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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 16 June 2000
Dorothy Rowe helps us understand ourselves in a way which avoids jargon, cliche and dogma. No one could fail to be uplifted and inspired by her Guide to Life. Because unlike so many "you can live your dream" handbooks, it doesn't offer shallow diagnosis and quick fixes. Quite the reverse. It's inspiring because what she says about the many ways we disable ourselves rings so deeply true and because, in helping us face that truth, she gives us all hope. The mix of wisdom, compassion and humour make it all the more readable. Simply the best self-help book I have read.
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VINE VOICEon 24 April 2006
I recently read a book by Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning and a couple of weeks later I found this book by Dorothy Rowe - it's a perfect companion because Ms Rowe talks about our 'meaning structure' - how we choose to interpret the world.

This book underlines an absolutely fundamental truth about life - it's what we 'interpret' it to be. Like professional photographers we carry round big lenses with which we view the world - the pictures we choose to see depend on our own feelings and experience.

If a friend chooses not to return a phone call, I can start thinking he's ignoring me - but it might be he didn't get the message, it might be that some big event is happening in his life, it might be he's on holiday, however most of the time we tend to make up a reason and act accordingly.

Although not happy with the concept of 'self-esteem', Dorothy Rowe defines something similar; 'The better you feel about yourself, the better the world and the future look. The worse you feel about yourself, the worse the world and the future look.'

I tried to put these ideas to work today. Instead of nursing a number of my gripes against individuals who I feel have 'let me down', I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. I can see the direct correlation between how I feel, and how I perceive the world to be.

The radical idea behind this book is that things like nervous breakdowns and depression do not have physical or chemical causes. They happen when our 'meaning structure' is seriously challenged.

That would explain why lots of people have a hairy time when they hit 30. It's then that they realise that many of the assumptions of adolescence are plain wrong. Also, Christmas is a bad time because it often throws up a painful scenario between what 'should' be and how things are.

DR has a very interesting chapter on how we use language also affects our perceptions. All in all, this is a super little book which challenges you to look at the world differently. The cartoons are fun, too.
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on 27 April 1999
This is a deceptively 'thin' book, and one that, because of Rowe's lucid style, is easy to read quickly. However, it is one that I have found yields more and more with each re-reading! In fact, it is one book I try to re-read once a year, just to remind myself of the life-affirming truths which Rowe so helpfully expounds. A book for giving - and keeping!
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on 25 January 2001
Dorothy Rowe puts her in-depth wisedom into this self-help book to help others to understand themselves and others. Her analysis of the self is simply brilliant and so lateral that I couldn't believe that there are so many angles to look at one matter. From the book I am learning how to think laterally as well as understanding myself.
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on 16 June 1999
This happy and positive book contains the distilled wisdom of Dorothy Rowe's professional life as a psychologist, and personal life as an engaged member of the human race. Her indignant protests against the abusive absurdities of psychiatry are as refreshing as her lovingly encouraging account of how children can be allowed to grow up happy. Try it!
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on 2 December 2009
Dorothy Rowe is an insightful, intelligent woman, whose plain motive is to shed light and understanding into the corners of our minds and our lives which trouble us. She succeeds, without any razzle dazzle or flim flam. She succeeds by stating clearly and simply the truths she has found. I've just bought a second book from her, and will probably get the whole set before I'm done. Thank you Dorothy.
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on 12 August 2011
Read the first chapter and you are hooked - quite simply, the lady is amazing. Don't be fooled that this is any ordinary author. She has been ranked among the 100 living geniuses in the world but realised a long time ago that she could write with the common touch. 'You are your meaning structure, your meaning structure is you'. Astonishing. Every paragraph hits you like a ton of bricks for its unbelieavable insight.
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on 26 May 2015
Every thing she writes reaches beyond any barriers or denial that I can muster. Dr Rowe gets straight to the issues that truly affect people. She seems to have a wisdom that cuts through and beyond all the psycho babble, that leaves the reader much enlightened.
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on 26 July 2011
Love Dorothy Rowe, love this book - I can't do her work justice in a review.. just read her work, be enlightened, and go about your business safe in the knowledge that things will probably work out ok, and if they don't.... you'll understand yourself well enough to cope with whatever is thrown at you. This woman is amazing.
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on 27 May 2016
I enjoyed this book very much, and found it very useful as a source of ideas. The 'structure of meaning' model of the human mind is one that I suppose I have always pretty much had myself, at least since I have been thinking about such things for myself. I don't agree with everything she writes here, and find some of her assertions questionable, and occasionally over-simplistic, but then my 'model of reality' is my own of course, and I don't adopt other people's conclusions wholesale. Nobody knows us better than ourselves, as long as we are honest with ourselves.

'Self-help' books are normally too 'spiritual' and flowery-worded for more down to earth people like me. They tend to contain too much pseudo-scientific flapdoodle and are generally away with the fairies, selling a lie of effortless self-transformation. Well, here is a good book for the rest of us.
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