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Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  816 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Based on scientific research, this groundbreaking study from the frontiers of psychology and medicine offers startling new insight into the healing powers and medical benefits of forgiveness. Through vivid examples (including his work with victims from both sides of Northern Ireland’s civil war), Dr. Fred Luskin offers a proven nine-step forgiveness method that makes it po ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 21st 2003 by HarperOne (first published December 24th 2001)
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May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
this book is really amazing and it had some unexpected benefits. i was trying to figure out how to forgive intentionally when it was really hard for me, instead of just letting it happen naturally over time. this book taught me how to do that, but also, and more powerfully, it gave me the skill of actually forgiving while something i don't really like is going on, instead of letting it bother me in the first place. unbelievable!

even better, i learned how to forgive myself, which has allowed me
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun.

To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over
your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the
last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving
back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.

The chief drawback is what you are wolfing down is yourself.

The skeleton at the feast is you."

Frederick Buechner

This quote says it all.

Luskin helped me to se
What is forgiveness?
'Forgiveness is the feeling of peace that emerges as you take your hurt less personally, take responsibility for how you feel, and become a hero instead of a victim in the story you tell. Forgiveness is the experience of peace in the present moment. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it changes the present. Forgiveness means that even though you are wounded you choose to hurt and suffer less. Forgiveness means you become a part of the solution. Forgiveness is the under
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made my teeth hurt. The author seemed to think his audience was a bunch of inattentive six-year olds, there was so much repetition. Every time I came across the expression "don't rent this or that any space in your mind" - and this happened every six pages or so - I was tempted to quit. He beats you over the head with example and after example, and he uses stupid and unnecessary acronyms. However bad a writer Luskin is, though, he has excellent advice on the whys and wherefores of forg ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, but I felt like he was trying too hard to prove that his "classes" were worth taking...and blah blah. He did make very good points on forgiving, anger, etc...but left me even more confused because he tells personal stories of 5 different people and how they struggled with forgiving, but once they took his "class, lecture" they felt much better and relieved. See where am I going. I would've liked him to just get straight to the point.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good book to shift a perspective on how one sees hurt and pain. It helped me to be more aware of 1. what is in my control and what is not, 2. When I expect something from someone (without discussing the involved expectations) I sign someone else up for something that they have not agreed to. They might agree if we discuss but no way to know. Then when the expectation is broken, it is very easy to get hurt. 3. Not taking things personally. The book has good exercises- focusing on positi ...more
Melissa Yael Winston
Some worthwhile information about how holding a grudge affects us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Most evidence was presented as anecdotes, and after a point it got confusing what each person was upset about and what he/she learned from forgiveness training. Also the acronyms seemed a bit campy and took away from the seriousness of the message.

The chapter on self-forgiveness seemed like an afterthought. But in my experience a large part of not being able to forgive others is intertwined
The content of this book was so disorganized. And like all self-help and business books, it all could have been said in a much shorter time. In fact, I even found the main points towards the end and wished I'd just read those. You can also find them here:

I liked the metaphors Luskin uses, such as seeing our grudges as space we could be using that is being rented out to old grievances. My only remaining question that I wish I could pose to Mr. Luskin is this:
Ross Aalgaard
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a good read, although the writing is not all that great. What makes it good is the timeless truth regarding forgiveness and the practical ways suggested for people live within forgiveness. I will recommend it to others.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This is an amazing book, worth reading and applying. It is not about condoning other people's behavior; it's about moving past it. Do you want to let go of thoughts based on past wounds? Fred Luskin will show you how.

He tells you how to embody a philosophy of forgiveness. The main point is to own your own narrative, but have this narrative be healthy. It may not be easy to get there, so the first steps may be small.

The author quotes the later Stoic authors directly in chapter epigraphs: Epictetu
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
I have never read such clear, compelling reasons to forgive (hint: for yourself and your own health and happiness). He gives real, concrete steps to forgiving. One thing that really struck me was his explanation of unenforceable rules. i.e., I can demand someone treat me kindly, but there is nothing I can do to make them. But when I hope they will treat me kindly, I put the emphasis on my response which I can control not on their actions which I can't control. He also does a great
Sarah Blizzard
As far as forgiveness is concerned, I believe we can always use more help learning best practices that aid in letting go. Through the years I’ve had ample reasons to hold resentments and it’s been a detrimental practice. I’ve also been one who needs to be forgiven, and that’s why I checked out this book. The author has done his homework. He has created acronyms to remember techniques that can help shape our thought processes, and his ultimate goal is to free the reader to live a healthy, full li ...more
Nguyen Luan
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoy a better quality of life. This book will show you everything you want in your life, I'd recommend it to anyone. I have extracted from the book some paragraphs that I like best in order to introduce this good book to the readers. You can read these interesting quotes prior to making a decision to read the whole book....!

"We choose forgiveness because..."

"These exercises give best results when practiced often."

Thanks and Wish you and your family health and success.
Silvia Alice Botelho
This book was recommended to me by my therapist and I think it is just excellent. We often listen in churches or in life that we have to forgive (what) but not how to forgive. Dr. Luskin walks us slowly through the process. I love the exercises and the reminders along the way.

Forgiveness is a process, and I love the pace of the book. I've learnt a lot and I can say I am a healthier person after working with the exercises and guidance of Dr. Luskin on this book.

The only caveat is the grammar er
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had heard of the Stanford Forgiveness Project and it seemed intriguing so I got this book but honestly I don't know how many people he's going to be able to help with this book that was so tedious and repetitive it was almost physically painful to read. I forgive him for being a terrible writer but I don't know that I can recommend anyone else subject themself to what should have been a one page brochure. Like this book was so bad it might make me angry if I hadn't just learned how to forgive ...more
A few good mental exercises and interesting discussion of the meaning/definition of certain aspects of forgiveness, but lacked useful information about productive responses to the very real damage that can be inflicted on or by people we love. Relationships aren't just magically repaired by not "allowing [someone] to live rent-free in your head". I am also curious as to what exactly is wrong with *not* forgiving certain acts, if the unforgiveness does not impede someone from functioning normally ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
-when you hold grievances, you give power to people who hurt you and give up your agency
-the stories you tell yourself and others matter- they become the way you see yourself. If you tell victim narratives, you believe them. You limit your agency. Be the hero of your own story.
-forgiving is reclaiming your power
-hurt comes from trying to impose the way you think something should be onto a situation, trying to control what you can't. (Ni > Se)
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is certainly a lot of useful wisdom to be gleaned here, if you can wade through the pedantic and repetitive bloviating of the narration. If we could cut this down to maybe 30% of its original length, we'd have a very workable pamphlet. I especially recommend reading the bits that are 70-80% into the book (the HEAL method, which is when the author finally gets down to the nuts and bolts of forgiveness techniques). The Nine Steps are also helpfully summarized in the last chapter.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book beneficial and providing a much newly needed perspective. And would recommend.

The book was not terribly long; however, I found 80% blah and a waste. Leaving 20% fantastic and very applicable to forgiveness and self reviewing.
I also felt it a tad all over the place and not structured and/or organized as so many of the self improvements books (steps to follow or time phases of the process)
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The message is good, the research is probably solid, but the writing is unpleasant. The author seems to reiterate the same points over and over, and throw in a few definitions to embellish some easily communicated ideas. I would say this book can be done as a handout, and maybe give a few examples. Really had a hard time finishing it. As I fingered through the later chapters, not much new food to chew. Good concepts, a waste of time to read the entire book.
Pat Jennings
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book offers a true shift for forgiving others and one’s self. I will keep this book for reference and will practice what I learned. This is a well researched process. I am thankful that this book is so much more than the usual self help book.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Useful message though the writing is repetitive. If you meditate or study Buddhism at all, some of his message will sound familiar. If you read nothing else, see the chapter on unenforceable rules. That really opened my eyes.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tremendously helpful.

My therapist has been telling me for MONTHS not to spend my energy being mad about things I can't change, but this book finally gave me the science of why, and the impetus to make a change in how I react to the people around me when they hurt me.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you been fuming about things that have happened years ago? Waiting for justice and apologies? How much longer do you want to be living the past? This book will help you move on!
Jessica Cheung
Good principles and process, but pretty slow to get to the point and meanders a lot.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: em-mussar
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Everyone can benefit from reading this and practicing his steps. Well written easy to understand.
If I'm interpreting the intent of the book correctly, then I think a lot of the ideas were good. However, the delivery was really victim-blamey and off-putting, so there's that.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worthwhile read, if a bit redundant at certain points.
Chet Taranowski
Even though it is almost 20 years old, this is a pretty good and very practical self help book. I would recommend it to anyone dealing with forgiveness issues.
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It's a book of lots of forgiveness.. 1 5 Jul 08, 2009 08:40PM  

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In the Forgive for Good workshop and class series Dr. Frederic Luskin presents the forgiveness training methodology that has been validated through six successful research studies conducted through the Stanford Forgiveness Projects.

Prior to the current surge in research interest the importance of practicing forgiveness was extolled in both religious and psychological traditions. Recently, Dr. Lusk

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“forgiveness helps people control their emotions so they maintain good judgment. They do not waste precious energy trapped in anger and hurt over things they can do nothing about. Forgiveness acknowledges we can’t change the past. Forgiveness allows us not to stay stuck in the past.” 4 likes
“Dr. Luskin lifts forgiveness out of the purely psychological and religious domains and anchors it in science, medicine, and health. This book is vitally needed.” —Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Healing Words “Simply the best book on the subject, adding sophistication and depth to our instinctive but sometimes uncertain understanding of how forgiveness heals both those forgiven and those who forgive. Luskin’s research also shows how modern psychology can enrich traditional moral teachings. His book will stand as a modern classic in psychology.” —Michael Murphy, cofounder of the Esalen Institute and author of Future of the Body “Combining groundbreaking research with a proven methodology, Forgive for Good is an accessible and practical guide to learning the power of forgiveness.” —John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus “Straightforward, sincere, and essential.” —Dave Pelzer, author of A Child Called It and Help Yourself “A rare and marvelous book—warm, loving, solidly researched, and wise. It could change your life.” —George Leonard, author of Mastery and president of the Esalen Institute “Dr. Luskin’s wise and clinically astute methods for finding forgiveness could not be more timely … a sure-handed guide through the painful emotions of hurt, sadness and anger towards a resolution that makes peace with the past, soothes the present, and liberates the future.” 0 likes
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