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Confidence: The surprising truth about how much you need and how to get it [Paperback]

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Nov 2013

We're told that the key to success in life and business is confidence: believe in yourself, and the world is your oyster. But building confidence can be a challenging task. And, as leading psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic argues confidence can actually get in the way of achievement - self-esteem is nothing without the competence, the core skills, to back it up.

Confidence is feeling capable. Competence is being capable. None of the figures whose success is put down to supreme self-belief - Barack Obama, Madonna, Muhammad Ali - could have achieved their goals without the hard-won skills (and years of training) behind the confidence mask. Successful people are confident because of their success, and not the other way around.

Whether you want to improve your social skills, get a promotion or that all-important first job, this game-changing exploration of how to build success, in the mould of Robert Cialdini's Influence, Susan Cain's Quiet and Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, will change the way you think about achievement.

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Confidence: The surprising truth about how much you need and how to get it + Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (7 Nov 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1781251967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781251966
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Chamorro-Premuzic has rethought confidence - a fresh, more balanced, approach, presented in a well-researched, accessible, and, indeed, enjoyable format. I like this book: a lot (Robert Kelsey)

Confidence nails it - read this book and you will never look at the concept of self-esteem the same way again (Laura Vanderkam)

I can't remember the last time I finished reading a book and wanted to applaud. Confidence is a life-changing book - it will convince you (Heidi Grant Halvorson)

Maybe you have always intuited, as most sensitive people do, that all the talk about boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem is not the answer to success or happiness. This charming and thoroughly fact-based book will give you the evidence to back your wisdom, that being kind and competent works best. (Elaine Aron, author of 'The Highly Sensitive Person' and 'The Undervalued Self')

Persuasive ... fantastically sensible (Lucy Kellaway Financial Times)

Book Description

This startling re-evaluation of the role of self-belief in success explores why increasing your confidence is less important than building your competence.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
In this thoughtful and thought-provoking book, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic observes, "The main difference between people who lack confidence and those who don't is that the former are unable (or unwilling) to distort reality in their favor. That's right, the successful distortion of reality is the chief underlying reason so many people don't experience low confidence when they should. Whereas pessimism leads to realism, optimism promotes the fabrication of alternative realities -- lying, not to others, but to themselves."

In this context, I am reminded of Bud Tribble's comments about Steve Jobs, quoted by Walter Isaacson in his biography of the insanely great innovator: "Steve has a reality distortion field. In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he's not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules." According to Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, "His reality distortion is when he has an illogical vision of the future, such as telling me that I could design the BREAKOUT game in just a few days. You realize that it can't be true, but he somehow makes it true." Debi Coleman recalls, "He reminded me of Rasputin. He laser-beamed in on you and didn't blink. It didn't matter if he was serving purple Kool-Aid. You drank it." Isaacson adds, "At the root of the reality distortion field was Jobs's belief that the rules didn't apply to him." In this and in countless other respects, Steve Jobs was indeed one-of-a-kind.

For most of us, Chamorro-Premuzic asserts -- and I agree -- that we should not aspire to have high confidence, but to have high competence. If we focus on achievement, it will increase self-confidence naturally diminishing low self-esteem, insecurity, and self-doubt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful book 30 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book extremely useful in debunking many of the myths around 'confidence' being the sole (or primary) driver of success. Dr Chamorro-Premuzic speaks to anyone who has been told that their lack of confidence is a negative attribute; he sets out a valuable insight as to why we should strive primarily for competence (rather than confidence)and provides some practical tools as to how we might achieve this. I found his writing very accessbile and entertaining (for example, his use of references to current, well-known personalities) and I really felt as if he was on the reader's side throughout. In many ways, this is the book that I've been waiting to read for a long time, and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this area.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facts 5 Jan 2014
By George
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It explains the insecurities of successful people and how their competence grows form their lack of confidence. Great read for New Year.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars that's normal 12 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book helps boost confidence by showing that not everybody is a natural socialite. It encourages the reader to look forward
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Probably authorative but a little dull 8 Dec 2013
By Jessica
Unlike many authors who write on confidence, this author argues that confidence is not always a good thing. That is an original and interesting argument.

The book covers plenty of examples of people who have high confidence (and perhaps shouldn't have done) as well as how actually being competent is the best route to confidence.

Unfortunately, I simply found the book a bit stiff and hard work. I felt that I *should* read the book because I might learn something from it rather than *wanting* to read it because I enjoyed it. Other readers may disagree, but my opinion was that more editing or the help of a ghost writer may have helped the book to be a more entertaining read.
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