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Customer Review

36 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but I have some doubts, 24 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Overcoming Paranoid & Suspicious Thoughts (Overcoming Books) (Paperback)
I would like to thank the authors for writing this book, but I must confess I have a lot of problems with it. I write as someone who has been hospitalized with medical paranoia, so I know what it is like to entertain fallacious suspicious thoughts. However, I also write as someone who has submitted a serious harassment complaint to his managers at work, a complaint that was not resolved either way. You will appreciate that I am currently not in a powerful enough situation to ascertain how justified my complaint was, a common situation for those suffering from paranoia, I would guess.

The authors say: "This book doesn't focus on unjustified anxieties about others, but rather on unfounded fears." This is to duck the million dollar question. What about anxieties where you cannot tell whether they are justified or not? This book reads as though it is written by doctors for the benefit of their patients, advice from high status people for the benefit of low status people. The assumption is that readers will have low self-esteem, and that the vast majority of their suspicions will be false ones. What about those who have paranoid thoughts who possess high self-esteem? From my experience of the 21st century workplace, my guess is that for these people, the vast majority of their suspicious thoughts will be partly justified. What should they do next? This book says absolutely nothing about this situation.

The modern workplace consists of a hierarchy. Suppose a lowly member of the hierarchy challenges a loftier member. Immediately a mini-conspiracy, a deliberate mistake, a misspelled email ensues to restore the hierarchy. It really is naÔve to pretend this doesn't happen. For many bosses, instilling paranoia is a management technique. That's why there is a terrible danger that this book turns into a Harasser's Charter. If I was a manager planning to give a difficult employee a hard time, I would certainly have a copy of this book to hand, so that when the harassment complaint came in, I could say, "Are sure you are - feeling alright? Can I recommend this?"

Let me be more positive about what I agree with in this book. Certainly paranoid feelings need to be tested out against reality, although I would say that the testing needs to be a great deal more indirect and ingenious than the examples given here. I agree too about the value of creative writing in externalizing one's suspicions. Certainly this is an important topic, and I am glad this book has addressed it.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Jan 2009 00:15:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Feb 2009 16:36:08 GMT
D. H. Snr says:
I don't know the actual situation regarding Mr Griffiths. However, in general terms I do understand and sympathise. Perhaps the authors of the book are not fully tuned in to some managerial work practices.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Sep 2010 16:56:53 BDT
i think that most people reading this will acknowledge that this needs to be applied carefully to each situation

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jul 2011 23:14:08 BDT
ZSL says:
Without having read the book, this review reads as very convincing. The second paragraph in particular raises the questions I would want to be answered by such a book. Thanks.
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Location: Norwich, UK

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