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36 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing for people with a high fear of failure
I'm so glad I read this book. I didn't realise that I had such a high fear of failure until I found myself being described so accurately! What I found most helpful was that the author said that we will never rid ourselves completely of our destructive ways, but we can learn to move on from them. That's so different from all the other self help books which, as he says,...
Published on 13 Sept. 2012 by Lisa Maynard

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's stopping me liking this book?
I normally enjoy a good self-help book so feel a bit embarrassed to write that I didn't really enjoy this book. The premise is that there is a certain group of people who fear failure, leading them to avoid confronting their career desires and developing to their full potential.

Though I can certainly see the logic of this, for me, the book had two main...
Published on 3 Jan. 2013 by emma who reads a lot


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's stopping me liking this book?, 3 Jan. 2013
By 
emma who reads a lot (London) - See all my reviews
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I normally enjoy a good self-help book so feel a bit embarrassed to write that I didn't really enjoy this book. The premise is that there is a certain group of people who fear failure, leading them to avoid confronting their career desires and developing to their full potential.

Though I can certainly see the logic of this, for me, the book had two main problems. One is that personally I didn't warm to Robert Kelsey and his own story (though lots of other reviewers did, I notice with relief). Kelsey writes a lot about his struggles to deal with his career in finance and then writing and publishing a novel and I found it a bit hard to really feel for him as a 'under-achiever' when clearly he has achieved a lot (he now runs his own PR company).

Secondly, and for me more serious a criticism: I felt that much of the text was made up of sections from other self-help books. Kelsey is totally open about this - he quotes from writers he finds inspirational, studies and statistics too, but I just felt that it ended up feeling a bit like a compilation or review of other books without much to amaze, enlighten or interest me.

The irony is that in all the case studies he gives absolutely grounded, intelligent advice to the people he deals with and I imagine that in real life I would find him convincing and charming. But I just didn't really like the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing for people with a high fear of failure, 13 Sept. 2012
By 
Lisa Maynard "Mrs Kasani" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I'm so glad I read this book. I didn't realise that I had such a high fear of failure until I found myself being described so accurately! What I found most helpful was that the author said that we will never rid ourselves completely of our destructive ways, but we can learn to move on from them. That's so different from all the other self help books which, as he says, promises a quick-fix. I know I'm pessimistic by nature and quite cynical, but this book has shown me lots of ways to get round that and start to work in my own best interests. Also, the other piece of advice that really helped me was to start to feel pride in my own successes, rather than waiting on praise coming down from others (the thing that makes me struggle most in jobs is seeking recognition and glory all the time and never being satisfied.) So now I'm learning to make the most of where I am and how to move on from there too. I highly recommend this book and will read it again and again to let more stuff sink in!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is soooooo GREAT, 8 Jan. 2013
By 
Zhaowang "zhao" (SWE) - See all my reviews
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This book is fantastic, currently I got very strange feeling,I feel quite bad about what happened around me, got annoyed all the time. This book describes exactly what I thought and also gives me hints to find my way out. I love the way this book talks. I will buy one more this book in later days for my friend I think. and I do hope that this book can help the people out who has the same feeling as I have! (sorry about my English)/Zhao W
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He read all those self-help books, so you don't have to, 19 Oct. 2012
By 
Paul Robinson (London) - See all my reviews
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When you pick this book up for the first time, go to the back and look at the bibliography. There are well over 100 books listed there. Luke Johnson read all of them - many of them books you'll have heard of, if not already read - and distilled from them the key message and put them into an overall framework for people who have a fear of failure.

Read this book, and you're saving yourself the time of reading 100 other self-help books. But what about that "fear of failure" twist? Is it applicable to you?

If you're a doctor, a solicitor, a chartered accountant or any other career that is well-paid and takes a substantial amount of professional qualification to practice, you probably don't have a fear of failure. If you're an entrepreneur, an artist, a shop worker with dreams, somebody who just feels unfulfilled but there's always an excuse for why you don't take action, you probably suffer from fear of failure.

I have consistently over-achieved in my career to date, and so I was sceptical as to whether this would apply to me, until Johnson pointed to a study of people throwing hoops over a stick: those with fear of failure either stand so close it becomes trivial to make the shot (what I always thought fear of failure types did), or so far away that they could use the excuse it was "impossible anyway" - bingo, that's me. Doing the absurd, because who can blame me when it doesn't work out? That's the exact attitude I've taken to my career. And the "standing too close" is what I've done in other parts of my life. Suddenly I realise why I've gone down the paths I have, and why I've sometimes felt I've lacked the focus to follow through and really work towards my strengths. That insight alone makes this book worth the read.

Suddenly finding myself engaged by these thoughts, I read the rest of the book in a few sittings. Some of the ideas I'm familiar with (because I'd read some of the books Johnson draws on), but many of the ideas were new to me. I've struggled a little to apply it because I've stumbled over the creation of my "personal constitution", but that's not the fault of this book: it's the fact I've never thought about the question in detail before! Lots of ideas from the book I'm already putting into action and suddenly finding myself feeling a little more focused and I'm moving forward.

I felt as though towards the end the direction wandered a little, but the appendix that sets out a clear action plan brings it back together again. As such, I can't really fault it. Johnson deserves the 5 stars for the reading he's done on our behalf and condensed alone, but the framework he's put it in has also helped me re-analyse key parts of my life. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fulfilment for the fearful, 29 Aug. 2012
By 
R. Tait (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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The focus of the book is fear of failure, and as someone who fits the profile, this is an engaging and useful read.

The author seems to have had a very tough time in his early career, and shares many of his experiences by way of anecdote. I did find this, at times, an occasionally grueling ordeal to read through.

It's all for a purpose though, and there are a few real nuggets of quality advice in here for me, and for any self-help book, that's worth the price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but it only works if you make time to do the exercises!, 20 Jan. 2013
By 
I. Horswell (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This is a thorough and thought-provoking book, not one you can zip through overnight.

You'll get VFM if you do the exercises, many of which are based on standard management techniques that you'd use at work e.g. setting goals, strategy, tactics.

The first section introduces the concept of a "high fear of failure". He explains that even high achievers can be motivated by fear of failure and that how it can affect their decisions. He draws on his own experience of failure and a number of well known self help gurus such as Stephen Covey, John Gaunt and Anthony Robbins. The book then moves into a comprehensive summary of key management techniques applied to your personal situation. The summary boxes at the end of the chapter are useful.

I had planned to read this several months ago. Made a good start, disagreed with much of the early section, as it seems overly pessimistic, and then skipped through the management techniques/self-help section, as I didn't find much new in it.

I can see that this book would be revolutionary for people that have never previously planned their lives but for those of you that are already doing it, I'm not sure what more you'd get from this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A self-help book for the rest of us?, 25 Sept. 2012
By 
Tom Erik Støwer (Oslo) - See all my reviews
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If you have a high fear of failure, you may be choosing tasks at which you are either certain to fail or certain to succeed. That is, if you're throwing rings at a peg, you will either stand so close that you can just lean over and lay down the rings, or you will stand so far back nobody will laugh at you when you miss the target.

There exists, Kelsey argues, a dichotomy between those who fear failure and those who don't. Most self-help books are aimed at the latter, because this phenomenon is so poorly understood. Which is why most of these books don't help any of those who feel inclined to read them.​

Those with High Fear of Failure (High FF's) must recognize their disability, then accept it for what it is, and finally plan for how to achieve great things despite of it -- or perhaps with its aid.

In fact​, when doing it right, High FF's may have better chances of becoming extraordinary leaders and successful entrepreneurs than others.

Kelsey's book is both personal, instructional and philosophical. Chances are high you will recognize yourself in his anecdotes, and find inspiration in his advise.​
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fear - The Great Inhibitor, 28 Mar. 2013
By 
AlanMusicMan (North Cornwall) - See all my reviews
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Why are you not doing what you *really* want to do? Why are you not spending your precious time doing those things you always wanted to? The answer is almost certainly summed up in one word "fear". You're afraid of losing what you have, afraid of losing your ability to keep to your commitments, afraid of what changes in your life might really mean.

This book helps you come face to face with the typical fears which rule so much of our lives and teaches you how to examine them in as dispassionate a way as is possible, and how to evaluate and if possible, overcome them to realise your full potential.

Packed with insights and well worth your time and effort to read, this book will help you find out which of the blockages in your life are well-founded, real and valid and which are based on nothing more than the misplaced fear of a bruised ego or a crushing disappointment. We all think we can tell the difference, but this book encourages you to think more deeply and come to the realisation that you may have been deluding yourself in that regard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too business orientated to be of use to me., 19 Jan. 2013
By 
The Truth "How it is" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Fear of failure is, I think, quite common and no doubt holds people back and stops them reaching their full potential - or worse still - even trying too.

It's something I too could be accused of in some areas of my life and it's not problem I really understand. I have no idea where it's come from as in most areas of my life I am the total opposite: driven with a give it a go, you never know attitude.

However, as I say in some areas I will not entertain even trying. And this is something that has been with me since childhood (how many more people can officially say they managed to duck out, avoid or play truant at every sports day?), so when I saw this book I thought I'd give it a whirl.

However, it turned out to be far too business oriented for me and of little use. Also, I'm not really sure how much of it is the author's own material as it seems to be filled with material taken from others sources. In the end I stopped reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a book, 31 Jan. 2013
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I purchased this book from a recommendation on Amazon, and how pleased I am that I did.

This book spells it out in simple terms what you need to do to get where you want to be. I am finding it invaluable, added with coaching from work - i'll be unstoppable soon!

It helps you find your fears, find work arounds, and set your goals to get where you want to be. Amazing.
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