Build the Strength Within: Create the Blueprint for Your Best Life Yet

Deborah Carlin. SelectBooks, $16.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59079-147-9
Psychologist Carlin weaves her own stories of grief and struggle through this uneven but insightful self-help tome, which engages readers with the "notion of the strength within you." Building a blueprint for life is Dr. Carlin's rejoinder to the laissez-fair belief that life will just work out without any plan. Each section of the book introduces an influential thinker, such as Erikson or Maslow, and discusses how their theories can be applied to real life. Some readers may feel lost in Carlin's patchwork of quotes, material printed directly from Wikipedia (acknowledged in the book), and self-assessment exercises. Others may find her tone, at times, overly effusive, as in this quote: "The secret, and I really do mean that it is a big, huge, fat secret, is that your mind is what controls your world and directs the course of events in your life." Yet, after she explains neuroplasticity—the malleability of the brain—readers will realize her enthusiasm is rooted in scientific fact. In spite of some flaws, this book is set apart from others in the crowded self-help field by Carlin's personal, self-effacing style—rare is the psychologist willing to pull back the professional veil and let us see his humanity. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/15/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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