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How to Stay Sane by School of Life ( Author ) ON May-10-2012, Paperback Unknown Binding – 10 May 2012


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  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B0092FTS7U
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 13 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,674,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Vivienne on 6 Dec 2012
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Philippa Perry's 'How to Stay Sane' is a rare gem of a psychological self-help book. Full of practical insights based on sound, up-to-date theory, it is written in a straightforward, sometimes humourous, friendly style that doesn't patronise the reader. Also, importantly, it doesn't offer simple solutions to complex problems, but takes us on a realistic journey towards greater self-acceptance and mindfulness.

The signposts on this really quite deeply philosophical journey are described under the headings 'Self-Observation', 'Relating to Others', 'Stress' (I couldn't help wanting to think of this more as 'self-challenge') and 'What's the Story (Our Personal Narrative)' She provides thorough references for each chapter and ends the book with a section describing detailed exercises that enable us to `embody' the theories she has discussed. "It is one thing to know about something and another to embody it" she says and, "The point of a set of instructions that comes with a model-aeroplane kit is not to supply you with reading material, but to guide you in the practical steps you need to apply in order to build the kit." These excellent exercises, she rightly tells us, are not for reading but for doing. Based as they are on sound principles they are well worth the investment of time.

As a now retired psychotherapist I can honestly say I wish this book had been available to recommend to clients while I was still employed. I especially liked it that Philippa Perry quotes Peter Lomas ("Hold your beliefs lightly") and also that she communicates to us that the most meaningful changes will come about when we stop trying to be who we are not and simply become more mindful of who we are. I do recommend it, it's a great little book!
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Shaljean on 18 Jun 2012
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...though it is genuinely helpful, and wonderfully free of jargon or new-age fuzzy feel-good thinking. This is a scientifically-based, clear-headed and practical approach to overcoming our weaknesses which brings real results - though of course you have to do your share of the mental work: nothing comes without effort and sustained focus. But it CAN be done, with patience, good sense, and realistic discipline. Ms. Perry is well plugged into these, and her book is permanently useful, to refer to again and again. Five stars for this much-needed breath of fresh air amongst all the perfumed pastel clouds of fantasy floating around the popular psychology genre, which so often mislead those seeking help via false promises and empirically dubious factoids. I'm always suspicious of books which try to peddle magic solutions to what are often complex, deeply-ingrained and long-standing problems. But this is the real thing. Definitely one to recommend to friends.
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91 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Helen Rowland on 4 Jun 2012
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It's a heart sink moment for most psychotherapists when your client asks if you can recommend a good self-help book. How to say 'not likely!' without sounding like you take yourself way too seriously?

It's not that I disagree with the the self-help book in principle: I am not the hairdresser who gets cross when you cut your own fringe. It's just that the vast majority are too prescriptive, reductionist and fail to interrogate the fundamental philosophical presuppositions of our peculiarly Western obsession with self-gratification. Promises of snake-oil and change-your-life moments are seductive but the net result when the quick-fix stalls is that the individual feels even more of a failure.

Philippa Perry has come to our rescue with a smart, pithy, readable book that everyone with even a passing interest in their psychological health will find useful. It has a wealth of useful advice based on sound, psychological theories without making the mistake of assuming a one-size-fits-all road map.

The book treads a path towards self-knowledge and self-growth over the pursuit of happiness per se and so places itself firmly at the philosophical end of the the self-help market. She avoids the pitfall of most self-help books by acknowledging that absolute control over our conscious mind is a fallacy and uses the neuroscience of the unconscious to explain this. Nor are we a slave to our unconscious and the final section provides a range of brilliantly simple and easily do-able exercise to help us work mindfully with our unconscious aspects.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Monica on 21 May 2012
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Self-help books are often too long and sometimes patronising. This is short, informative, encouraging and practical. It focuses on the way the brain works, and how you can make changes to the way you think, offering a very manageable series of suggestions that you can implement almost immediately. The structure of the book is also clear and sensible: sections on self-observation, relating to others, stress and re-writing your own narratives are followed by a final section of exercises to help you develop in each of these areas. I like the way Philippa Perry has illustrated her ideas with information about research that illuminates human behaviour. She gets the balance right between explaining the theory behind her suggestions, and giving you practical advice about how to go about the pro-active business of living and reflecting on life.

Not only an interesting read, then, but the kind of book which could genuinely change your life.
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