLP before buying, as many people have discredited that this stuff even works. Asking patients who successfully got over their fears, phobias, etc what worked and trying to get a completely different person to learn from the success and have the same or better results..... rightttt.
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on July 28, 2016
I first came across NLP through the teachings of Tony Robbins. Tony uses it a lot. I then went through extensive life coaching training and also met lots of life coaches. I quickly realized just how many of them use NLP - all the time and with great success! Although in many cases they don't necessarily say explicitly that they use NLP, but it is NLP.

When I first tried NLP, specifically the Swish technique, I didn't expect much. But lo and behold, it works like a charm! I was blown away. Specifically, I had some recurring negative memories. With the Swish technique, these negative memories vanished literally within 2-3 days. That's all it took. I do still sometimes think of those things - but when I do, they seem so far away, all blurred, "small" in size, "black and white," and without any emotional charge.

So then I decided to look more into NLP.

I LOVED this book! I got so much value out of it!

The way the book is structured:

1) First, Richard details the various NLP techniques.

2) Then, he goes on to show how to tackle various common challenges and desires, using these techniques. He groups these into three groups:
a) Getting over things (e.g., getting over fear and anxiety, getting over bad memories);
b) Getting through things (e.g., through habits and compulsions);
c) Getting to things (e.g., getting to make more money, meet people, etc).

As a side note, I'd like to comment on the "spinning" technique. Richard uses this pretty much in every section of the book. I see in the comments that some folks struggle with this idea and don't feel any "spinning." I was in the same boat. At first I did not feel any "spinning" at all and just couldn't get it. But then I got it! Richard explains (in the section about fear) that sometimes the tension gets so tight that it is not "spinning" - it's like if you screw something in very tightly. It just feels tight and stuck. In that case, he recommends trying to imagine "spinning" it one direction, e.g., clockwise, and then the other direction, - and see how it feels. Once I did that, I totally got it! Basically, if I try "spinning" the tightness of, say, where I feel the stress in one direction, it makes it feel worse, to the point of almost physical pain. But if I imagine "spinning" it in the opposite direction, then it feels so much lighter, freer, etc.

Very practical. Another thing that I want to point out is that various personal growth gurus all have their own voice, so does Richard. I really like and relate to his approach: it is easy going, with humor, lighten up type of approach. He also emphasizes that it should not take long to tackle problems, he believes in quick and efficient solutions. In other words, don't get married to your problems! Move on! :)

P.S.: In the recommended further reading list, Richard recommends books by Paul McKenna, another personal growth guru. I decided to check those out and was blown away. Paul McKenna's books are awesome, he is now one of my favorite authors! E.g., Change Your Life in 7 Days (I Can Make You) and his other books.
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on April 11, 2013
He is against negative feelings, therapy.... Instead of to accept them, as part of our live. I believe everything has a polarity, so also our feelings,... He is promoting suppressing of feelings,.... And I think this is wrong. What you resist that persist. The causes of diseases are at least 80% suppression of feelings, this is science proved. I think the EFT-Therapy (google it)is the fastest and best way to deal with our negative feelings.... where no therapy helped, even with Vietnam veterans, EFT finished the unsolved traumas for the rest of their lives, and this in less then 30 minutes, by just taping certain Acupuncture points....
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on February 26, 2012
Color me unimpressed by this latest offering of Richard Bandler's. I'm a big fan and believer in the power of NLP, but this book was far too repetitive to warrant anything more than 2-stars. Additionally, I found most of the chapters focused too much on fixing current problems, versus what frame of mind one must have to achieve new accomplishments. All in all, the book was quite lackluster.
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on April 27, 2011
This book can be your launching pad into personal change, attainment, and satisfaction.

Firstly, Richard Bandler was a founding member of the body of knowledge which is NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming. All other NLP books and resources are copies of his work (like Anthony Robbins, Paul McKenna, etc). They are excellent, because HE is an excellent teacher.

Secondly, what you get when you buy Get the Life You Want:

1. An overview of conscious experience. There are parts to your experiences you take for granted, others through which you store meaning in memories, and others that are variable to your point of view, depending on your state of mind. Learn which ones are which to you, and how you can reinterpret experiences.
2. A nonordinary view of how your brain works. Learn how to "Feel Wonderful" at any time. THIS WORKS! This chapter is worth the price of the book, and then some.
3. Practical ways to reprogram your brain to help you experience life the way you'd like to do so. Learn how to change the way you view parts of events as "certain", and learn how to get rid of beliefs that do not serve you.
4. A description of how humans code time in memory. Learn how to change your perception of events in both the past and potential future.
5. Multiple ways to change your basic mental programming, which instantly creates a better life experience for you. Learn how to get over these things: fears, phobias, bad memories/ relationships/ decisions/ suggestions, grief, past physical and mental injuries, exams/interviews, and obligations.
6. Multiple ways to increase personal enjoyment in life: fun, love, meeting others, important duties, exercise, organization, make more money, and facilitate big decisions.

As I continued reading the book, I realized that these techniques were at the core of self-help books, self-hypnotism, affirmations, the law of attraction, and just about every new psychology book out there (and I've read hundreds--my garage sales have seen 3 times the books I still have in my two large bookcases -- no exaggeration).

IMPORTANT: your imagination is key. If, before you read through these exercises, you think back to a time when there was no television and children listened to the radio, their programs were as much or more powerful than television. (Think H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds": literal panic in the streets! But "Get the Life You Want" goes the other way: Peace inside your own HEAD!) Use your imagination. Let Dr. Bandler's words be your guide into personal empowerment, change, and a better life experience!

Overall: You get an improved understanding of individual experience, conscious choice, personal dialog, and the freedom you have inside your own memories, mind, and future makeup of your life. Each exercise worked for me.

If you're an old hand to the self-help genre, or if you're just coming to your senses about what you want in life, GET THIS BOOK. This can be your starting point!
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