What a brilliant book! It helped me immensely with my issues. I'm so grateful for this book and Nathaniel Branden's insight! I love all his books as they were extremely helpful. I learned from them so much and they helped me to become a better person. This book is one of his best! I would also highly recommend his other great works especially: ''The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem'', ''Honoring the Self'' and ''How to Raise Your Self-Esteem''. They were all excellent and I love them to bits!
Branden's writing is ever more concise, practical and powerful. He continues to challenge the prevailing norms and beliefs. He argues persuasively that the United States is promoting dependency and irresponsibility through its social policies. He outlines the dangers and consequences of the "victim" mentality and explains why certain popular American beliefs are hurting the very people they are supposed to help. Branden explains how responsible Americans are being forced by the US government to enable the irresponsibility of others. Branden presents a well-organized model of personal responsibility which is unmatched by anything I have previously seen. In the book he offers practical exercises which can be used by all of us. There is one point with which I strongly disagree with Branden, however. In his discussion of choices and consequences he uses one example of a parent giving a child a "choice" which really isn't much of a choice at all. The example is something like this "You can either sit quietly at the dinner table, or go to your room without eating. It is your choice. You decide." To me this is an example of the use of power and punishment, not an example of natural consequences. Neither is it an example of emotional honesty or emotional intelligence by the parent. And finally, it is not even an example of using reason to explain cause and effect, something which Branden himself has strongly advocated throughout his writing career. My only other somewhat negative comment is that Branden comes across at times as a tad judgmental, bitter and lecturing, which I attribute to the strength of his feelings and his conviction to his beliefs, and thus take with a grain of salt. Overall, I strongly recommend this book to all teenagers, parents, teachers, professors, politicians, human service workers and policy makers.
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