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The Myth of Self-esteem: How Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Can Change Your Life Forever Paperback – October 3, 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] stimulating examination of how the teachings of the world’s greatest thinkers and philosophers dovetail (or don’t) with Ellis’s three core concepts: unconditional acceptance of the self, others and the world....The book, which includes multiple self-acceptance exercises, may be among his best: Every page offers a fresh insight into rational emotive behavior therapy, Ellis’s doctrine of modern stoicism."
—Psychology Today

"Albert Ellis is a contemporary prophet whose ideas will be remembered along with those of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu and Sartre. In this important book, he shows how to develop self-acceptance as well as to learn how to create healthy relationships. In a world of increasing involvement with machines (i.e., computers, televisions, video games) and decreasing involvement with people, nothing could be more needed."
—Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD, ABPP
Distinguished Professor, Governors State University

"This wonderful book, as it helps us move toward greater compassion for ourselves, for others, and for our troubled world, is one more significant contribution by Dr. Ellis—not only toward greater personal happiness, but also toward a better world."
—Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
coauthor (with the Dalai Lama) of The Art of Happiness, A Handbook for Living

About the Author

Albert Ellis, Ph.D., was the intellectual founder of all clinical approaches that now fall under the rubric of cognitive behavior therapy, and he is generally regarded as one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century. His Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is now practiced and taught throughout the world, along with the numerous similar therapies that it spawned. Dr. Ellis wrote 70 books and more than 600 journal articles and monographs. At the Albert Ellis Institute, which he founded and managed for more than half a century, he personally trained or supervised thousands of clinicians. As a practicing psychologist, he personally helped more than 10,000 people lead less painful and more productive lives. Dr. Ellis received dozens of awards from organizations like the American Psychological Association and American Counseling Association for his tireless work in advancing psychology, counseling, and social work. When he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1947, he had already established himself as the most renowned sex therapist in the first half of the 20th century, and he then went on to revolutionize the field of clinical psychology. Dr. Ellis died July 24, 2007, while this book was in the final stages of preparation.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (October 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591023548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591023548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Albert Ellis performs a valuable service with this book. The mantra of "Self Esteem" has indeed become pervasive in today's society, but not due to Dr. Ellis. We are told that some children don't do well in school because they suffer from "low self-esteem," that people commit crimes for the same reason, and that if we can only figure out how to universally raise people's self esteem, all societal problems will vanish.

Last night I was reading the old book "Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow" (not written by Dr. Ellis). Good title, but by the second chapter, the author starts implying that if we're not in work we love, it must be because we suffer from (you guessed it) "low self-esteem." The rest of the book is devoted to telling us how we can supposedly "raise" it.

Ellis' point is that "self-esteem" is NOT the root cause of all mental problems, contrary to what many self-help "experts" tell us. In fact, "self-esteem" can even be counter-productive. If you have high self-esteem, for example, you may think that you "deserve" to be happy, satisfied and fulfilled no matter what job you have or what circumstances you are in. Dr. Ellis' point is that we must get away from obsessing over "self-esteem," both as individuals and as a society, and start dealing with the real false beliefs that cause us distress.

This book is not so much about not trying to achieve significant things in life as it is about not blaming ourselves when we fail, as we occasionally will.
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Format: Paperback
I love the philosophy in this book. Well thought out and helpful. This helps you understand the philosophy behind REBT. It also points out how self acceptance is a much better thing to teach than self esteem.
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Format: Paperback
Just what is self-esteem? Many believe we must have it; but here's a famous psychologist to say it's all a myth, and he bases his contention on the thoughts of some of the finest religious thinkers and philosophers of our times. Instead Albert Ellis in THE MYTH OF SELF-ESTEEM (1591023548 ) explains his Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy as an alternative to achieve unconditional self-acceptance, using exercises which promote such acceptance over the more commonly held self-esteem.
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Format: Paperback
Many Americans are `self-esteem' nuts. They have been obsessed for long time to seek building and enhancing `self-esteem'.

But what is `self-esteem' anyway? Typically, in the mind of most people in America, it means `overall rating of your worth as a person'.

If you're an intelligent person capable of critical thinking and are willing to seriously think about the concept of this `self-esteem' stuff, you'll tend to feel that it's very confusing.

`I speak very well, so I feel good about my self'; then `I'm overweight, so I feel lousy about myself'; then `my school grade is A+, so I'm better than most people in the class'; then `I failed to enroll in Harvard, what a loser I am'; then `Cathy didn't invite me for her wedding, so I must be not good enough, I feel depressed', etc, etc. So, how much is your 'total worth'? No wonder so many people's `self-esteem' is in the hands of other people.

In order to rate your `total worth' (self-esteem) against other people, you have to enlist all of your strength and weakness and opinion of every people you know, and enlist all the attributes of other people you can imagine, and weigh them on a magic balance.

How this is possible? What's your overall worth to yourself?

THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE! It's absurd to rate your `total worth'. It's absurd that `your total worth' depends on comparison with and opinion of other people.

As a person, you value your own existence, care for your own needs and naturally want to enjoy your life. So, based on reality, naturally you want to develop some skills and abilities to earn a decent living and also to seek to realize you potential. That's all. You're not perfect (not even close to being perfect). No one really is. You don't have to rate your `total worth'.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ellis gives various insights into what self-esteem and self-acceptance involve. His writing style keeps my interest. A good aspect of this book is that Ellis discusses the strengths and weaknesses of other well-known books on his topics.
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By Lee on December 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. Someone commented that it seems like two books in one. I think that is true as not only are issues of self esteem addressed, but also a great deal of comparison of RET philosophy and strategy with various views of other philosophies and therapies makes for interesting larger picture ideas.
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By Ingles on February 5, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What should have been an article is stretched into a book. Ellis is right to argue that we should evaluate behaviors and not persons in their totality, but we don't need a whole book to have that explained to us. There are far better Albert Ellis books out there.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is ahead of its time in terms of what exactly constitutes self esteem and how to improve. . Discusses how behaviors should be our focus not our selves. We can change our behaviors, but not who we are. Highly recommended classic.
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