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The Elegant Self, A Radical Approach to Personal Evolution for Greater Influence in Life Hardcover – 15 Feb 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Performance Integral (15 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988768909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988768901
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,010,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book; it is full of important and badly needed insights into the human condition, the problems we face as individuals, and those that we face collectively on this planet. As a result of reading it, I have been able to re-focus constructively on issues which have been frustrating me for a little while now.
But this book is not an easy read. I have read Kegan's book `The Evolving Self' and Wilber's `Integral Spirituality' without too many problems, (that is, if I did not understand a sentence or paragraph the first time of reading, subsequent more careful meaning, or resorting to a dictionary, usually solved the problem.) However there are whole paragraphs in this book I have had to give up on. Partly this is because some of the concepts are very complex and McNamara is dealing, essentially, with the paradoxes which turn out to be doors into big new worlds; but also because the book has not been as thoroughly edited as it might have been, with errors of grammar and syntax abounding, new section headings appearing at the bottom of pages, and several plain typographical errors, (one sentence reads: "Subjectivity is always already are free from every facet of experience".)
However, in the case of this book, substance must be given its due weight over style. McNamara redeems some of the more incomprehensible paragraphs with good solid real life examples of what he is describing. If you find yourself getting stuck, just read on until you reach the next one of these.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Am Important But Flawed Book 18 Aug. 2013
By Muse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Elegant Self is a useful and important book. It focuses on what has been termed "cognitive development" psychology or, alternatively, subject-object theory, as popularized by Robert Kegan in his book "In Over Our Heads". It does a decent job of summarizing this and other related approaches to psychology and, more importantly, provides some guidance to individuals interested in evolving to higher ways of experiencing the world. Basically, this involves the making into objects of understanding what had previously been an unacknowledged part of the subjective self. Much of the focus is on moving into the fourth of five stages, or from the autonomous self to the transforming self. Other reviews do an excellent job of describing this process.

The importance of the issue addressed in the book would indicate a five star rating, as seen by the other reviews posted here. I have downgraded the review to four stars based on two factors. First, the writing style is needlessly complex. While a difficult subject, the role of an author is to present it as simply as possible. The author here has not done this. In particular, the sentence structure is overly difficult, and as a result I found myself slowed down to simply identify the flow of a particular sentence. Second, the author seems to go out of his way to avoid any spiritual language in favor of psychological terminology. However, this transition form stage three to stage four is precisely where the spiritual begins to assert itself as more primary than mere ego functioning. In one particularly egregious example, the author refers to an exercise to "inhabit the technology of stillness" when he describes what is clearly mediation but without mentioning the word itself. Likewise, there are numerous examples where the concept of witnessing is explained in complex psychological terminology rather than using a word that might be too closely aligned with the spiritual.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought Kindle version, got halfway through and bought hardcover + extra copies 8 Jun. 2013
By P. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Highly recommended for anyone interested in personal growth, enhancing their relationships and performance at work, or simply achieving a better understanding of the dynamics and processes as you aspire to become that "next version of you" that you may be interested in achieving.

A remarkable book. Deeply inspiring and insightful in ways that few books are. It is sometimes slow going, some passages requiring multiple re-readings for me to feel that I understand it well enough to move on. There are some overlaps here with ideas I recognize from Integral Theory around adult developmental growth, and some very nice considerations of and practical applications of Robert Kegan's work. Filled with great questions and exercises to stimulate your thinking around your own situation and to help personalize the lessons and insights to make them more durable and sustainable.

I expect to go back to this book many times, personalizing it with notes and dog-eared pages - the reason why the Kindle version alone was just not quite up to my needs.

I really can't recommend this book highly enough. Just buy it. Really. If you find it's not your cup of tea, gift it to someone in your life with interests that run this direction - they'll enthusiastically thank you for it.
(And no, I don't know this author. But I wish him all the success with this book that he deserves.)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant Self, Elegant Book 5 Nov. 2014
By mandasol - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rob McNamara has assembled some of the very best wisdom in personal development and transformation into one great resource. Rob writes in a clear, lucid, and accessible style that welcome the reader into deeper reflection. One of my favorite features of the book is the way that Rob includes room for learning exercises so the reader can integrate the principles and teachings into his/her own life in real time.

I'd recommend Elegant Self to anyone interested in learning what is possible for each of us as human beings. Well done!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book for coaches 8 May 2015
By Wayne O. Sickels - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An informative and inspiring articulation of where evolution & development is and can go at its leading edge! Deeply grounded in research, but making it accessible and understandable by describing where the challenges and benefits of further growth show up in our lives and work. Terrific book for coaches, therapists, and individuals wanting to be resourced and informed at their own own leading edge of growth.
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ 5 May 2017
By Lancaster Consulting LLC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone in the Leadership Development world.... Elegant Self is a MUST read. It's insightful, engaging, thought-provoking and deep. I highly recommend this book
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