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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peeling away the sticking plasters
I've always been attracted to siren voices promising easy ways to sort out the things I don't like about myself, and given the size and scope of the self-help market I guess I'm fairly typical. So it was a pleasure to find a very readable book that carefully goes through all those promises one by one, looking at what current (high quality!) research says about them,...
Published 21 months ago by Ward

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry but ...
Contrary to many (if not most) of the other reviewers here, I didn't find this book stimulating - although I hoped I would. To me, it just didn't say anything I didn't already know. I was a sceptic before I sat down to read this, but I didn't get anything away from this book that is going to change my life - or my way of thinking. A good friend once pointed out to me that...
Published 14 months ago by comm88


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peeling away the sticking plasters, 10 Oct 2012
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I've always been attracted to siren voices promising easy ways to sort out the things I don't like about myself, and given the size and scope of the self-help market I guess I'm fairly typical. So it was a pleasure to find a very readable book that carefully goes through all those promises one by one, looking at what current (high quality!) research says about them, highlighting what doesn't make sense, while acknowledging the bits that do. It also means that I save all the time having to read 23 other sets of books.
If there is a summary thread running through it, it's probably an encouragement simply to be more aware of oneself and of the way we interact with other people wherever and whenever we do, and not to look for miracles, or to expect total control over the world we live in. The book tries to avoid being obvious about offering pat or simple solutions of its own, but does tend to suggest we should actually be a bit more focussed on and attentive to how we see ourselves and how we deal with all the stuff life inevitably throws at us, good and bad.
This is an intelligent book that doesn't insult the intelligence of the reader - we are given good summaries of evidence and, while conclusions are drawn, there is space and encouragement to come to our own. It is definitely worth a read: and with 25 shortish chapters, easy to consume in bite-sized and digestible chunks.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This man can heal your life, 20 Oct 2012
Amazon should create a new algorithm to recommend this book to anyone who orders a self-help book.

Psychobabble makes sense of the senselessness of the empty promises and false hope generated by so much of the self-help world. Having, in the past, spent a small fortune on books and courses promising to improve my life, I have, thankfully reached a point where I am more content and accepting with the twists and turns of life. Hence my sister buying me this book!

This has been a funny, smart read in understanding so much of the nonsense that I fell for. The author is not only cheeky and self-deprecating (worrying whether he is due for a case of piles which, according to self-help myth, are caused by the stress of missing deadlines!), but also as rigorous as can be in referencing the points he makes. He has clearly 'been there' himself, and points out he still works as a clinical psychologist. Yet this is not smart-ass, mocking writing - it is erudite and thoughtful yet easy to read.

Ironically, perhaps this is the self-help book to help break our insanity-inducing addiction to self-improvement, much of which leaves us feeling more inadequate than ever. Or am I the only one who finds that the people who have the most self-help books on their shelves tend to have the most chaotic, unenviable lives? (Not least my own in the past, at times!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 26 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Psychobabble: Exploding the myths of the self-help generation (Kindle Edition)
A very brave psychologist to stick his head over the parapet and shout 'hang on a minute guy's, this self help stuff may be a load of rubbish'. Well done, I take my hat of to you.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book, 22 Jan 2013
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X. Matagne - See all my reviews
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This is a very interesting book. One of the few books that describes how manipulative and untrue self help ideas can be.

The book deconstructs claims such as, "you can if you think you can", "there is no failure, only feedback", "you can learn to do anything you want", "being assertive and expressing your emotions are the best way to communicate", etc.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars move on!, 1 Feb 2013
This is a great book for anyone who needs to move on from a self-help addiction - and it's also got pictures!!! Just as Dr Jenn Berman's 'No more diets!' has opened our eyes to the fact that diets actually only make us fatter, 'Psychobabble' can open your eyes to the reality that self help mantras only make you less able to help yourself. Dr Briers debunks the hackneyed 'truths' of the self help industry with a refreshing irreverance, heaps of references (he's no light-weight quack!) and accessible examples from his own and his patients' lives. All in all it's an easy but informative read that will encourage you to take the pressure off and simultaneously give you plenty to talk about at parties. Also did I mention that IT'S GOT PICTURES!! - cartoons from Drew and Natalie Dee which are truly hilarious and reflect the tone perfectly.
Any publishers out there - this book would be a great candidate for serialising in a Sunday Paper, one bite-size debunking each week/month for a year or two?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discrediting the self-help industry, 19 Jan 2013
I urge you to read this book. It gives an insightful look at the world of self-help and encourages us to look to ourselves for the answers. Written in easily digestible chunks with both wit and wisdom, Stephen Briers has produced an accomplished book about the dangers of "psychobabble" and guides us through various counter-productive notions of improving our lives. At a time when we are already under enormous pressure to work harder, to achieve more, to be the perfect parent or partner, why do we not look to ourselves to realize that many of the answers lie within us (as in the words of Voltaire: "il faut cultiver notre jardin"). The tone of the book is honest, humble and eloquent in style with references ranging from Aristotle to Bruno Mars making it an accessible read for the non-expert. Every argument is supported with thorough and comprehensive psychoanalytical research and is a "must-read" for 2013. In the words of Briers "we need to trust life and ourselves a bit more and see how things unfold rather than trying to grab the wheel the whole time. Our lives aren't just jewels to be fastidiously cut and polished through our painstaking efforts. They are not something to be made so much as something to be experienced".
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The empty vessel makes the loudest sound, 29 Nov 2012
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A. N. Hollis - See all my reviews
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What a delight it is to come across a book that not only uses those old fashioned premises of research and science to examine points, but that also does so with no little humour. Dr Briers has, perhaps ironically, written a book to help the self-help generation, and in doing so critically examines the loud and weighty claims provided by the "change your life" scripts and find many of them to be at best questionable, and at worst full of empty promises.

It seems we live in a time where to sell such books by the lorry-load, they first have to tell us what's wrong with ourselves and then inform us how we can fix that. Dr Briers thankfully takes an entirely different tack by telling us, with the very latest research, what's actually wrong with them!

Let the fightback begin!
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 15 July 2014
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Great book, truly great.

It offers a unique perspective on the current state of psychology practice and the way it affects our lives.

It is a security guide for your mind, offering advice about bad psychology and how to recognize it.

Very well written, objective and to the point.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 15 Feb 2014
ive been through a host of therapies/books to help ease my mental health difficulties
i have had thoughts that maybe im on the wrong track i wish this book was written
years ago.i realise that im ok just as i am!
highly recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars The only self help book worth reading, 20 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Psychobabble: Exploding the myths of the self-help generation (Kindle Edition)
Stephen Briers takes us on a realistic journey through the minefield of self help guides which purport to be able to offer us solutions to most of the difficulties which confront all of us in attempting to resolve our problems by taking heed of the gurus quick fix advice. In Psychobabble the author offers a realistic appraisal of what really works using well researched evidence and genuine hope for many of the problems which confront most of us from time to time .Psychobabble helps us to understand that solutions to problems are within our grasp and that accepting ourselves as fallible members of the human race ,warts and all, is the way to find resolution to what may be troubling us.
Psychobabble offers a fascinating insight into most of the psychotherapeutic methods which may tempt us into believing that there is always something out there which will give us the solution we seek. Stephen Briers tells us what we really need to do in order to understand ourselves better as individuals and in our interactions with others ; he does so with great wit and humour.
This book may change your life ,it is a fascinating read and an absolute must for anyone seeking self help.
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