Monday, 25 May 2015


Red Flags: How to Spot Frenemies, Underminers, and Toxic People in Your LifeRed Flags: How to Spot Frenemies, Underminers, and Toxic People in Your Life by Wendy L. Patrick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Are you a good judge of character? Can you identify a manipulative or dangerous person when they cross your path? What if they are charming, successful and good-looking? Can you recognise a wolf in sheep's clothing? In Red Flags, Dr Wendy L. Patrick draws on her extensive professional experience to demonstrate that these people rarely look or seem as we expect. She offers simple strategies for identifying and guarding yourself against deceptive or potentially damaging relationships.  With Red Flags, learn empowerment, exercise assertion, and cultivate the defences you need to protect yourself and others from being undermined, manipulated or victimized.

MY REVIEW: An excellent, practical book on a very important subject. I give this one 5 stars for the following reasons: 1) Well written, easy to read, and engaging; 2) Great examples from the author's professional career which gives it a credibility; 3) There's a lot of books written on communication - all mostly saying the same things. This one has something fresh to say. 4) The FLAG framework (Focus Lifestyle Associations Goals) is easy to remember. 5) The framework is not only useful for thinking about others. It is also an interesting framework for thinking about one's own life and the effect is may have on others; 6) The author draws on an incredible range of research literature in support of her assertions. A important book for everyone.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem: Finding FulfilmentBeyond the Myth of Self-Esteem: Finding Fulfilment by John Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Enticing yet potentially damaging ‘myths’ about self-esteem have become so deeply entrenched in pop culture that many accept them as truth. They have infiltrated parenting, teaching, the media, celebrity culture, advertising and even religion. Drawing on a wide range of resources and insights from his extraordinary experiences, John Smith uncovers common myths about self-esteem and explores their effects on individuals and society. To those who have come under the influence of these myths, he offers a fresh perspective on self-esteem and personal identity and the possibility of a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem is essential reading if you are looking for a deeper understanding of your world. It will be of particular interest to those who have encountered unexpected obstacles along the path to living their dreams or have a lurking suspicion that there must be more to life than chasing success and spending money.

MY REVIEW: I'm giving this book four stars for its critique of self-esteem "mythology". However, in my view, the positive case for finding fulfilment is not strong enough. Smith clearly comes from a Christian perspective. His answer to the problems he raises about self-esteem is self-surrender to a higher power. This book needed to have as in-depth a treatment of how to find identity and meaning as that of the critique of self-esteem. A slightly longer book that drew on the research literature around identity and meaning and extended the discussion beyond the Christian perspective would have made this book more valuable. However, if one is looking for a critical view of the concept of self-esteem and its application, this is a good place to start.

View all my reviews