As other reviews have pointed out, this book contains the same old ideas found in all selp-help books. But like most of the other reviewers, I think this book is one of the most brilliant I have ever seen.
For starters, unlike plenty of other self-help titles, the book is set out in a logical, no-nonsense manner which makes it easy to find the information you're looking for, as well as put your situation in a bigger context as part of an ongoing process or journey. The author doesn't just come at it from one angle, which keeps the text fresh and inspiring. She lays out several aspects of the struggle to live a happier life and takes many different angles to help you understand what's holding you back.
There are plenty of exercises given and many of them initially seem frivolous, childish, pointless... But having had the nerve to plunge into a couple, I have been amazed by what truths have come out. It has been (and will continue to be) deeply upsetting to find out these truths but in a good way because I feel like I'm finally starting to get moving in the right direction. Somehow you get the sense from this book that everything will be ok, regardless of what changes need to occur which will be painful and destructive (she doesn't sugarcoat!). The author has an upbeat, positive approach while still being realistic about how hard it is to do what's right, and that rewards come much, much later after a lot of pain. It's a welcome relief from those other books which don't help because they make it all sound so easy!
She covers the whole process of change from beginning to end (beginning to beginning?), which was all new to me and has greatly helped me understand what's happened in my life and how I arrived where I am today, as well as the likely challenges I will face in the future. She writes about how change doesn't just happen once, and gives more tips on how to deal with every stage of change which I'm sure will come in handy once I move further through the process.
A word of warning: I think this book won't appeal to everyone. She is very direct, which I find refreshing and inspiring, but some people might not. She also uses some unneccessarily high-brow words occasionally, which is a bit annoying, although not knowing these words won't stop you understanding her meaning (there are at least 5 in the book that I had never seen before!).
One idea that stood out for me from this book is the idea that you don't need to believe in something wonderful for it to happen - you don't have to specify what you want, write out a list or do a visualisation board or whatever! (These types of exercises have NEVER worked for me, and they don't for a lot of people, they just leave you feeling so much worse when they don't work.) Ms Beck says early on in the book and keeps reminding you that even if it seems impossible that you could feel happy or have something you want, all you need to do is just make a tiny bit of space by believing in the POSSIBILITY that SOMETHING wonderful, whatever that might be, could just happen. Sounds crazy but that advice has been helpful in so many ways.
In summary, if you are ready to take a risk and take serious action to help yourself rather than just come up with more excuses or be put to sleep by more platitudes, I strongly recommend this book which is more like a tool-kit containing a set of skills you can develop and use for practical guidance in any situation. Speaking from my own experience, the exercises can deliver genuinely astounding results, provided you grit your teeth and allow yourself to entertain the possibility that after pain the improvement is possible. Thank you Ms Beck for writing such an original, well-organised and honest book!