As a practising therapist and counselling trainer I am often asked to make reading recommendations in the areas of self-help and personal development, so much so in fact that I have long since lost count of the number of titles that I have seen devoted to the issues of confidence and self-esteem.
At first glance I have to say that I found the 'Confidence Karma' subtitle to this book somewhat off-putting as it initially reminded me of the type of metaphysical jargon quite widely used by the more dubious and esoteric extremes of the self-help genre. Having already read one of this author's previous books, however, I felt sufficiently safe in assuming that any follow-up publication would most likely turn out to be an entirely credible and worthwhile read, and thankfully this assumption proved correct.
Laid out in a clear and easily digestible format, 'Unlock Your Confidence' equips the reader with far more than just a tried and tested range of theoretically-based tips and strategies for acquiring desired behavioural change. Indeed, this book is so thorough and holistic in its approach to confidence building that it goes much further than that; it lays the firm foundations for a potentially life-changing programme of on-going personal development.
What the author gets so fundamentally right with this book, I feel, is his focus on the interconnectedness of thoughts, feelings and actions - acknowledging the inextricable link which exists between individuals' outward behaviour and the deeply internalised beliefs and perceptions that they hold about themselves. Throughout the course of the book the reader is encouraged to actively engage in a series of self-awareness raising quizzes and exercises, each designed to illicit some of the underlying core beliefs and attitudes which so frequently serve to undermine confidence. The concept of 'auto-prejudice' is both compelling and thought-provoking, and readers are invited to consider the extent to which this process might be routinely holding them back from achieving their desired outcomes and objectives in life.
Whilst an undeniably easy and accessible read, 'Unlock Your Confidence' does not profess to offer any sort of short-term or 'quick fix' self-help solution. Any realistic attempt at personal development, in whatever form, involves real effort on the part of the reader and a genuine willingness to engage in the process of change. As a life coach, Gary Wood is renowned for his effectiveness in helping and supporting people achieve and maintain tangible and lasting results - just ask any of his clients. 'Unlock Your Confidence' pays testament to this fact, and readily demonstrates the author's characteristic ability to communicate a wealth of theoretical knowledge gained from a solid academic background in psychology, backed up by many valuable insights shared from personal experience and professional practice.
What I like about this book is that it tackles confidence from all angles. One of the first exercises is confidence tracking. I hadn't really considered before that confidence fluctuates with different people and situations. So immediately I was able to pin point my high confidence times and build on. Simple tips on health, diet, exercise and body language add a whole new layer. And so on it goes keep adding and adding. The book is laid out well and really takes you on a journey. The author shares insights from his own personal and professional experience which bring the ideas to life. For some people it might be a bit exercise-heavy. He certainly makes you work for your confidence! So this might not be to everyone's taste but it's working for me. Once you've worked through the book, it's great to dip into as a reference book and this is really where an index would have been useful. However, this is a minor point. Overall, it does exactly what it promises. I don't feel as if I've just been psyched up, I have learned something from this book.
Unlock Your Confidence by Gary Wood maintains that all confidence stems from relaxation. This is reflected in the style which has great warmth. You feel at ease reading the book and there are a few genuine laugh out loud moments. This is not to say that it's not thought provoking and challenging but it still feels safe, if that makes sense. There's a lot of material in here that I've not seen in self-help books before. The point that it's all evidence-based and solution focused. The author has the knack of communicating complex ideas in a easily digestable way without it feeling diluted. From the outset makes it clear that the book needs investment of time so it's not a quick-fix, comfort book. It's a dive in and experience the changes kind of book. It's all about empowerment. I had read other books by this author in my opinion this is the best one to date mainly because it really emphasizes passing on what you've learned to other people. I recommend it to anyone who's serious about making a difference.
I have read a lot of positive psychology books over the years and I have to say this is one of the most straight forward, no fluff guides I have read. Whilst some of the techniques I have come across before, Dr Wood explains the theory behind them in plain English and offers practical advice with anecdotal evidence from his own patients which helps puts the theory into context. A must read for anyone who struggles with negative self-talk, lack of confidence and is ready to make a change.
I have read many personal development books, but this one is definitely one of my favourite.
The greatest thing about this book is the fact that it breaks down personal development and confidence building and approaches it all from various different angles. It's clear, concise and easy to read. There are lots of exercises in the book that make you think about your own situation and how you can improve it. It ranges from simple health related tips to how to conduct yourself whilst speaking to people.
If you're someone who 'learns by doing' this is definitely a book for you. However, I'd recommend to anyone who wants to improve themselves and their confidence.
Unlock your Confidence – Gary Wood Unlock your Confidence is a self-help book where you actually take action and change your life. Gary Wood’s book got me into my local football team, enabled me to take up a Spanish course and got me tutoring privately in Maths and Economics. Genuinely! This is a book which makes you take action. Gary’s book contains the traditional paragraphs of information but also makes you actively think about what you could do to improve your life. Take the area of confidence for example, he asks you to rate where you currently are on a scale from 0-10, then asks you how you got that far, what your ideal score is and what would you be doing if you were just one point higher on that scale. It makes you develop ideas to improve your confidence and you would only be delusional not to act on these ideas! The book encourages you to think more concretely. Of course, everyone wants to become more confident but what would this mean for you? For me it means going on dates weekly with women I’m genuinely interested-in, being able to make any phone call and talk to any stranger in public that I’m interested in talking to. Gary turned it around for me. Instead of thinking about reducing anxiety why not focus on improving your confidence? He also deals with numerous other techniques in the book like methods of relaxation such as abdominal breathing and affirmations and Gary also offers free life coaching on his twitter page https://twitter.com/DrGaryWood.