Beyond 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.
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