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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For a self-help book, this is refreshingly humble and honest in its approach. Set against a very candid telling of his own struggle with confidence, Kelsey presents a series of short and snappy chapters which really get to the crux of confidence problems. From the techniques of decision-making (drawing on recent research into heuristics) and critical thinking, to simple guidelines on coping with big events, it really tries to cover the range of situations where lack of confidence might cripple. It's no-nonsense and full of practical advice, backed up not only by psychology, but also by a fellow confidence-builder in the author.

There's lots of practical personal identity work on offer throughout the book's guides and mantras - all the more helpful for the fact that the author himself has been through it (and is still working on it, as is every human being!). As such, it's probably the least patronising book of this type I've ever read!

From work to dating, it's an excellent mine of advice - thoroughly recommended.
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on 2 March 2013
I rarely write reviews but I had to about this book. I've just finished it and, pretty unheard of for me, I'm just about to read it again. I've read lots of books on confidence over the years but none have been so concise or so compelling as this one.

What's different about it?
Kelsey uses his own continuing battle with under-confidence as the core narrative, sharing stories and anecdotes that make it obvious that he really does 'get it'. He absolutely knows how it feels.

It's this honesty and transparency about the often irrational feelings under-confidence can conjure that makes the book feel so authentic. It also has none of the thinly-veiled smugness of some self-help books I could mention.

On a practical level, the chapters are short and concise with handy boxed summaries at the end for quick recaps. It's well-researched and referenced and as I'm finding, the tools and techniques to help build lasting confidence are really effective.

In summary, I loved it. It's really helped me and I'd give it six stars if I could.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What is significant for me is that the author uses self disclosure to give weight and added realism to the views expressed in the book. It is very tightly written, and needs ingesting slowly. Dismissing the idea of a "quick fix" to lack of confidence is something I do applaud. I have not come across this much, if at all, in other such texts. If I have, this one sticks out as being more genuine.

As others have mentioned it is exceedingly well researched, and importantly, he always endeavours to provide well-balanced views, offering his own opinions in a neutral way. For instance regarding Maslow. I have also been rather uneasy about the self actualisation aspect of his hierarchy, which I feel is a rather nonsensical idea, an impossible place to be. The author provides his own views on this very succinctly and presents his views in a clear way.

All the chapters are meaty, and little can be skimmed. Truly a book that needs to be re-read, as there is much to assimilate. Intelligently well balanced in terms of presenting conflicting theories and psychological approaches, with cogent and coherent criticisms.

Presenting the notion that we have to accept our personal histories rather than the futile task of curing it is very refreshing to me. To start from an initial acceptance is also reassuring for me. A certain mind set is needed.

I'm left with the simple idea that the desire for growth is really just appreciating we are mortal, so make the most of it - always be prepared to learn and be open. The idea of a journey towards confidence, rather than a destination is a reassuring and realistic one. This book is like a toolbox with nearly everything you might need as a resource for study on its own, or for suggesting ideas for other personal research.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I sometimes have a problem with `self-help' books in that the books are very proscriptive in their approach and you do get the feeling that the person has attended a few management seminars and got no real life experience. Talking a good game but never having experienced the game itself. In this respect Kelsey is different. You get a real feeling of empathy in that through honestly describing his journey and the trials he experienced, Kelsey knows what it's like to suffer and still suffer from chronic under confidence. And for once in a book of this type there is an on-going narrative that you have to work at defeating the demons, that there is no magic bullet; that you will have good days and bad days but you just have to keep going. Basically accept who and what you are, acknowledge the baggage you have accumulated in life and work from there.

Well laid out with short punchy chapters complete with a summary box at the end of each. A refreshingly honest and practical book that keeps to the point and doesn't ramble off into incoherent psychobabble, this is a follow-up to Kelsey's other work What's Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don't Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can which is also an excellent and readable text. I work in mental health and would thoroughly recommend this book and if you've not read 'What's stopping you' I'd recommend that as well.
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VINE VOICEon 22 June 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For a self-help book, this is refreshingly humble and honest in its approach.

The approach in the book is like a dense whistle-stop tour of a vast array of research, psychological theory and therapy techniques. Kelsey covers ground from the scripts we run in our heads and how they impact our behaviour, the positive benefits of a "growth mindset" and how that is a key ingredient in successful people. He looks at how our reactions may be negatively set so we interpret events in a way that is either pessimistic or implies a slight or criticism to our person. He looks at the theory suggesting that we can learn to be more optimistic. He cites Maslow, explores the roots of Cognitive Behavoural Therapy and draws on the writing of Stephen Covey.

Whilst I learnt a lot from the book and appreciated the fact that Kelsey treats the reader as intelligent and capable of absorbing and acting on such a wide range of work, at times I felt he had taken on rather too much of a task. It is harder to remain engaged when the work is in danger of veering towards an academic textbook. It is certainly true that as a reference book you would always be able to find a tool or theory to tackle whatever confidence issue you were facing, but I think the sheer number of times he had to resort to using numbered lists to explain things indicates that perhaps sometimes less could be more.

I considered Kelsey's own journey and personality a great strength through the book. The anecdotes he uses are of an open quality and contain vivid details.

Kelsey offers a lot in his chapter on hubris, which also provides a cautionary tale for anyone embarking on this journey. He warns the reader from his own experience that it can be easy to slip into hubris, which he describes as "perpetuating a lie against ourselves: claiming excellence....we still have no control over our confidence. Indeed we remain as insecure as ever, just an insecure person hiding behind a veneer of arrogance." So he carefully anticipates a potential swing from one extreme of behaviour to another as that is what happened to him. In my view, it is a very useful aspect of the book to tackle head on the possible obstacles to successfully gaining more confidence and this aspect of his quest to be complete sets him apart from many self-help books.

One of the better self-help resources on the market......
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VINE VOICEon 13 May 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I seem to collect self-help books - especially those geared to confidence, self-esteem, happiness and overcoming depression. The beauty of this book is that it aims to deal with the root cause of lack of confidence and find ways to deal with it. Many other books are referenced within but this, to me, just shows that the author realises that one book isn't likely to change your life and that this particular book will help you on your journey and point you in the right direction.

The book itself is fairly short in size compared to other books on the subject at only 238 pages long. Again, to me, this is a positive as it doesn't look or feel intimidating and therefore you're more likely to pick it up and start to read. There are five parts to the book as well as an introduction, some ending points and a comprehensive index. The five parts are: Explaining Poor Confidence, The Alchemy of Confidence, Achievement, Situations and Barriers. Each part is divided into 5 chapters that deal with specific situations or issues.

The best part of this book is, by far, its readability. The author has a great `voice' that shines through and makes a subject that could be quite flat, interesting and readable. I found myself aiming to read a chapter and then unable to put the book down. The other thing that was so fantastic about this book is that the author clearly understands that the best advice in the world can't be followed in all cases. For example, if you have to work with a difficult colleague, many books will tell you to tell your boss or avoid them. Robert Kelsey points out that, at times, the difficult person *is* your boss - putting a whole other spin on your problem. As he seems to understand that not all problems are the same, he comes up with ways to get past the issue. You might not be able to change other people but you can change the way that you deal with them - and that's the whole point of the book.

I really enjoyed this book. It was helpful, useful and written in a way that makes you want to read. Great author and after I've read this a few more times I think that I might seek out other books by this author. 5 stars.
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VINE VOICEon 21 July 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The author presents a reassurance that he too was lacking in confidence and therefore knows what he is talking about. Well that is a reassuring thought becuase there is nothing much to be gained from the "I know where you are but have never been there!" attitude that is clear in many books in the 'how to become confident vain'. The main focus would following this statement, surely be, ' how to get this elusive quality of self-confidence, and indeed that is exactly what the Mr Kelsey sets about doing: the main question then is does he achieve this objective, and in most particulars he gives it a good try, but alas the problem I encountered was his use of overly conversational writing style. I think he goes too far toward becoming easy going in his approach. This is of course entirely subjective and another reader might find this exactly the right approach, as I did myself when reading his previous book: 'What's Stopping You?'. In that title the style really worked and I loved every minute of it, so I am not entirely sure why it did not hit the exact same mark when I read the book under review?! Nonetheless I still gave the book 4 stars because it is still a darned good read and I am sure that it will deliver in full for most people, but on this occasion it only worked in part for me; so four well-earned stars and a small reservation on my part.
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VINE VOICEon 25 May 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The difficulty that I have when reading some self help books is that they try to be all things to all people and end up not meeting expectations. When you generalise you lose some of the depth of knowledge that comes with specialisation.

This book for me is very much a middle of the road 'guru' book, it is written to set out the views of Robert Kelsey with his life experiences mixed with references both to theoretical and researched books. Inevitably this means that the book is set around his world view rather than an agreed consensus.

On the positive side, this means that the book is quite engaging and Robert's own battles against his own confidence lends personal credibility to the ideas that he is putting forwards and the suggestions that he makes.

Personally I would suggest understanding your own drivers of confidence issues and then reading books that deal specifically with these issues. Books that are written in straightforward english and give you a routemap to better self actualisation. This book tries too much to get researched credibility and for me thus looses readability.
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VINE VOICEon 22 July 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having already read Kelsy's earlier work, `What's Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don't Always Reach Their Potential', Jul 12, I knew what to expect and I wasn't disappointed. Kelsey maintains his effective and, for me personally, winning style of candid disclosure. I can appreciate some earlier reviews who comment that his style is too introspective and self-promoting, but I managed to suspend that distraction and focus on his core, considered and well argued message.

The book does not provide immediate and definitive release and solutions to chronic under-confidence, but it does provide psychological reassurance, support and realistic tools for self-analysis and improvement. If you have, like me, read previous work, there is something more and further to learn and consider - Kelsey's prose style, research and views continues to promisingly mature and develop. For those who have yet to read any of his work, do so - it will be worth it and provide a valuable primer for further study.
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on 23 July 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This a very thorough self help book about our confidence. I hadn't expected it to contain as much research as it did and I was also impressed with the personal experiences recounted throughout. It isn't academic to read and where there are parts that may not apply or have research that you're unsure about it is easy enough to move on due to clear and regular sub-headings. Each chapter has a small summary box at the end for recapping what's been read.

The book is sectioned into five parts: explaining poor confidence, the alchemy of confidence, achievement, situations and barriers. For me, I didn't find part four as engaging or informative as some of the others. I did enjoy one of the ending sections which was the route to confidence in seven stages. Whatever level of confidence you approach this book with, you'll still find something useful. It was interesting to see why some people appear more confident than others.

An informative read.
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