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Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement Hardcover – Sep 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060393920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060393922
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,876,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This book works, Dr. Christian maps the road to success and happiness in quick, clear, concrete steps." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Kenneth W. Christian, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist with more than a quarter century of clinical experience. In 1990 he founded the Maximum Potential Project, through which he has helped more than a thousand people -- from executives and entrepreneurs to students and others -- conquer the problem of underachievement and maximize their potential. A frequent guest on television and radio, he divides his time between Paris, France, and New York City. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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I was driving home from my friend Mark's wedding weekend after spending the night with his family. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By RTJ Kershaw on 11 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Maybe, maybe not, but when I finished this I certainly thought so. The book clearly describes from the point of view of a psychologist some of the traps we get into in our thinking which hold us back. It's clear, concise and full of examples of other people's behaviours that I'm sure we all recognise.

I'm not a fan of books with a lot of tasks and exercises - but the few this book has are easy and yet powerful. Within a day of finishing the book I had already had a major breakthrough with my own writing and was moving at a consistently faster pace.

I recommend this book to anyone struggling with the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am currently reading this book again because it's just that good. Unlike most most self-help books that are big on theory usually new-age impratical advice. "Your own worst enemy: breaking the habit of adult underachievement" is a book that is very big on practical tips and tasks to help crack the problem of persistent underachievement. As someone who has sometimes failed to live up to my potential, this book has been a real benefit in helping to recognise the patterns and habits that have been holding me back and handle them accordingly.

The middle section of the book where Mr Christian outlines 15 tasks to help break long-held habitual behaviour is particulary useful and worthwhile. Doing the tasks as prescribed is worth doing no matter how long it takes. Going through the process helped me achieve some breakthroughs. In fact the tasks were so useful that I am repeating some of them again.

I would definitely recommend this book.
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By triciaquilt on 12 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very enlighted
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 45 reviews
71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Finally! Someone who knows what he�s talking about. 18 Oct. 2002
By Jon D. Lindjord - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book from at the recommendation of a lifelong friend who has done her best over the years to shake me out of my comfortable lethargy of just "getting by". While I have never doubted the sincerity of her support or her good will, I always harbored the secret pride/shame that my failure to grab life and make the most of it was unique to me -- special, since no one else was really in my situation.
Dr. Christian has ripped the lid off my complacent excuses in his compassionate and wonderfully compelling book. While I have always found a kind of perverse satisfaction in excusing my unwillingness to truly engage in my own life, at the same time I have always felt a pervasive disappointment in my failure to do so.
For the first time since I was young, I have the feeling that it may not be too late for me to accomplish some of the things that I at first "put off" and then did my best to convince myself (and those around me -- except for my friend) were beyond my reach.
What I liked most in reading Dr. Christian's book was his down to earth humility in relating recent incidents from his own life to the principles he espouses.
97 of 106 people found the following review helpful
I've been meaning to read this 26 May 2004
By L. Garcia - Published on
Format: Hardcover
And when I finally did, I have to say I learned a lot. The part that frightened me was his descriptions of different types of procrastinators. I saw myself using a variety of delay tactics. I had to put down the book and compose myself.
Chapter 4 was probably the most difficult to get through. It was a little too "text bookish" for me and didn't make all that much sense. As a recovering procrastinator, I almost used this chapter as my reason to justify quitting. I've completed most of the activities and found areas that I needed to drastically change or explore further. It has been a very good experience.
There were a few negatives about the book. This includes Chapter 4 and the many errors in writing. Some editor should be put on probation. One of the examples referred to someone named Litton and in the very next paragraph and a few pages later he was named Lifton. And why people write 280 page books on how to stop procrastinating is beyond me... A good summary at the end of each chapter with the main points would have been helpful for going back to review. The 15 Tasks were helpful, but close to the end of the book he summarizes 10 of them. What happened to the other 5? Are they not that important? Plus, at the end of the book he talks of meditation and few other things... He hadn't mentioned these throughout the book! The book appeared to be pieced together rather than one cohesive piece of work.
Again, the information was very helpful, but someone please have a talk with the editor.
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
A book that will make a difference for anyone. 23 Oct. 2002
By Susan Froemke - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I love this book and have found it of great value. Until I read "Your Own Worst Enemy" I'd never seen the phenomenon of underachievement so clearly identified and explained. So often creative people fail to corral their gifts and use them in a productive way. I've encountered talented people who begin to make a film, but when they run into a few obstacles or get scared, they give up, and inevitably become bitter.
Dr. Christian's analysis of the reasons why people don't fulfil their potential and his practical suggestions for
re-orientation are excellent. He's absolutely right when he speaks of the pitfalls that can still occur even after you meet with success. He tells Stacy's story: how she would always derail herself. But then she applied his exercises and got herself on track, cultivating her deepest interests. This led to her making a documentary film. Along the way, she was filled with exhilaration but also with fear. What if she failed? But she didn't bail out; she kept working hard and along the way got offers of help. For the first time in her life, she was taken seriously as an artist.
This book shows that change is truly possible and tells you how you can bring it about if you follow the specifics. It's inspiring: you learn that it's never too late to break old, negative habits and consciously form fresh, productive ones. He offers a concrete guide that anyone can apply: sensible, unique, in-depth exercises for jump-starting your career.
I think this book is useful for everyone. Whether you're just starting out or have hit a roadblock, this book makes you ponder your unique answers to essential questions: "What do I really respond to? What gives me joy and passion?" I recommend this book to anyone who has a dream but whose self-defeating habits have interfered with making it come true.
Susan Froemke
Chief Administrator and Principal Filmmaker
Maysles Film Inc.
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
The book that changed my life. 9 Jan. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Can a book change your life in a lasting and meaningful way? Maybe. I suppose it depends on the book. Even some of the most well-intentioned books leave no footprints in the sands of my memory. Some purport to help you change, but it's nothing lasting - it's like the five or ten pounds that you lose over and over - but never for good. Well, as contrite as it may sound: a book changed my life.
Crazy thing is I never really knew I needed it. I certainly never looked for it. Unlike those ever-anticipating overachievers who, once they identify the possibility...or inkling, of a need for information on this or that, proceed to call the ten closest bookstores to try to attach a name and author to some ambiguous dilemma, I, on the other hand, opened the book because I was intrigued by the cover.
One quiet Friday night as I sat in a way-too-comfortable chair at Barnes and Noble (yes, that's where I was), having myself a pity party over some domestic drama, I stumbled upon the book that changed my life. I twisted over the side of my chair to the nearest bookshelf and pulled the interesting-looking book from amid its fellow shiny-covered books. The cover was made to resemble a ransom note. You know the kind: letters cut or torn from various newspapers and magazines and glued to a white sheet of paper in order to mask the identity of the sender. It intrigued me and I began to read it. Three hours later, when the announcement came over the intercom that the store would be closing in 15 minutes, I looked up from the book. I had become so engrossed in the book as to have completely forgotten where I was. My first realization was that I was sitting rather indelicately with one leg flopped over the arm of the chair. My second realization was that I had stumbled upon something that I identified with so closely it gave me a feeling of divine intervention.
In "Your Own Worst Enemy" by Dr. Kenneth W. Christian, Dr. Christian tells of lost souls, misspent lives, manic geniuses - all unable to regain the promise and momentum of their youth: persons paralyzingly unable to motivate themselves into completing, essentially, their lives. With key pieces of the learning process missing, they were unable to break through - to see the finish line - to stay the course: to finish what they started. I felt sad for them, or should I say, I felt sad "for us". Shortly thereafter, I committed myself to change.
After long months of reading, meditating, praying and writing, I have identified and returned to what I have always loved and wanted to do. I want to work directly with people as a paralegal. I want to be their advocate, to listen and to help. I don't want to be so bound by time constraints, that I cannot help in a meaningful way. I want to give of my time and talents, and of them, generously. Completing my goals will allow me the privilege of being of service to God, doing the kind of work that I would enjoy most. A most gratifying goal that I now, more than at any other time in my life, see myself completing--all because of a book that changed my life.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This book changed my life 31 Jan. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It's amazing that what might at first seem like an ordinary self-help book could have had such an extraordinary effect on my productivity, my personal relationships and yes, my happiness. One important problem I didn't know I had, that the book brought to light for me, was that I had been engaging thoughts and feelings that sapped my confidence. Since I noticed and turned off negative self-talk I've been able to achieve things I never dreamed I had the right to hope for. What was the turning point? Maybe that Dr. Christian starts his step-by-step plan by recommending... pleasure!
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