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The Self ImprovedReview - The Self Improved
The Scientific Way to Get What You Want
by Donald Spector
Hatherleigh Press, 2009
Review by Chris Vaughan
Jul 20th 2010 (Volume 14, Issue 29)

Visitors to the Metapsychology website will be disappointed, if like me, they are attracted by this book's promising title. I mean we could all do with an improved self and be handed a scientific method for achieving that goal. But those of us longing to have our shortcomings lengthened and our ability to attract popularity, wealth and long term happiness boosted will, alas, have to look elsewhere.

It's not that the areas under discussion are not important for personal success -- creating a good first impression, improving your image, and your meeting, speaking, writing, thinking and interpersonal skills  -- it's just that the advice given is so unexceptional. The sort of advice a parent would give a clueless teenager. It is more Samuel Smiles than William James, straight out of the school of the bleedin' obvious.

The blurb tells us the author is a great guy and a world-renowned inventor who for three decades has advised some of the world's most powerful leaders. He also has the ability to get some of those leaders to be quoted on his behalf and to get Albert Ellis' widow, Debbie, to write the book's Epilogue.

But however egregious he is, I'm afraid he fails to convey his essential difference between the covers of this book.

Here's a typical piece of advice. "Courtrooms are formal places. Going into a courtroom in jeans and a black leather jacket creates a bad impression on the judge and jury no matter what you are accused of doing... The same principle can be applied to a job interview, getting a new account, making sales calls, or even social activities." (p21)

Do we need to be told this? Are we now leading such atomized lives that the majority of us need to be told explicitly about  basic common sense norms?

How about: "Eating well is about energy and proper health. People who are anorexic may not have a weight problem, but they sure have a health problem. Anorexics are not healthy.(His italics) Being stick thin is not a good goal." (p210)?

Suffice it to say, Donald Spector has not moved the self improvement genre on with this book.  Dale Carnegie and Anthony Robbins still rule the roost.

 

© 2010 Chris Vaughan

 

 

 

 

Chris Vaughan writes about himself: I live in Birmingham, England. I am now retired after a career in the pharma industry and am very much involved in community activities. I am a board member of the Birmingham Environmental Partnership and chair a local patient network. I have written a book on the British Health Service and I currently write for a health website. I am very interested in the mind-body


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