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Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person
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Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,147 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
Reading Notes To Myself is one of those rare experiences that comes only once in a great while.The editor who discovered the book said, "When I first read Prather's manuscript it was late at night and I was tired, but by the time I finished it, I felt rested and alive.Since then I've reread it many times and it says even more to me now."The book serves as a beginning for t ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 10th 1983 by Bantam (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 16, 2007 Debbie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: very highly recommended
Hugh Prather is a huge inspiration and motivation in my life. I have read this book more than 7 times from cover to cover, and I still go back to it everytime i feel a need for the comfort of his words.

This book has a particular significance for me. My father passed it to me. His is a 1979 edition, which he 'stumbled' upon in a bookstore he can't recall. And his love for this slim book of wisdom finally caught on me when i read it after ending my first relationship. I had skimmed through it once
Parthiban Sekar
Jun 12, 2015 Parthiban Sekar rated it really liked it
One man's struggle to look into moral obligations, societal dilemmas, temptations and fears all of us face and how to overcome all these are presented in the form of axioms by the man himself - Hugh Prather.

Though I am not much of a fan of Self-Help books, this one got me glued and I read it for days in bits and pieces. The subtle presentation with great nicety of this man's inquiry into his doings, thoughts and feelings are not just about himself but about all of us, the whole human race.

Robert Beveridge
Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself (Real People Press, 1970)

Ouch. This was an ugly experience. The worst part is, it didn't HAVE to be an ugly experience. Yet more evidence that, yes, it's all in the presentation.

Notes to Myself is a collection of observations and thoughts from Prather's journals. They range from the surprisingly insightful ("The principle seems to be: it is a fault if I am capable of it, a disease if I am not.") to the charmingly naïve ("What is the difference between `I want food'
Jul 13, 2011 Chayne rated it it was amazing
An old friend let me borrow this book before. I've only read it once, never read it since, but have still kept what i've learned from this book close to my heart. It's a collection of little sayings, ideas, or "notes" if you would, from the author. It's his notes to himself basically. It comes from such a raw, uncut perspective, that it's a work of art in it's own right. I wrote down a bunch of my favorite notes and refer to them from time to time for consolation. Some favorites include, "My tro ...more
When I picked up this book, I was expecting revelations that would make me think, challenge my preconceived notions about life, and become one of my favorites. The book has no page numbers, so I don't know exactly where I stopped reading, but I'm about halfway through. I can't read any more of this drivel. I had heard such great things about Hugh Prather and I'm sure some people find this kind of thing enlightening, but it's simply boring. Perhaps I'm more self-aware than some, but I have had ma ...more
Apr 20, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoirs
"Dislike is a function of need. I want something from you that you do not provide and so I dislike that condition and call you bad. The squirrel who lives behind my cabin becomes furious whenever I empty the garbage. I do not need his approval and his anger amuses me. But if he were my pet and I needed his cooperation then this same anger would irritate me. I do not like dislike a stone unless it is in my path, or a cloud unless it rains on me. If I feel in need of something from you then I hear ...more
Mary Karpel-Jergic
Nov 15, 2014 Mary Karpel-Jergic rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
Lovely little collection of an individual's insights into handling life and getting to know and understand oneself. Mainly, it is about coming to terms with our feelings and creating a little space where we choose how to respond to these feelings rather than just react (not a million miles away from mindful awareness). Gentle and affirming it can make you feel better after a hard day. Lots of quotes to inspire.

What I found useful was the recognition that we have a limited vocabulary with which t
Amulya Neelam
Dec 15, 2015 Amulya Neelam rated it it was amazing
This book is cleansing. I imagine the writing of this book as the mental equivalent of sitting in a sauna.

For the self-aware introspective type, a lot of these ‘musings’ might seem trite, but for the rest of us who struggle to deal with our thoughts and feelings, it’s a comfortable light. But what is true is that you have to know yourself to write this or even relate to it. This is what everybody should be doing – finding themselves. We are constantly distracting ourselves from our selves; so m
Jul 17, 2016 Kunal rated it it was amazing
Simply said the difficult to understand matters. Fearlessness displayed in mentioning the realities of life that most real people tend to not see and / or express. Virtues that matter have been truly highlighted and the one that don’t have been presented for one to highlight them for themselves. Very intriguing quadrants of societies and their practices have been well presented, if-only one wants to them-visualize. Beautiful Read. Thank You R. for introducing me to this one.
Cassie Journeay
Apr 05, 2015 Cassie Journeay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
A lovely read for food for thought. Nothing to take at face value alone, but very nice for new perspective and self awareness on things I would like to work on about myself. Will pick up again when I need a reality check, and to see if the things I have underlined have changed from idea to reality.
Feb 09, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Tami
This wasn't nearly as hippie dippy as I had expected. Though it is definitely self-help, I wasn't put off by it the way I am by a lot of pop psychobabble. Prather offers plenty of good food for thought and some surprising insights. I'm certain I'll pick this one up again.

Sujata Sahni
I am convinced that this anxiety running through my life is the tension between what I should be and what I am. My aniety does not come frm thinking about the future but from wanting to control it.

It seems to begin whenever I smugggle into my mind an expectation about how I or others should be. It is the tension between my desire to control the world and the recognition that I can't. I will be what I will be, where is the anxiety in that? Anxiety is the recognition that I may not reach the rung
Sep 02, 2009 Levi rated it liked it
A collection of one man's thoughts through life. Some of it is really insightful, others are mediocre. The nice part is there are no page numbers and no chapters; so it is easy to pick up and put down.
May 12, 2008 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Jackie by: a friend in college
This is a total and complete comfort book to me--I read it when I'm down and in need of soothing as well as when I'm happy and want to reinforce how lucky I am.
Kara Lane
Aug 20, 2014 Kara Lane rated it really liked it
Reading this book is like reading someone's journal. Hugh Prather shares his private thoughts in a refreshingly honest way.

Following are a couple of notes that found me:

(1) ...nodding my head in agreement:

"What an absurd amount of energy I have been wasting all my life trying to figure out how things 'really are,' when all the time they weren't."

(2) ...laughing at his wit:

"Now that I know I'm no wiser that anyone else, does this wisdom make me wiser?"

and (3) ...stopping in my tracks to really th
Lynn Arnsdorf
Jun 22, 2014 Lynn Arnsdorf rated it it was amazing
I first read this book in college, somewhere between 74-78, and it was life changing back then. I have since returned it many many times to gain inspiration and/or thought provoking insight into human interactions. I have purchased Prather's "Notes on Love and Courage" and also "Spiritual Notes to Myself" and I find them all to be "go to" books for early morning coffee and devotions. Devotions to what, I don't know, but I get the sense that Prather struggles with spirituality as we all do...tota ...more
Shweta Nigam
Jul 21, 2015 Shweta Nigam rated it it was ok
A quick read. But, I found it to be more like diary entries - basically is a collection of thoughts, observations and insights about all sorts of different things: life, death, family, love- insights that, in my opinion, may have been illuminating for the author himself. The author shared some thoughts but never describe the journey it took the author to get there.

Well, Notes to myself is the epitome of prose chopped up into short lines.

Would I recommend it?
If have read which really made you thi
Sep 24, 2015 Mona rated it liked it
I started reading this book a very long time ago. And despite the fact that it is a relatively short book, but it's not very easy to grasp on a first read. A lot of passages need several readings. Others just touch you at once. You would agree with some & completely disagree with others, or at least find yourself confused at those insights. You will definitely identify yourself with the reader at some level, but not necessarily agree with him. A lot of passages are just not adding anything t ...more
May 10, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In November, I found this book in a used book store in Washington D.C. It was in the poetry section, but wasn't quite poetry, wasn't quite prose. I bought it for some unknown reason, carried it back to California, put it on a shelf and forgot about it. Fast forward six months. Today I pulled it off the shelf, sat in a square of sunlight on my living room floor and read the entire book in one sitting, filling the pages with my own notes about his notes. Sometimes books come to us when we need the ...more
Mar 31, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
If you like a good quote, you'll love this little book.

At once a memoir and a self-help book, author Hugh Prather gives us his memorable and meaningful ponderings on how to live life fully and truly - as a relational and reflective human being.

This book was published in 1970, and as one of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul"-generation, I never would have come across this little gem on my own. I read the title in a magazine article and bought it on a whim. As a rather reflective and cranial (ie, "in
Ellen Walsh-SMith
Jun 27, 2016 Ellen Walsh-SMith rated it it was amazing
Such a good book. Literally i pick it up and just open to a page. Read the thought and then smile as if I am talking to myself. He says the things that echo in all peoples private thoughts, judgements, motivations, actions, questions posed to the self that is hidden. etc. So accessible, so simple, so profound, a great source of wisdom, simplicity, and honesty. Excellent.
May 22, 2016 Rajdatta rated it it was amazing
Amazing book with absolutely fundamental questions raised from self-introspection. Read this book, quickly though, but I will return to it to understand it more deeply and let it seep in in.
It contains a wealth of knowledge about self-discovery: Our thoughts, actions and behavior.. and how they can help us in our "struggle to become a person!"
Anubhav Baweja
Nov 28, 2015 Anubhav Baweja rated it it was amazing
Notes to myself is something we all think of, but, don't dare to write down... Hugh Prather has very simply ensured that we face our feelings on a piece of paper. A good and easy read and really good for someone who wants to read something meaningful without it being too heavy.
Aug 29, 2014 Bindiya rated it it was amazing
One of my fav go-to books whenever I wish to introspect or at times when things around seem too overwhelming. Prather's musings on life are simple yet meaningful. There is a certain timelessness and simple wisdom in this book that aptly applies on varied life situation. :)
Annmarie (Annie) Kostyk
May 29, 2014 Annmarie (Annie) Kostyk rated it it was amazing
This is the second time I've read this book. It's an honest account of what someone's actually thinking and his reaction to his world. It really makes you think how different things are from the way you see and how they actually are.
Oct 21, 2015 Camille rated it it was amazing
A super easy read to help you get through the bad days. Cute sweet tidbits of advice on life that I highlighted and marker all over my own copy of the book. I still look back to it for reminders
Peter Podbielski
May 17, 2015 Peter Podbielski rated it it was amazing
For 35 years Notes to Myself sat on my desk, got moved to far corners of the world, and at last was rediscovered. It has been sage joy relishing Prather's words, thoughts, and emotions.
Emily Dean
Jan 25, 2016 Emily Dean rated it it was ok
The more of this book I read, the less I enjoyed it. At first it was fairly moving, but then he started to sound egotistical and self righteous. I finished it, but grudgingly.
Oct 16, 2013 Puja rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
I read this book as a teenager, and was visibly moved by its simplicity and wisdom. I didn't realize it then, but 'Notes to Myself' was my first introduction to the self-help genre which I detested for the most part of my adult life until a few years ago - it is now a staple diet in my reading menu. What I liked about Hugh Prather's memoir was that I could pick it up at bedtime, open any random page, reflect on his reflections, and resolve to make some changes in my life or simply my attitude to ...more
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Hugh Prather, Jr. was a writer, minister, and counselor, most famous for his first book, Notes to Myself. , which was first published in 1970 by Real People Press. It has sold over 5 million copies, and has been translated into ten languages.
Together with his second wife, Gayle Prather, whom he married in 1965, he wrote other books, including The Little Book of Letting Go; "I Touch the Earth, The
More about Hugh Prather...

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“All my life, I have made it complicated, but it is so simple. I love when I love. And when I love, I am myself.” 70 likes
“I don't need a "reason" to be happy. I don't have to consult the future to know how happy I feel now.” 40 likes
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