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The Thing You Think You Cannot Do: Thirty Truths You Need to Know Now About Fear and Courage
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The Thing You Think You Cannot Do: Thirty Truths You Need to Know Now About Fear and Courage

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  29 reviews
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”—Eleanor Roosevelt. What are we afraid of and what can we do about it? Fear—of change, of intimacy, of loss, of the unknown—has become a corrosive influence in modern life, eroding our ability to think clear ...more
Published April 10th 2012 by Oasis Audio (first published March 27th 2012)
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Kitti Boesel
This book had the potential to be helpful and enlightening. Regrettably, the author has chosen instead to use it a platform for his politics. From the first page, you know exactly how this author feels about the current state of politics in our country and the rest of the world. This book could have been well done without all the politics. In fact, it is through his politics that he actually demonstrates the politics of fear-mongering. Waste of a tree and a waste of time.
i think livingston should start categorizing his books under 'politics'

great book, but the nuggets of wisdom are buried under mountains of political tirade, which was not what i was looking for. but if you have the patience to slog thru all the well trodden liberal spiel you can find some great stuff.
There ought to be a warning label on this book that reads: "This is not a self-help book. Do not read unless you want to dedicate several hours of your life to knowing every detail about a psychiatrist's disturbing existential crisis." The irony made me laugh out loud several times, but that was the only thing about this dreary book that made me smile. OK, that, and a few jokes in the chapter about humor. I should note that humor was conspicuously absent in all other parts of the book, which mad ...more
This book should be titled "Thirty Cynical Opinions about Fear and Courage". For a self-help book there was very little that the author provides in practical methods to increase courage and reduce fear. Livingston promotes the idea that we should live in a pluralistic society, yet at every opportunity he gets he bashes religion and promotes scientific and evolutionary discourse. An element of faith is the strength it gives you to confront your fears and provides the courage that is required to o ...more
Jacqui Allen
This book was a real let down for me. I was looking for something that helped explain or define courage in a way that I could apply to my own life and risk taking. Instead there were a lot of general observations and way too many about the Vietnam war. This war obviously affected the author but it wasn't something (or written in a way) that was insightful for me personally.

The early chapters of this book put me in a dark place - taking no prisoners with its crippling critique of much of what we take for granted. My mood changed, though, when later chapters built a vision for how we can understand and give meaning to our lives, as individuals and as a community.

Gordon Livingstone has been through a lot, but he’s not bitter. Instead, he’s learnt what matters and what doesn’t, and that is what this book is about. He challenges us to live a life that matters, with cou
Donna Parker
I didn't find this overly helpful. A lot of it seemed trite and like I had heard and/or read it many times before. No really concrete methods to help with fear.
Andrés Medina López
I think the title of this book is inaccurate as it make me think it is a self-help book when in fact its about politics, war and courage. This book indeed contains thirty truths about fear and courage but only in the chapter title because content is not related with it's title most of the times. Apart from this, this is a good read as it exposes the author's point of view on various topics that leave a mark on his life.


Creo que el título de este libro es inexacto porque hace pensar que es un li
Tim Williams
I finished it but there were times I went into skim-mode. The author sometimes uses some straw man arguments. Sometimes makes very vague allusions that aren't supported. Sometimes states things as facts that just aren't more than his impression or point of view. And then there is the political undercurrent. These kinds of things I glossed over. They are of no value, at least in regard to the subject the book is arguably about.

However, there are some interesting and worthwhile ideas presented, if
There are a number of excellent points that the author writes about that have stood out. He talks about fear and how fear does not allow people to make good decisions and how courage brings about changes. Throughout the book, the author makes comparisons with American society and gives specific examples how in society fear has become a powerful tool for politicians and a small group of people to achieve their own agenda. One example is him describing 9/11 as a national anxiety attack. He points ...more
I didn't find this book to be overly political. While the author does express his personal views, isn't he entitled to do that as the author? Isn't that why we're reading it? I think he was painfully honest and the message came across: the point that the human race is in the habit of making fear based decisions.
A thought-provoking read...difficult at times because of how hard it makes you think, and how painful some of what you're thinking about is. Like other books by the same author, good to read in bite-sized chunks, a small chapter at a time, and think about.
Jt O'Neill
Other reviewers have referenced the author's politics and/or have slammed this book as not being much of a self help book. I , for one, found the essays interesting food for thought. Yes, the author gets political. How courageous of him! And, no, he isn't offering a check list for how to be brave. What I think he does well is open a dialogue (in this case, between me and me) about what it really means to have courage. The American media is constantly about crowning new heros but Dr, Livingston g ...more
Andrew Mutch
A fascinating read about what fear and courage is (and is not) and how we as individuals can conquer fear through living lives based in courage. I know that the author's political views will turn off some readers. But his thoughts should challenge everyone of all political views. Some of the chapters are intensely personal, both from the author's own life and from those of individuals whose stories he share. If you read this book with an open mind, I doubt you'll walk away from it without being ...more
Caitlyn Brown
helpful insight but if you're looking for an uplifting and encouraging, inspiring book...this isn't it
I liked a lot of his statements and sentiments, however the book was a little all over the place and repetitive at times. It certainly challenges the thinking of the masses and has good morals and values. I would recommend it, but don't expect any solutions or answers - this is more about one mans thoughts and opinions. Interesting and provocative.
Everyone should read this one, how fear shapes our lives.
Livingston's observations are good launch points for small group discussions and conversations about daily ethics in action, especially in dealing with our fears. A veteran, he has a compelling perspective on truthfulness about failure and mistakes as a way of courage and sentimentality as a form of giving into fear.
Delano Collins
I was underwhelmed by the author's cynicism and conflicting ideological views. Scarred by Vietnam, the loss of his son and being adopted, Livingston sees the human condition as crippled by fear, ignorance and inhumanity. The book reads like the sad diary of a sad man.
I think this book is mis-titled. It doesn't really help with fear or courage. It covers a bunch of different subjects the author wants to proselytise about. I think I kept reading to see if it got any better. (It wasn't a long book.)
I enjoyed this book more in the beginning than in the latter chapters. The earlier chapters felt more philosophic, the later chapters more prescriptive.
Feels like a commencement address...
A thoughtful mediation on the American culture of fear that is different from what you would expect, but you'll enjoy anyway.
Some useful wisdom in this one, and a fine book to pick up when sorting through how to live a more courageous life.
Just a platform for his political agenda - but has some really good quotes at the front of each chapter
Jazzmin Hunter
A whole book full of one really depressing statement after another.
how to develop personal virtue in the face of political fears
excellent. it's good to be made to feel uncomfortable occasionally.
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