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The Elegant Self, A Radical Approach to Personal Evolution for Greater Influence in Life [Hardcover]

Robert Lundin McNamara
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 23.95
Price: 20.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Feb 2013
"Clear, lucid and powerful! The Elegant Self is a must read if you are interested in the further reaches of development."  - Ken Wilber author of The Integral Vision Grow Beyond Conventional Adulthood and Distinctively Give Your Gifts. The Elegant Self offers a unique perspective on the future of you. Explore adulthood through a new lens as you tour the many dangers facing our world today. Gain rare clarity into some of the highest stages of development. Learn how the trap of completeness may be holding your influence in the world back in virtually every facet of life. Enjoy this rare invitation into the courage for you to become more of an elegant self. - Save thousands of dollars by understanding the origin of inadequacy. - Go beyond the limitations of the autonomous self most adults are stuck in. - Free yourself from the trap of completeness. - Leverage paradox to fuel greater influence and impact in the world. - Discover never-before-seen ways to free yourself from limiting habits. Robert Lundin McNamara is a professor of developmental psychology in Boulder, Colorado and is a highly respected authority on the higher reaches of adulthood. Rob is author of Strength To Awaken, a speaker, performance coach, psychotherapist, and expert in helping high-achieving adults make greater impact in their lives.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Performance Integral (15 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988768909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988768901
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 636,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Substance over Style 2 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great book; it is full of important and badly needed insights into the human condition, the problems we face as individuals, and those that we face collectively on this planet. As a result of reading it, I have been able to re-focus constructively on issues which have been frustrating me for a little while now.
But this book is not an easy read. I have read Kegan's book `The Evolving Self' and Wilber's `Integral Spirituality' without too many problems, (that is, if I did not understand a sentence or paragraph the first time of reading, subsequent more careful meaning, or resorting to a dictionary, usually solved the problem.) However there are whole paragraphs in this book I have had to give up on. Partly this is because some of the concepts are very complex and McNamara is dealing, essentially, with the paradoxes which turn out to be doors into big new worlds; but also because the book has not been as thoroughly edited as it might have been, with errors of grammar and syntax abounding, new section headings appearing at the bottom of pages, and several plain typographical errors, (one sentence reads: "Subjectivity is always already are free from every facet of experience".)
However, in the case of this book, substance must be given its due weight over style. McNamara redeems some of the more incomprehensible paragraphs with good solid real life examples of what he is describing. If you find yourself getting stuck, just read on until you reach the next one of these.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stretching my mind into new places 25 April 2013
By niff - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is without doubt one of the most profound books I have ever read.
It is stretching me mentally and I can literally feel myself growing and developing through reading it.

It's not a particularly easy read for me however. The writing style is easy enough to follow yet the concepts are challenging and Rob does not baby us in any way. I find myself forced to think deeply and contemplate to actually reveal the meaning behind a lot of the concepts presented. Which I think is part of the profoundness of the book.

The only reason I gave it 4 and not 5 stars is some of the case study examples given in the book are given of his clients who are high performing individuals and I have difficulty relating to their lives and the challenges he is using them to illustrate. Again I have to stretch myself to translate meaning into my own life from these examples. I would have preferred if he used examples of people more in the middle rather than the ultra successful.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone Must Read! 11 Mar 2013
By johnaustin - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a must read for the 21st century individual. In the spirit of Kegan's The Evolving Self and In Over Our Heads, Rob takes it up a notch by fully articulating the complexity of consciousness that humans must develop to deal with this new era of immensely complex problems, which humanity has and is now entering. Not only does he articulate the Elegant or self-transforming individual, but he also provides the means to get there. Buy this book for yourself and as gifts for all your colleagues and friends. Everyone must read!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Am Important But Flawed Book 18 Aug 2013
By Muse - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Elegant Self is a useful and important book. It focuses on what has been termed "cognitive development" psychology or, alternatively, subject-object theory, as popularized by Robert Kegan in his book "In Over Our Heads". It does a decent job of summarizing this and other related approaches to psychology and, more importantly, provides some guidance to individuals interested in evolving to higher ways of experiencing the world. Basically, this involves the making into objects of understanding what had previously been an unacknowledged part of the subjective self. Much of the focus is on moving into the fourth of five stages, or from the autonomous self to the transforming self. Other reviews do an excellent job of describing this process.

The importance of the issue addressed in the book would indicate a five star rating, as seen by the other reviews posted here. I have downgraded the review to four stars based on two factors. First, the writing style is needlessly complex. While a difficult subject, the role of an author is to present it as simply as possible. The author here has not done this. In particular, the sentence structure is overly difficult, and as a result I found myself slowed down to simply identify the flow of a particular sentence. Second, the author seems to go out of his way to avoid any spiritual language in favor of psychological terminology. However, this transition form stage three to stage four is precisely where the spiritual begins to assert itself as more primary than mere ego functioning. In one particularly egregious example, the author refers to an exercise to "inhabit the technology of stillness" when he describes what is clearly mediation but without mentioning the word itself. Likewise, there are numerous examples where the concept of witnessing is explained in complex psychological terminology rather than using a word that might be too closely aligned with the spiritual.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought Kindle version, got halfway through and bought hardcover + extra copies 8 Jun 2013
By P. Walker - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Highly recommended for anyone interested in personal growth, enhancing their relationships and performance at work, or simply achieving a better understanding of the dynamics and processes as you aspire to become that "next version of you" that you may be interested in achieving.

A remarkable book. Deeply inspiring and insightful in ways that few books are. It is sometimes slow going, some passages requiring multiple re-readings for me to feel that I understand it well enough to move on. There are some overlaps here with ideas I recognize from Integral Theory around adult developmental growth, and some very nice considerations of and practical applications of Robert Kegan's work. Filled with great questions and exercises to stimulate your thinking around your own situation and to help personalize the lessons and insights to make them more durable and sustainable.

I expect to go back to this book many times, personalizing it with notes and dog-eared pages - the reason why the Kindle version alone was just not quite up to my needs.

I really can't recommend this book highly enough. Just buy it. Really. If you find it's not your cup of tea, gift it to someone in your life with interests that run this direction - they'll enthusiastically thank you for it.
(And no, I don't know this author. But I wish him all the success with this book that he deserves.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, mind opening 13 Jun 2013
By ramiro - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
this book is totally recommended. but I should advise, from my own experience, that one has to immerse into it fully, study, do the practices, in short, let the book impact your life. if you let it, it will happen. the first time I read it, I basically did some speed-reading, maybe with a slight attitude of "arrogance", and little to no change in my self happened. but a few weeks ago, I naturally decided to actually immerse and open my mind to the information, and I can say it's an amazing book, truly mind stretching/opening. it started a process within me that will continue for a long time. What I appreciate the most is the fact that it clarifies a lot of central points in one's life and takes out the label of "pathological" to some "problems" or "tensions" that are common to a certain mind development stage. 5 stars.
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