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The Flinch

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  5,398 ratings  ·  337 reviews
A book so important we refuse to charge for it.

Julien Smith has delivered a surprise, a confrontation, a book that will push you, scare you and possibly stick with you for years to come.

The idea is simple: your flinch mechanism can save your life. It shortcircuits the conscious mind and allows you to pull back and avoid danger faster than you can even imagine it’s there.
Kindle Edition, 38 pages
Published 2011
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,398 ratings  ·  337 reviews

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Jun 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
"Words are wind", says a proverb in a popular contemporary fantasy series. Here we have solid evidence supporting that saying.

The Flinch is a pamphlet on the topic of "face your fear". Specifically, "face your fear of doing things, where there is no significant downside to attempting those things." Which is good advice in general, but which does not automatically turn a pamphlet offering said advice into a good work.

I keep saying pamphlet becaus The Flinch, sadly, is not a book. It has neither t
Kurt Gielen
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
To me this was "Poke the box" rewritten. Until I came to the end where he mentioned that "the goal isn't to get used to he pain. It's to understand that pain is something you can survive." And the next day I broke 2 bones in my hand skiing and realized why he wrote this book: for the last year I have been working to take my life to the next level with great success, finance, health, personal development, career and relationships all have made massive progress towards the goal. And now this happe ...more
Emma Sea
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
The cover copy reads, "A book so important we refuse to charge for it." The last page of this book tells us "That's why we made this book free." However, it cost me $3.02 on Amazon i.e. not free.¹ And it ends at 42% (the rest is samples of other books)

I like the flinching exercises, and overall this is a pretty good motivational read, that lasts the length of a long commute or a lunch break. Undeniably, though, I would have been a happier bunny if it was free.

¹ which does raise the possibility t
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Another E-book that is really an essay. I saw this on Twitter and since it was free, picked it up.

I think your reaction depends on a lot on your worldview, perspective, place in life, etc. Reading the reviews you can see that some people thought it was BS while others found it very helpful.

I think it is a little bit of both. If you need a pep talk to get you out of your rut and start thinking about achieving the things you have always claimed you would, this can be a helpful book.

I think it can
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm inspired to stop reading free Kindle books about inspiration for a while. ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I'm giving this as few stars as possible.
The basic message of the book is fine, good even... it's good to face your fears.
But you really don't need a whole book to say that.
The main message I received from reading this, was: People who don't flinch are brilliant and great and brave and heroic and accomplish great things with their lives, and if you're a "flincher" you are useless and pathetic, you won't get anywhere with your life and you need to change.
And that's not a good message. Take co
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was okay. If you haven't read anything before about facing your fears and doing it anyway (good book by Susan Jeffers), or any of Seth Godin's material on the lizard brain, then this might be a good introductory lesson. It is not totally without value.

You will have to be able to look past being talked down to when you simply choose to not participate in the exercises suggested to help you get past the flinch. The tone is somewhat reminiscent of those annoying emails that promise catac
Dimitris Hall
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Quote from near the end of the book: "At this point in most books, the authors promise you that if you do what they say, you’re sure to succeed.
In this case, you’re sure to fail. To be rejected. To discover wrong paths. To see what
humiliation is like, firsthand".

Me, after reading the above:I don't like it, it sounds dangerous...

"You’re sure to live.
And then yes, maybe, you might reach your goals.
Would you have it any other way?"

So, is The Flinch a book or not? In theory, it is; to me, all it tak
Javier Lorenzana
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Precise, practical, and poetic. This book is a reminder for those who have forgotten the value of pushing their boundaries. It provides a very short yet confrontational message: we need to suffer to grow.

The flinch happens right before the moment of growth: schoolwork, cold showers, exercise. It manifests in fear, doubt, rationality, and escape. We must not only push ourselves beyond it but flinch forward instead.

It's basically a practical version of 'War of Art' (Pressfield).
Nick Lo
Dec 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Short version: Have a cold shower. Done.

Long version: Even on skim reading I just thought this was a load of pretentious bollocks. Even the opener shows how strained the use of the "flinch" metaphor is:

"It's about an instinct - the flinch - and why mastering it is vital. This book is about how to stop flinching. It's about facing pain."

So are we mastering the flinch (i.e. controlling and using it) or just stopping it? The author is correct though: If I stop flinching I will have to learn to face
Kilian Markert
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: action
A reality check on why it is essential to overcome your fears and resistance.
Quick read, but can lead to commiting to a life of not being held back by discomfort.

Fully recommended.
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ipad, non-fiction

“The flinch is your real opponent, and information won’t help you fight it. It’s behind every unhappy marriage, every hidden vice, and every unfulfilled life. Behind the flinch is pain avoidance, and dealing with pain demands strength you may not think you have.” —loc 51/1303

“Before the bicycle helmet, the seat belt, and the bulletproof vest, there was the flinch.” “It’s one of the few instincts you’re born with, and keep, all your life.”—loc 84/1303

It isn’t ‘R
Jul 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
The premise for this book is that everyone flinches or doesn't take chances. We start out as children bravely doing things that adults flinch at. But over time we learn to flinch and it soon becomes the norm. We aren't courageous or daring anymore. We flinch at things that would be good for us. We settle into a routine and never deviate. The author takes the reader on a path to courageous, flinch-less living. If we can accustom ourselves to a bit of pain and stress we will have better lives beca ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Today, right now, eliminate all excuses from your vocabulary. Refuse to mince words or actions. Refuse a scar-free life." (42)

This little book talks about how we build up defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from real or imagined pain. Because of it, we flinch away every time something new or challenging comes along.

The second half of the book is actually just advertising for other books, with short excerpts. I guess you could consider it an extended "for further reading" list. The author's
Jan 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book tries to be didactic and comes up woefully short by the author's assumption that he has mastered this incredible talent that no one else has thought of before and also all of his readers are idiots who won't be able to understand these basic concepts without (1) burning themselves on a stove (2) dropping their mobile devices on the ground (3) breaking a mug?? (4) taking cold showers

Meanwhile, anyone who has ever had a basic conversation about anxiety already knows what they have to do
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Flinch.
A good and resonating title. Appropriate for...... bringing atention to the flinch. :)
The writer gave a name to a feeling, to a barrier, to a stopper-of-life. It is the flinch. The feeling everyone feels at some point and at some situations. The feeling that will make you pass on some things where you could go forward, where you could try something and where you could get a new experiance and new information. Be it about the world around you or the world within you.

The first half of
Ravi Sinha
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
It's a small, feel-good book; basically about how to overcome some irrational fear/ flinches preventing you from doing something you would like to do. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

'Focus your energy on the fight that matters'
'Without scars, there is no evidence or strong memory'
'You can't settle for reaching other people's limits. You have to reach yours'
'The anxiety of the flinch is almost always worse than the pain itself'
'Start doing the opposite of your habits'
'Judgment and fear wil
Erik Marcus
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
A good idea and potentially life changing, but this could have been executed just as powerfully as a 2000-3000 word magazine article. But yeah, Smith has sold me on the value of discovering the actions you fear doing, and "flinching forward" until they're complete. ...more
Jan 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: monkeytraining
I read this because it was both free and short.

This was a mistake.

It's all glib, empty platitudes, ill-thought-through metaphors, and shallow, even bad, ideas.

Also, half the pages of the thing are actually ads for other books.
Phil Larson
Dec 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
I feel stupider for reading this hedonistic Oprah trash.
Alejandro Alvarez
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Sometimes we feel like if we were getting stuck in life. Our challenges start to look overwhelmed, and we are not viewing any progress. But this is just part of the process, needs to hurt in order to evolve.
The flinch is a pocketbook in which its main task is to give motivation. This book does remind you who is the enemy and why most of the population are afraid of it. Julien describes the flinch as a sense that is trying to protect you. It was the sense that put your body running by default wh
Navid Baharlooie
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This little book encourages us to do whatever we feel is uncomfortable, because we're only as strong as our weakest moments. And doing the uncomfortable is key to widen our circle of comfort.

The author Julian Smith writes that, "In a fight, there is a fundamental difference between boxers and everyone else. The guys who have trained are different. If you hit them, they don’t flinch. It takes practice to get there, but if you want to fight, you have no choice." In short, no one is fearless. Some
Glenn Schmelzle
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reminded me of The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. Poignant, even if it's brief. A reminder that we have to do the things that we don't feel like doing. ...more
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Papia said 4 stars soo here we are
Ben Weaver
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Not a book, but made me feel inspired and that all that matters. Also if you just look up "the flinch Julien Smith" you will find it in a PDF form for free. ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
In my review I'm not going to review just the book. But also the ridiculous people who rated it low.

The book is truly a great book as it serves as an in-your-face reminder we all need. Although, if someone wanted to distill its message, it'd be - "face your fear and do it anyway" but that'd be grossly unfair to the author. If all we need are one-liner wisdom, then a good chunk of human communication is pointless. If all I needed was a one-liner to see my mistakes and run my life as I should to r
Indy Hart
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Flinch was an entertaining and enriching book and I am glad to have read it. I really enjoyed the light, fast-paced, and fun style of Julien Smith.

I have touched on the subject of fear in my blog and I had planned to circle back again to it again. The Flinch gave me some new inspiration, physiological experiments, and a different perspective for a familiar topic.

I enjoyed the book enough to devour its entire contents in one sitting. I like to imagine that Smith had originally written more, t
Patrik Laurell
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
A short and at times insightful read. The ideas in the book are not concepts I have never heard before, but the way they are presented gave me a few epiphanies regarding my own life. I do like that the book is written in a quite provocative manner. Since you have probably heard the ideas before, what the book does is not so much teach you new things as shove old knowledge in your face in a kind of triggering way. This is not a book I would read for enjoyment. It calls for honest introspection an ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
First of all, yes, this is good book. Yes, it makes you get up and just do whatever you have to do. Yes, it is inspiration.
The thing is, I don't know whether this applies to everybody. People who are on the wrong path because they chose it themselves might just keep on there after reading this book, as I feel that, for people who do not have a strong moral background, this book may entice some behaviour that will, ultimately, not be the most correct. Feel free to disagree, though.

[read it becaus
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! It is definitely on my top 10 of all time and maybe even top 5. Of course that is probably due to the fact that I do flinch and if I could stop the world would improve drastically for me! Loved it! Free on Kindle and super-fast to read. Highly recommended! Just finished for the fourth or fifth time and will definitely be back.
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