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I'm OK - You're OK

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  16,602 ratings  ·  453 reviews
An enormously popular (7-million copies sold) and insightful classic of popular psychology based on Eric Berne’s theory of Transactional Analysis that has helped millions of people who never before felt OK about themselves find the freedom to change, to liberate their ADULT effectiveness, and to achieve joyful intimacy with the people in their lives.

Transactional analysis
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 6th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 1967)
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Debra Roberts This book made me less confused about the communication that goes around people and why they communicate what they do. Even though this book was clear…moreThis book made me less confused about the communication that goes around people and why they communicate what they do. Even though this book was clearly written in a different era. Without taking that women stuff personally as it wasn't personal to anyone at all, the book can be seen to give clear insights as to the nature of our thoughts and were those thoughts may be coming from.(less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  16,602 ratings  ·  453 reviews

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Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
About fourteen billion years ago when I was a young child, I remember my mother had this book on my parents’ bookshelf. I remember three things about it. Firstly, it was one of the few titles on that memorable shelf that I could understand at that age. I also remember the strong vivid colours of the cover, so redolent of the 70s. The final thing I remember is that it was definitely my mother’s book and not my father’s. I think in later years, although my memory is scratched from my furious effor ...more
It's rare that you come across a book that takes you six months to finish, with more or less weekly efforts to just get it over with. 274 pages later and I still can't identify Harris's thesis.

This book suffers from trying to be everything and ends up being nothing. Despite my bitter frustration from laboring through this insipid, disorganized mess, I still will give Harris the benefit of the doubt and assume this was all done in good faith and was a concerted effort to reach out to people in n
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My mom called me a hippy for reading this book, but it gave me a unique perspective on how to approach interpersonal relationships with everyone in my life. I learned lessons in the book that I use on a daily basis in parenting, being a husband, and working with others, nearly 15 years after reading it for the first time. If you half to ever talk to other humans, you should read it.
Dec 25, 2012 rated it liked it
History has not been kind to I'm Okay-You're Okay: Inter-racial marriages and pre-marital sex are not quite the taboo subjects they used to be and it's been a while since I saw the word "retards" used seriously. Indeed, the world Harris portrays seems straight out of Leave it to Beaver, which cements the whole feel of the book in the time and place it was written.

But there is much to learn here on the topic of transactional analysis and the P-A-C (parent, adult and child) within us all. Particu
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book twice before I realised its significance. It would be a huge mistake to think that this is simply a 1960's psychobabble book, understanding transactional analysis can really help you understand what other people mean, not just what they say. It's a book that should be read by anyone who has to deal with people on a day-to-day basis... and that's most of us.
Mary Lou
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Lots of good information my favorites:

When in doubt leave it out (restrain first impulse)
Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults
If you do not chart a course, you will fall back in the same spot
Love is not glazing at each other, but looking outward together in the same direction
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
If you baby a baby when he's a baby you won't have to baby him the rest of his life
People attract not that which they want,
"Another thing that makes people want to change is a slow type of despair called ennui, or boredom. This is what the person has who goes through life saying, "So what?" until he finally asks the ultimate big "So What?" He is ready to change".
Thomas A. Harris, I'm OK - You're OK

It was really a terrific book. I read it a long time ago so details are fuzzy but I loved it. I still remember the four different modes and check myself sometimes. At times I think I have been in them all.

This is a book fo
Shoubhik Banerjee
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When my friend introduced me to this book, I was pretty sceptic about it. I had never tried any book of this genre. But my love for psychology made me read this book. And the first few sentences got me riveted to this book. Although Transactional Analysis in psychiatry is as complicated as psychiatry itself, the way this book introduces the reader to the concept of Super-ego, Ego and Id, is amazingly simple. Some may say it has been oversimplified, but i think it does a good enough job to get st ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Oct 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: wall-banger
I'm still trying to figure out why a psychiatrist thought this was a good book to give a deeply depressed 12-year-old.
Gary Patton
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Harris' book was the second of the late 1960s & early ‘70s pop-psychology books about "Transactional Analysis that was written for the mass North American market. It's predecessor was "Games People Play" by Eric Berne, the father of "Transactional analysis, and Dr. Harris' mentor and teacher.

Both were run-away Best Sellers ...each holding NY Times Best Seller list records. Might this be because: "Self-help’s readers — guilt-stricken, fear-plagued, stupid-choice-making as they are — can barel
Jonathan Karmel
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book about transactional analysis is one of the best selling self-help books of all time, so I thought it was interesting just to learn about this popular theory of psychology from a generation ago.

Although this was presented as a novel theory of human behavior when it was written, it seems to be very much based on Freud's ideas about psychology. The basic idea is that as very young children, we all develop feelings of "not OK" from having bad behavior corrected by our parents, and we all l
Urban Sedlar
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
An eye-opening interpretation of interpersonal relationships; it develops a theory, free of often misunderstood psychological jargon, that anyone should be able to understand in the same manner.

The main idea put forward is that everyone consists of three separate states: the parent, the child and the adult. Parent state mimics how you perceived your own parents from birth to the age of ~5, the child state is a tape recording of your own feelings of inferiority as a child (from birth to the age o
Vanessa Princessa
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

The key message in this book:

Everybody comes into the world with the feeling that they are not okay, and that other people are okay. This is because birth is traumatic and babies are highly dependant on their caretakers. By discarding old patterns of behavior and making new positive experiences, people can arrive at a new position: I’m okay, you’re okay.

Actionable advice:

Listen to your thoughts.

Whenever you have a negative thought, try to assess how realistic
Daniel Petra
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love the title of this book. Actually the title was the inspiration for a humorous maxim that has by now become accepted in twelve step and other kinds of support groups: "I am not OK, you are not OK, and that's OK!"
This book deals with the multiple nature of human beings and it has been a great inspiration for me. For example, this book has helped me to increase my understanding of our Inner Characters and their interactions, especially our inner Mother, Father and Child. I find that this bo
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
50 years old and still relevant. written in the heat of hippy movement, anti racism uprisings and american post(neo?) imperialism and general fear of Communism. rejected by Eric Berne and called the snake oil of psycho therapy and mocked at many pop culture references and occasions and still holds it's ground as a compelling and transparent method of understanding self/other/world interactions"

It of course has a gnostic, religious and maybe a little bit 60's conservative narrative, (at least fo
Adrian Dinu
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Maybe it won't be the same for you, but to me it's opened my eyes by giving me an entirely new lens through which to look at myself. Awesome book, absolutely loved it!

It was very interesting and very insightful in dealing the 3 components of the Self: the Parent, Child and Adult, and how the interactions between these 3 determine many of our behaviours, reactions and states. The clear and beautiful explanations of each "life position" [ I'm (not) OK & You're (not) OK ] were also very useful.

Ken Henry
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was required reading in college. It has without a doubt has some insightful arguments. A elementary level of communication skills.
However, another "feel good book that misses out on the importance of evaluating ones self upon a wrong system of beliefs.
Would better be described in the self help books, " fake it till you make it." A clean shave , clean cut hair and new cloths
and now by self pronouncement your O..K. and so is everyone else.
It most certain is written from a world view of man. "
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often wonder when I read things such as these if I’m falling foul of confirmation bias in the sense that I’m finding information to support the theories portrayed. I wonder if it’s possible to delude oneself into thinking we’re closer to understanding the human psyche by believing a theory which is possibly untrue. As ever, I was fascinated by transactional analysis; such a simple yet poignant concept. Harris builds on and references Berne’s Games People Play and reiterates that we each have a ...more
Gabriel-paul Israel
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book. I have struggled for a very long time with the crossed lines of transactional analysis. I find that the diagrams in the book are wonderful for further understanding of the Parent, Adult, Child paradigm. I have been learning this paradigm for awhile without knowing where the paradigm first began. I use of the information within the paradigm has helped me grow and better understand myself. Furthermore, I think that the importance of the discussion of the labels ...more
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Snopsis, although not mine, of the Book - Over 7 Million sold per Amazon.

Transactional Analysis delineates three observable ego-states (Parent, Adult, and Child) as the basis for the content and quality of interpersonal communication. "Happy childhood" notwithstanding, says Harris, most of us are living out the Not ok feelings of a defenseless child, dependent on ok others (parents) for stroking and caring. At some stage early in our lives we adopt a "position" about ourselves and others that de
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like its theory, the book is only just ok. And this solves the problems of psychotherapy, seriously?? Such a narrow minded perspective with no combination matching those ppl who have gone through emotional neglect or childhood abuse-they might initially be in a state that they are not ok but everyone is, but they later understand that their parents were faulty too & further transform themselves making their hearts stronger leading to the stage of I'm ok but you're not ok, which is nothing but aw ...more
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Not to be dismissed as 60's pop psychology. An easy read, but makes me differenciate rational decisionmaking from acceptance of unevaluated truth statements.
R.K. Byers
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
labels almost everything, answers almost nothing.
Fiona Cunningham
Really interesting read
Deane Thomas
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
An incredible guide that will help answer a lot of questions particularly about repetitive behavior. Allows the reader to immerse themselves, and confront issues that effect their day to day lives.
Jan 15, 2019 added it
‘There are three billion persons in the world. We know very little of these persons as individuals. We scarcely think of them as individuals. For instance, do we see a country like India only as a vast, nondescript blur of many-many-people whose importance is only in the way it shifts in the international balance of power in our fight against world communism? Or can we see India as a nation far more complicated, with real persons who make up one-seventh of the world’s population, whose country c ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant and completely eye-opening. This is a self-help book about a psychotherapy breakthrough called Transactional Analysis, by which Thomas Harris teaches you to analyse the mind of the human being and then use that knowledge appropriately to really understand transactions between people and how to respond to them. In simple words, this is some of what he says:
The human being is split up into three people: Parent (which operates on an I’m OK-You’re Not OK basis), Adult (which ope
Julie Iskander
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book. Its an eye and heart opener. An easy to read book that teach you all you need to know about why you are what you are and how to be better.

The book takes about Transactional Analysis. It helps you understand how you past has formed your personality and other people too.

A must read for couples and parents too. I even wrote a blog article on it.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is an introduction into a (now fairly old) form of psychoanalysis called Transactional Analysis (TA). It builds on Freud's idea of the ego, which TA splits up into the PAC model: Parent, Adult and Child. Thanks to many personal stories the author brings us a descriptive, though old-fashioned, look into the theory and applications of TA.

The main premise of TA is that humans have three modi of being, two of which (the Parent and Child) become entrenched by the age of 5. This is because w
Cody Sexton
Jul 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Maybe one day I'll review a book that people actually care about. But that day is not today. 
Transactional analysis dileneates between three observable and distinct ego states, the Parent, the Adult, and the Child as the basis for the content and quality of interpersonal communication, and by exploring the structure of our personalities Dr. Harris believes we can find the freedom to change our lives.
I read this book in hopes of gaining a better understanding of Eric Bernes ideas but I found out
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong capitalization and mistakes in title 3 15 May 20, 2019 07:52AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Cover missing 2 10 May 19, 2019 01:03AM  
Ask Daniel Petra: I love the title of this book. It's very practical ... 1 3 May 21, 2016 09:11AM  
Book Ratings 2 26 Jan 09, 2013 12:57AM  

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Thomas Anthony Harris

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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
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“Three things make people want to change. One is that they hurt sufficiently. They have beat their heads against the same wall so long that they decide they have had enough. They have invested in the same slot machines without a pay-off for so long that they finally are willing either to stop playing, or to move on to others. Their migraines hurt, their ulcers bleed. They are alcoholic. They have hit the bottom. They beg for relief. They want to change.

Another thing that makes people want to change is a slow type of despair called ennui, or boredom. This is what the person has who goes through life saying, "So what?" until he finally asks the ultimate big "So What?" He is ready to change.

A third thing that makes people want to change is the sudden discovery that they can. This has been an observable effect of Transactional Analysis. Many people who have shown no particular desire to change have been exposed to Transactional Analysis through lectures or by hearing about it from someone else. This knowledge has produced an excitement about new possibilities, which has led to their further inquiry and a growing desire to change. There is also the type of patient who, although suffering from disabling symptoms, still does not really want to change. His treatment contract reads, "I'll promise to let you help me if I don't have to get well." This negative attitude changes, however, as the patient begins to see that there is indeed another way to live. A working knowledge of P-A-C makes it possible for the Adult to explore new and exciting frontiers of life, a desire which has been there all along but has been buried under the burden of the NOT OK.”
“Through the Adult the little person can begin to tell the difference between life as it was taught and demonstrated to him (Parent), life as he felt it or wished it or fantasied it (Child), and life as he figures it out by himself (Adult).” 8 likes
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