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The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  914 ratings  ·  94 reviews
If you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP), you’re in good company. HSP’s make up some 20 percent of the population, individuals like you who both enjoy and wrestle with a finely tuned nervous system. You often sense things that others ignore such as strong smells, bright lights, and the crush of crowds. Even the presence of strangers in your immediate vicinity can cause yo ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by New Harbinger Publications (first published September 15th 2004)
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N.K. Layne
Mar 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Zeff wrote this book from a deeply personal place-- which is why I have to give it one star. I am not Zeff, at all, so I did not relate to this book. This does not mean that I an not "HSP", I hit all the characteristics for this personality type, but I do not relate to the world like Zeff, regardless.

Zeff's spirituality dominated this book from page one. This frustrated me but then when I got to the concluding chapter which was directly *about* spirituality, I no longer had any patience. The ma
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
A "highly sensitive person" is defined as a person with a finely tuned nervous system who has trouble screening out stimuli and can be easily overwhelmed by noise, crowds, and time pressure.

I went into this expecting a bit more than "the basics", which may explain why I was slightly disappointed. If I read a book about "essential camping skills" I would expect a bit more than the obvious "bring a tent" and "don't forget to pack food", which is basically what this book offered. Wear earplugs to
Corinne Campbell
Dec 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
After my psychologist suggested I am an HSP, with sensory issues that feed into anxiety, I was curious to read some more. Ted Zeff's book was rated highly on GoodReads and Amazon, so I downloaded the Kindle version.

Unfortunately I've rarely come across a more poorly written, patronising book, made worse because of the amount of pseudoscience promoted throughout. (Homeopathy, Ayurvda healing, float tanks...)

Rather than supporting HSPs, this book encourages them to hide from the world. It's based
Feb 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
If you are a highly sensitive person, you'd better avoid this book. It managed to achieve the exact opposite of what it was trying to do: instead of providing you with guidance and soothing calm, it irritated the hell out of me.

I don't have any objections to meditation. Good stuff. Eating healthy? Yes, of course. Less stress? Wonderful idea! But apart from the fact that all of these are obvious and actually just as relevant to any highly sensitive, moderately sensitive and insensitive human bein
Zach Harper
Apr 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Highly patronizing, and written with a large amount of victim blaming. Apologize for being sensitive when you ask someone to be considerate or when dealing with abusive behaviour? Talk about gas lighting. No thanks. You have to be kidding me.
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
If you are an HSP (you know who you are: you don't go to the movies because you are assaulted by the popcorn smell; You don't go to certain stores, because the flourescent lighting makes you nauseated or triggers a migraine) read this book. It will make a lot of sense. If you are not one, you might think that it is just craziness.

I liked this book because it is the only book I have read on this topic that doesn't go overboard with how great it is to be an HSP. At best, being an HSP is akin to be
Andee Marley
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is life-changing for me. LIFE-CHANGING PEOPLE!!!!! I'm am not alone! The HSP guide helped me understand myself and my relationships better....I was on the right track, but this certainly fleshes it out.

I have included a link to the HSP test to take if you think you might be one.

Also, here is a podcast for HSP's that is helpful..
Stacy Curro
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting, but the people that need to be reading this are not. Should be required reading for managers and HR.
Carson hall
Sep 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
How can a book possibly go from five stars to one star??? Well, I shall explain it: As a HSP and an INFP, I am about as sensitive as they come. I started off liking this book, even though to most HSP's I imagine most of the advise is obvious, but it's always nice to know one is on the "right track". I was really put off by the comment in the Health chapter of this book. The author writes "(with regards to a vegetarian diet).it's better to be a nonjudgmental meat eater than a judgmental vegetaria ...more
Mary Claire
It's good to know that you're not crazy or defective just highly sensitive, but, I didn't really get much help from this book. I have pretty much learned how to take care of myself because of my sensitivities and have adapted over the years. The advice is mostly new age and holistic types of things, such as deep breathing, herbs, meditation, yoga. Just give me a valium.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was shitty and repetitive, but helpful in that it had a lot of good tips. Aron's book is much, much better overall.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I am an HSP and have enjoyed educated myself about the trait - mostly learning to be in a world that feels intense some of the time. Loud voices, startling sounds, anger, and aggressiveness, in particular, really overwhelm me. Reading about all the ways an HSP can be sensitive gave me a bit of anxiety, honestly. Thankfully, I sleep like a rock and not all the book’s traits applied to be.

Learning, though, always helps us understand. I hope I came out of this book with a better understanding of ot
Julie L
Dec 01, 2014 rated it liked it
While I hadn't liked the original HSP book by Aron (I skimmed it briefly and put it away) this one was interesting enough that I read nearly all of it and determined that I should give the Aron book another go. That was its value--it was interesting enough for me to give this topic another try. It has a lot of practical tips--some of them obvious--but many of them helpful. The author uses some laughable alliteration, and you get an overall feeling of fussiness from him (I would never take the HS ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was written from the very personal perspective of the author, who is specifically an introverted, low-sensation seeking HSP with a strong bent for spirituality, pseudoscience, and woo.

There were several instances of very poor analysis and bad examples that made me angry.

I only read this book because it was recommended by a therapist, and it strongly reinforced my decision to find a new therapist.
Oct 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
wow- incredible insights about my husband and son. This helped me better understand them and how I can be more supportive to a highly sensitive person. Will definately read more books on this topic. Now to get my husband and son to read it.....
Vicki B
Jul 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Some good points. Not quite as helpful as I thought it would be, but I'm sure I'll refer back to it from time to time.
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've read about the highly
Sensitive person. Thank god I finally have some
Understanding of myself! Loved it. Practical tools for surviving daily life as a HSP.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I never used to read books like these but lately I have been wandering into a section of the library which I never used to and finding such gems which I can't resist giving a try. I saw this book and for a moment was embarrassed to pick up but I did and luckily the page I gave a read was extremely useful for a person like me who is extremely sensitive to all kinds of stimuli. The book has a test for you to identify if you are a Highly Sensitive Person and then suggestions of how to make the best ...more
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm mixed on this book. On the one hand, it is full of good information (well, mostly good information from my perspective and information-base), and the author clearly wrote it in earnest. On the other hand, and this could just be my biases talking, the gratuitous use of the phrase "highly sensitive person" seemed to positively drip with victim mentality.

The long and short of the book: Some people have nervous systems which make them more sensitive to stimulus than others. This can cause vario
Rebecca Stonehill
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Utterly revelatory!
Lora Temelkova
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great tips and insight into the world of the HSP. As an HSP myself it's been quite a relief to read about similar experiences and ways to work with that.
Courtney Bowling
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was disappointing, after having read Elaine Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person. First off, the book was written in a somewhat condescending and pedantic tone, not to mention that the author drones on and on about his own religious beliefs.
Second, the book is heavy on pseudoscience. The author demonizes non-organic foods, promotes homeopathy, and seems to write off Western medicine altogether.
Third, there is little to no useful info for high sensation-seekers or those with more extroverted
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
A change of pace from Aron's writings. A man writing does tend to do that.

The information is valuable. My problem was I'd already learned most of this the hard way. Had I found this in my youth, or even in the early days of discovering my HSP-ness, it would have proved a great aid.

Thus, I do recommend this to any HSP or someone who wants to understand. Non-HSP's likely won't "get it" even when they are willing to try, but I applaud any efforts to assist us in our "unique" perspectives on life.

I was able to read this book fairly quickly because a lot of the advice was already familiar to me. Your mileage may vary, depending on where you are on your journey of living well as an HSP. I suspected this was the case so checked it out from the library. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn enough to justify the time spent reading.

Some of the advice is a little dated since this book was written 14 years ago, mostly around diet, and after reading Why We Sleep recently I will also disagree t
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book made me understand why I be so edgy when things annoy me; why sounds and someone snoring keeps me up at night. Unfortunately, I can't soundproof my home like the author suggests. I do have the feeling that a lot of people would consider themselves "highly sensitive" after reading this book.
Marie Z. Johansen
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
If you are HSP - this is a good book to begin with
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you are a HSP this is an amazing tool. It was eye-opening to say the least.
Marije Van
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
A book with a lot of useful tips.
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Much better than the book by Aron, though she seems to be a mentor for him. Was just easier to read, and more functional. A few good insights too.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Found this a difficult read - it dragged - so I gave up. I think 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking' is the best book on this topic.
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