02 February 2011

Review: 3 Self Help Type Books

I was reading a writing ezine recently and they put out the challenge to review all the books you read. I have thought of this but have never set out to do it. I don't know that my "readership" is really that interested in my book choices but I figured why not? In order to sort of facilitate this and catch up to 2011, I am combining several books here.

January for some reason was a month of mostly nonfiction, personal improvement, self help books. Any of you who've been reading know I prefer fiction and slow down immensely when I read nonfiction. Two of these books were started last year and finished in January. These books had been recommended by various sources so I wanted see what I could glean from them.

Telling Yourself the Truth by Backus and Champion
This was recommending to me by a professional in the self help industry as well as a friend who had read it. This is my second reading and I started it in 2010 and finished it in January. It is written from a completely Christian view, yet it does not give in to trite answer to serious challenges. It does use scripture to augment what is essentially cognitive therapy boiled down (from a nonprofessional perspective). I can recommend this book and will probably revisit it from time to time during hard phases of life.

Expectations and Burnout, Women Surviving the Great Commission, by Eenigenburg & Bliss
Obviously this book has a more narrow audience in mind. It was expensive to buy as it is more of an academic book. I think it was based partly on someone's thesis where research questionnaires were filled out and collated into statistics. However if you are a missionary I could recommend it because between the sometimes surprising responses to the study questionnaire is enough personal experience of burnout and missions agency challenges to be very worthwhile. It has really challenged me to try to get away and spend some time in deep reflection and evaluation. I hope to schedule that sometime soon.

Thrilled to Death, How the Endless Pursuit of Pleasure is Leaving us Numb, by Hart
I set out to find another book by this author that someone recommended but this was the one the library had and it sounded interesting. It was. It is both a psychological explanation of studies of something called anhedonia. This is when things that once brought pleasure do not or it takes more and more extreme things to enjoy ourselves. This is a symptom seen in many mental illnesses today and can also not accompany any illness other than not really enjoying oneself anymore. I skimmed several chapters that did not apply to me (kids and anhedonia etc) but found the second half of the book very interesting as a 7 step process to overcome this and learn to enjoy life and small things as well as big ones again. The writer is a Christian but unlike the first book I described he isn't speaking to Christians except in a couple places in the book where he specifically says so. There's a great description on meditative prayer as well as simple sound advice that pulls you back from the brink of overstimulation.

That's 3 out of 5 books for January. I'll do the fiction books I've read separately and then try to keep up more as the year progresses.

1 comment:

  1. Thrilling Yourself to Death sounds engaging. I have heard people say that those who are the happiest are those who don't seek happiness. It's probably true (in a general sense).