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Saturday, December 4, 2010

DECEMBER Living, Loving, Laughing... Self-Help Review


“‘GIVE A MAN A FISH’… You know the rest”
A BOOK LIST
by Deborah Padgett

I know that to some self-help books are anathema. Merely a suggestion of the genre is enough to send the occasional friend or loved-one from the room. I worry I’ll seem uncool in revealing how very helpful I find these tomes and know for sure when you discover that Dr. Phil is on my short-list you may just stop reading right then and there. Since I’ve decided to list the books in chronological order I’ve had to shorten the list from ten to nine in order to end with Maya Angelou whose inspiring words threaten to surpass and render useless all prior listed titles. I sit here surrounded by 20 books that are truly among my favorites. Should you find yourself enjoying the nine mentioned and hungering for more, just let me know. There’s more where those came from. What follows is a short list from my all time favorite self help books accompanied by a quote from each that tells you why:

In chronological order rather than ranked favorites:

THE PROMISE OF A NEW DAY, Karen Casey & Martha Vanceburg, first published in 1983.
Representative quote: “April 26 — Focusing our attention incessantly on matters that disturb us, keeps us disturbed … obsession with our problems leaves no room for their solutions. However, we are only powerless in the face of difficulties if we choose to be. We are always free to search for the good which is lost in a tangled situation. We can be certain that our progress in life is equal to our capacity to let go of our problems and move ahead with the momentum of a positive attitude.”

HOW TO COMMUNICATE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO IMPROVING YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS, Matthew McKay, PhD, Martha Davis & Patrick Fanning, 1983, 1997.
Representative quote: “Tips on how to…. ●listen ● express yourself ● decode hidden attacks and requests● clarify language ● fight fair ● negotiate successfully ● improve your sex life ● build consensus… elicit contributions & build morale”. (to name a few)

YOU CAN’T AFFORD THE LUXURY OF A NEGATIVE THOUGHT, Peter McWilliams, ©1988.
Representative quote from page 3, Introduction: “Negative thinking is always expensive — dragging us down mentally, emotionally and physically — hence I refer to any indulgence in it as a luxury… Be easier on yourself. Think better of yourself. Learn to forgive yourself and others.” And from a boxed quote by Henry Miller, p. 442, “ It’s good to be just plain happy; it’s a little better to know that you’re happy; but to understand that you’re happy and to know why and how and still be happy, be happy in the being and knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss.”

THE DANCE OF INTIMACY, Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., ©1989.
Representative quote, page 3, “An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way.”

THE SERENITY PRINCIPLE, Joseph Bailey, ©1990
Representative quote, page 16, “Life is as it appears because of how we think it to be.”

Changing the Bully Who Rules the World: Reading and Thinking About Ethics , Carol Bly, ©1996.
Representative quote, page 185: “The main idea of this book is that we progress to those more complex and altruistic levels in spectacularly direct proportion to how much empathic mentoring we have received from those who are important in our lives… Educators use empathy to help seriously disturbed children put themselves together into functioning human beings.”

RELATIONSHIP RESCUE: Dr. Phillip C. McGraw, ©2000.
Representative quote, page xiii, “ ...you know that any change or improvement has to start with you. The truth is, this is not a burden — it is an opportunity, because it means that you are in control. Be glad that change, either personal or relational, starts with you, because you are the only person over whom you have control.”

CELEBRATIONS: RITUALS OF PEACE AND PRAYER, Maya Angelou, 2006
Quote, page 7, from “On The Pulse of The Morning,”
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made, proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one…”


HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Would love your comments, anonymous or not. ASK DEB will be back in January.

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