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Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

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Nathaniel Branden's book is the culmination of a lifetime of clinical practice and study, already hailed in its hardcover edition as a classic and the most significant work on the topic.  Immense in scope and vision and filled with insight into human motivation and behavior, The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem is essential reading for anyone with a personal or professional interest in self-esteem. The book demonstrates compellingly why self-esteem is basic to psychological health, achievement, personal happiness, and positive relationships.  Branden introduces the six pillars—six action-based practices for daily living that provide the foundation for self-esteem—and explores the central importance of self-esteem in five areas: the workplace, parenting, education, psychotherapy, and the culture at large.  The work provides concrete guidelines for teachers, parents, managers, and therapists who are responsible for developing the self-esteem of others.  And it shows why-in today's chaotic and competitive world-self-esteem is fundamental to our personal and professional power.

341 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1994

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About the author

Nathaniel Branden

130 books479 followers
Nathaniel Branden started reading Ayn Rand's "Fountainhead" in the summer of '44 as he was introduced to it by his sister and her giggling friends.

He met Rand in California where he attended college for psychology. She responded to his fan letter.

"Atlas Shrugged" was dedicated to Branden and he became her intellectual heir. The two carried on an affair, though each was married. After a dispute, they parted and never publicly reconciled.

Branden has written several books on psychology and self-esteem. He practiced psychotherapy in Los Angeles.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 718 reviews
Profile Image for BuenoBomb aka Andre Bueno.
126 reviews121 followers
August 8, 2015
Great book and such a quick read.

- The higher our self esteem: the less we need to prove ourselves, we strive for higher goals, we are more ambitious.
- The more inclined we are to treat others with respect.
- The joy of life comes from being better than you were yesterday, delighting in the true joys of life, and not in comparison to others
- The joy is being who you are and not in trying to be better than someone else

1. The practice of living consciously
- Being present
- Living mindfully
- Our mind is our basic tool of survival
- Self esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves
- Behaving with accordance with what you see and know
- Discerning between facts, interpretations, and emotions
- Being concerned to know where I am relative to my goals and projects, and whether I am succeeding or failing
- Are my actions in alignment with my purpose?
- Getting feedback and receptive to new knowledge
- Committed to lifelong learning and growth
- Use sentence stems to become more conscious and aware of your life situation
- If I were more conscious, how would I treat other people?
2. The practice of self acceptance
- Willingness to accept what you do, who you are, and what you enjoy
- It's not judging your behavior but merely accepting that your actions just are
- What is, is
- It's a matter of accepting and forgiving yourself for your unwanted behaviors
- Accepting what is, is the precondition to change
3. The practice of self responsibility
- Embrace your responsibility
- Take self responsibility for your emotional and intelectual existence
- You are responsible for the situation you are in at any given moment
- No one is coming to save you
4. The practice of self assertiveness
- Honor your wants, needs, and values and seeking appropriate forms of expression in our reality
- Leap into the game
- Express yourself
- Confront, rather than evade, the challenges of life
- Be kind and cooperate with others
5. The practice of living purposefully
- Set goals and work towards them
- Live intently
- Living purposefully involves the following four steps:
1. Taking responsibility to live purposefully
2. Identifying the actions needed to achieve one's goals
3. Monitor behavior to check to see if you are in alignment with your goals
4. Paying attention to see to the outcome of ones actions to see if they are leading to where one wants to go
- The practice of personal integrity: When your ideals and standards match- you have integrity
- Integrity means congruence

1. Face and accept your reality
2. Seek to understand why you did what you did
3. Acknowledge explicitly to the other party what you have done and mention your understanding of the consequences
4. We take any actions to correct our behavior
5. We commit to not repeating the same thing again

- One must examine their life in order to determine if they are acting in a role that is in their best interest, questioning the assumptions and beliefs behind their actions
- If we examine our lives we will notice there is a discrepancy between integrity we practice in different situations
- The principle of reciprical causation: behaviors that generate good self esteem, are good self esteem
- Love tied to performance is not love, it is a form of manipulation
Profile Image for Arastoo.
51 reviews72 followers
October 11, 2014
A life-saving and life-changing book! If you're a self-studier, read this book. It's as if you were sitting and talking to him. He gives very comprehensive lists, questions and exercises to practice! Live for yourself ! You will see the difference in yourself when you finish this book, it is the first step to changing your ideas about yourself, and how you treat others in kind and how they treat you!
Profile Image for Mario Tomic.
159 reviews309 followers
March 2, 2014
Amazing book, I listened thought the full audio version in one go. Material is very easy to understand and the part I liked the most was about taking responsibility for your life. Favorite quote: "No one is coming to rescue me. If I don't DO something, nothing is going to change."
Profile Image for Ladan.
184 reviews344 followers
August 30, 2019
Quite an eye-opener ... It is like someone slaps you in the face, making you wake up from a long coma reminding you that NO ONE IS COMING... you and solely YOU are the one who is the origin of any change, revolution, revision, reform, a better high-quality version of anything you might wish for. And this is feasible through the utilization of the six pillars...through perseverance...through sticking to these six pillars. I wish this book was taught at school instead of a bunch of nonsense religious textbooks...
The first 66 pages are much like an introduction which could be somehow boring, containing some repetitive stuff. I really enjoyed the detailed examples and clarifications provided for each pillar, and I also admire Branden's courage to share his personal experiences regarding each matter. A 31-week practical program is provided at the end of the book which seems like a reminder to evaluate our consciousness and commitment to the six pillars.
I wish Branden was alive to make an update to the last chapters. R.I.P Nathaniel....
Profile Image for Jacob Colangelo.
5 reviews1 follower
July 1, 2017
This book had been recommended to me over and over as one of the best self-help books on the market.

That being said, it did provide wonderful, concrete advice and insight into self-esteem and ways to improve it. It also includes the author's original form of (kind of) self-therapy, sentence completion exercises. He provides a comprehensive 31-week exercise program at the end of the book, which is extremely helpful for people looking for practical help in developing their self-esteem. Aside from the practical, Nathaniel Branden is an experienced psychologist who makes a point of providing examples of nearly every subject he talks about, including some personal ones from his own life. His theory of self-esteem is interesting, engaging, and applicable in our everyday lives.

However, what prevents me from giving the book a higher rating is the presence of things that don't really belong in it. I mentioned that Branden uses personal examples for his six pillars: about half of these involve him mentioning his personal relationship with philosopher Ayn Rand. It's interesting to hear about the first time, but he brings the topic up a little too often for it to be merely help for the reader rather than him bragging as well. Additionally, he's a clear believer in Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, which focuses on a kind of rebellious individualism working against societies focused on the good of the community. Politically, it aligns heavily with libertarianism. Branden doesn't shy away from bringing up politics in the book, and at several points he lambasts the political theories of Marxism and socialism, citing Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as examples of their failure. Whether or not he's correct is irrelevant; his politics feel very out-of-place in the book, and seem more like intellectual ranting instead of insightful and concise psychology. Of course, the idea of self-esteem is basically an individualist and libertarian concept, but that can be expressed without bringing up unnecessary politics and attempting to force the philosophical ideas of his former lover onto the reader. The book should be focused entirely on practical, therapeutic psychology.

There are other parts where he applies self-esteem to a discussion on other areas, like education and the workplace, but the political side was what struck me as the most opinionated and unnecessary. Those are mostly in the last part of the book, which is focused on self-esteem applied to important parts of society, and which, for me, was the hardest part to get through. Overall, though, Branden's ideas are insightful and can be applied wonderfully to someone's life. My suggestion for reading the book is this: be a filter, not a sponge.
Profile Image for Tobi.
115 reviews195 followers
July 29, 2016
When I found out I was getting laid off from my job I was also going through some extremely challenging personal crap - as a result, I started having really low self-esteem and spent several months struggling with depression. This book is extremely helpful. It gives you practical tools to change the way you think so that you are not constantly blaming yourself for your problems/situation, but are able to strategically give yourself positive messages that are necessary for surviving the hard times. I have always thought affirmations were cheesy, but when you are really down, changing the way you think can change the way you feel. This struggle happens at the level of the individual, so this book is useful in that regard.
Profile Image for Taka.
684 reviews507 followers
August 20, 2009
Very good--

"The unexamined life is not worth living," said the wisest of men who called himself a fool and ignorant.

"A book on self-esteem?" you might jeer in a mix of derision, disbelief, and, perhaps, curiosity. "What, do you have, like, low self-esteem? Why do you need to read this stuff?"

Everyone at some point undergoes tribulations, doubts, frustrations, and insecurities.

"Know thyself," said the same wise man.

I'm in the process of facing my inner demons.

Listening to the audio version of this book and reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in parallel, I was pleasantly surprised when the author reveals his past relationship with her, and many of the concepts that overlapped with those of her novel made sense.

As you can extrapolate from the title, this book disentangles the very general and important concept of self-esteem - very general because it means different things to different people, and very important because it's at the core of one's character and how one lives his or her own life.

Branden defines self-esteem as: the disposition to experience oneself as competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and as worthy of happiness.

This makes a lot of sense.

The six pillars are: living consciously, self-acceptance, self-responsibility, self-assertiveness, living purposefully, and personal integrity.

He examines each of the pillars and expounds on them with lucid accounts. The most valuable part of the book is the sentence completion exercises he assigns the reader to do. I'm in the process of doing them and experiencing their effect.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Tanu.
327 reviews319 followers
January 16, 2023
"Give your child roots to grow and wings to fly."

If you're a self-studier, read this book and if you are even a little bit into psychology you will love it. The author did a good job in defining self-esteem as reality-based and self-practised, as opposed to something that we should automatically have if we were treated the right way by others. 

Self-esteem is sometimes confused with boasting or arrogance, yet these characteristics indicate a lack of self-esteem. People that have a high sense of self-worth aren't motivated to prove themselves superior to others. Their delight comes from being themselves, not from being better than others.

The book summarises six pillars of Self-Esteem:

1. LIVING CONSCIOUSLY This requires us to be fully in the present moment.
2. ACCEPT YOURSELF Yes, you have flaws and attributes. You also have the opportunity to enhance who you are, by accepting everything about yourself. In fact, it is the only sustainable way.
3. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR EXPERIENCES Only 10% of life is what happens. The remaining 90% is how you respond to those happenings.
4. ASSERT WHO YOU ARE Honour what you think, feel, believe, need and want.
5. LIVE PURPOSEFULLY Make an agreement with yourself to reach your highest potential and reason for existing, while you maintain balance in your life.
6. MAINTAIN INTEGRITY Know what your principles are, and stick to them.

Definitely, go for it.
Profile Image for Tony Rogers  Jr..
Author 4 books101 followers
March 7, 2015
Definitely the best book on self-esteem I've ever read, the author really knows his stuff. He asserts that self-esteem is a by-product of practicing the 6 pillars of self-esteem which are: The practice of living consciously, The practice of self-acceptance, The practice of self-responsibility, The practice of self-assertiveness, The practice of living purposefully and The practice of personal integrity. One of my favorite quotes from the book is this simple yet powerful gem "Self-esteem is an intimate experience. It occurs in our inner most being. It is what I think and feel about myself, not what someone else thinks and feels about me." In addition to the six pillars, the author also covers self-esteem at work, parents effect on their childs self-esteem and also school teachers effect on a childs self-esteem. This is a great resource that will send you on many streams of introspective thought and contemplation. Be sure to have a handy notebook with you as you read to your jot down your thoughts.
Profile Image for Ava.
157 reviews206 followers
November 21, 2016
یه یحث کوچیکی بود بین من و یکی از دوستان که عزت نفس چیه و فرقش با اعتماد به نفس کجاست؟ تفاوت اشون با هم برام ملموس نبود. این کتاب رو بهم پیشنهاد داد و نسخه خودش رو قرض داد بهم.

اولین بار هستش که کتابی توو زمینه روانشناسی کاربردی می خونم و به نظرم برچسب کاربردی واقعا مناسب اش بود. ساده فهم با توضیحات طولانی و مثال های شخصی و غیر شخصی برای روشن شدن بیشتر مطالب برای خواننده اش. شاید بتونم بگم بیشتر مطالب کتاب به نظر بدیهی و تکراری میومد برام اما این نظم و این کنکاش بیشتر توو موضوع و طبقه بندی دقیق و خوب کتاب موضوع رو خیلی شفاف تر و مهم تر کرده برام.

ممنون عادله ی عزیز و مهربونم

اول آذر ۹۵
Profile Image for Husein.
14 reviews15 followers
August 17, 2016
خیلی ساده و روان مفهوم عزت نفس رو بیان کرده و مثال هایی از دنیای واقعی که نداشتن عزت نفس چه بلایی ��ی تونه سر آدم بیاره رو توضیح داده مثلا یک چیزی که ممکنه عجیب بنظر برسه ولی خیلی از انسان ها درگیرش هستن اضطراب خوشبختی هست که وقتی انسان می خواد به یک موفقیتی برسه مثلا ترفیع شغلی بگیره اضطراب خوشبختی و افکار منفی و اینکه تو نمی تونی و از پسش بر نمیای و ... به سراغش میاد و شخص با عزت نفس کم یا فاقد آن، نا خودآگاه رفتار هایی انجام می دهد که همه چیزو خراب می کنه مثلا کارشو خوب انجام نمیده درست وقتی که می خواد ترفیع شغلی بگیره. مثال دیگری از نداشتن عزت نفس یا حرمت نفس که در کتاب آمده زنی است که شوهرش دائما او را مورد ضرب و شتم قرار می دهد و او را می زند اما زن حاضر به ترک آن زندگی نیست زیرا برای خود بعنوان یک انسان حرمت و ارزش قائل نیست و البته دلیل عمده نداشتن عزت نفس یا حرمت نفس به آسیب های دوران کودکی باز می گردد. این کتاب ابتدا به تعریف و شناخت عزت نفس می پردازد و سپس راهکار های عملی برای بالا بردن آن ارائه می دهد.
Profile Image for Gypsy.
399 reviews508 followers
August 2, 2021

خیلی بیشتر از یه کتاب دربارۀ عزت نفس بود. عنوان انگلیسیش بهتر تونسته حق مطلب رو ادا کنه، نمدونم چرا توی فارسی همچین عنوان کلی و سُلبی رو گذاشتن. من دقیقاً به خاطر عنوانش خیلی وقت بود نمی‌خواستم بخونمش!

کتاب سه بخش و هفده فصل داره. بخش اول، توضیحات کلی دربارۀ عزت نفس، بخش دوم شرح منابع عزت نفس، بخش سوم عوامل موثر بر عزت نفس. کامل پوشش داده عزت نفس رو و حتی ازش فراتر هم رفته. یه جاهایی ممکنه اذیتتون کنه. یادمه استاد روان‌درمانیمون می‌گفت هروقت دیدید توی یه درمان یا نظریه‌ای حرفای طرف به فکر فرو می‌بردتون و شنیدنش سخته و اذیت می‌شید، بدونید کارش رو داره درست انجام میده. و این دربارۀ کتاب پیش رو خیلی صادقه.

بخش اول کتاب می‌تونه خیلی محل بحث باشه، چون اگر دربارۀ عزت نفس چیز زیادی نمی‌دونید روشن‌گری خواهد کرد، اما اگر می‌دونید ممکنه مثل من اولش فکر کنید با یه کتاب ساده طرفید و برای عموم خوبه و قرار نیست جایی عمیق شه. اما توی بخش دوم که میاد ارکان عزت نفس رو می‌گه، کم‌کم عمق می‌گیره و توی بخش آخر دیگه حسابی خراش‌تون می‌ده.
354 reviews121 followers
July 21, 2018
This book is already being hailed as a classic on the topic. This book is a result of a life time of study. I recommend it to all who want to achieve much more in their lives.
Enjoy and Be Blessed
28 reviews
August 8, 2014
I cannot speak highly enough of this book. I read it 8 years ago when my husband and I were on a trial separation, and it stood me back on my feet again. The main lesson (there are so many) seems to be: this is your life, live it deliberately. Every day, every action, every thought counts. He points out that most of us have 'okay' self-esteem, and many of us are even high achievers but will not necessarily enjoy our lives due to the averageness of our self-esteem. His plan for how to raise the bar is beautifully simple. I found the exercises difficult, but they still pop into my mind sometimes and help me understand where I'm at. Apart from anything else, his writing is divine! It's a pleasure to read. You know you are in the company of a true professional with decades of experience. I really liked his observations from the point of view of a therapist, and his clarification about the goal of therapy, which was so optimistic that it dispelled any fear I had of going down that track. I was relieved by his observation of the revolution in the world of work over the past 2-3 decades as I had not seen that so well-articulated before and I appreciated his point that a better level of self-esteem is crucial to our survival in this new world.
Profile Image for Ana  Lelis.
459 reviews147 followers
October 9, 2022
It was really good, it has a good amount of topics to cover, including how teachers should handle kids and it was beneficial for me as a teacher. I wish he would have used more ways to practice the pillars, besides writing sentences in a notebook. But it was good enough. I have lots of thinks to about now.
271 reviews
August 27, 2009
My son recommended then bought this book for me not two years ago. I was so impressed with its information and presentation, I took a part of it within me and moved forward from a pretty low plane. This book can save lives when the world crashes down. It can help the people who are already happy to reach even further potentials.

This is a book of empowerment through the only person who can really influence who you are or where you are going; yourself. I felt so much better about myself after reading this book.

It's brilliant. It's also a must read.
3 reviews
April 4, 2014
This is a truly life-changing book.

Branden uses a type of logic that is intricate but anything but obfuscated: you are left with a sense of clarity.

I should stress that this book is far from universally compatible with all beliefs. There is a distinct philosophically biased aspect to the concepts presented. But whatever your take on live, you'll have a hard time finding fault in the logic presented.

Personally this book has made me think about how I want to live my life, and made me recognize and understand thought and behavioral patterns in myself and others. It has motivated me to be more conscious, to dismiss unconscious reasons for self-loathing when failing. Without ignoring ones sense of reality, and with a sense of purpose.

It would be dishonest to trivialize the influence this book has had on my personal integrity, or to claim I haven't felt a greater determination and assertiveness when it comes to personal gains, values and goals. I mention this in a confessionary fashion because I've always considered those facets of my personality to be more than adequate.

This book will make you want to be better without making you feel intrinsically "broken" (an impossibility, or near close to it as math allows) or otherwise inferior. There are so many insanely good blockquotes in this book, listing them all would be madness, so I'll select a few that meant a lot to me personally. I guarantee you'll find ones more suited to your own situation.

"Fear and pain should be treated as signals not to close our eyes but to open them wider."

"Self-destruction is an act best performed in the dark."

"Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself"

"No one is coming."

This is nowhere near representative of the book, just a brief taste, explicitly directed by own receptiveness (of the moment) to specific insights.

To summarize: I am a huge fan of this book an would recommend it to literally anyone, your benefit might not equate to my own but there is no way you can read this book without benefiting from it.
Profile Image for imane.
463 reviews390 followers
April 4, 2018
Sometimes self-esteem is confused with boasting or arrogance, but such traits reflect a lack of self-esteem. Persons of high self-esteem are not driven to make themselves superior to others. Their joy is in being who they are, not in being better than someone else. When we have unconflicted self-esteem, joy is our motor, not fear. It is happiness that we wish to experience. Our purpose is self-expression, not self-justification. Our motive is not to "prove" our worth but to live our possibilities.
The six pillars of self-esteem:
1-The practice of living consciously: “Our mind is our basic tool of survival. Betray it and self-esteem suffers.”Don’t sleepwalk through life, think, seek awareness understanding knowledge clarity, be aware and be wise.
2-The practice of self-acceptance: Accept who you are, don’t be in an adversarial relationship with yourself. Accept your mistakes and learn from them. Accept your negative feelings and your disturbing thoughts. Be a friend to yourself.
“Accept what you can't change, and change what you can"
3-The practice of self-responsibility: No one is coming to save you. You are responsible for your emotions, choices, actions, behavior with other people, achievement of your goals...
4-The practice of self-assertiveness: Honor your wants your needs your values…stop trying to please others. Treat yourself with respect in all human encounters. "You are not here on earth to live up someone else expectations"
5-the practice of living purposefully: To live without a purpose is to live at the mercy of chance. To live purposefully is to live productively.
" If you don’t do something nothing is going to change."
6-The practice of personal integrity: When you behave in ways that conflict with your judgment of what is appropriate you lose face in your own eyes.
“A mind that trusts itself is light on its feet”.
69 reviews
January 17, 2013
Excellent book discussing the importance of:

1. LIVING CONSCIOUSLY. This requires us to be fully in the present moment.
2. ACCEPT YOURSELF. Yes, you have flaws and attributes. You also have the opportunity to enhance who you are, by accepting everything about yourself. In fact, it is the only sustainable way.
3. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR EXPERIENCES. Only 10% of life is what happens. The remaining 90% is how how you respond to those happenings.
4. ASSERT WHO YOU ARE. Honor what you think, feel, believe, need and want.
5. LIVE PURPOSEFULLY. Make an agreement with yourself to reach your highest potential and reason for existing, while you maintain balance in your life.
6. MAINTAIN INTEGRITY. Know what your principles are, and stick to them.

Braden also writes about the importance of self-esteem for the family, schools, workplaces, and cultures. As he discusses, it's only a matter of time before schools start promoting creativity, autonomy, and individuality (over linearity, obedience, and conformity). The world (least of all, the US) is not a manufacturing economy. It's a service and knowledge economy, where linearity, obedience, and conformity lead to obsolescence. Instead, we need creativity, autonomy, and individuality (which are fueled by self-esteem principles) to foster INNOVATION.
Profile Image for Ahmed.
38 reviews1 follower
March 12, 2021
من النقاط الى استوقفتنى فى الكتاب, وخلتنى اوقف قراءة واقعد اتأمل فيها كذا يوم (ودا نادراً ما بيحصل معايا خاصة لو مندمج و مستمتع بقراءة المحتوى) هى ان سعادة الانسان أو بؤسه فى الحياة من مسئوليته الشخصية مع الاخذ فى الاعتبار ان مش كل جوانب الحياة يمكن التحكم فيها.
أو بنص كلامه:

" أي أنني أقبل أنه لن يأتى أحد ليصحح حياتي ، أو ينقذني ، أو يُصلح لى طفولتي ، أو ينقذني من عواقب اختياراتي وأفعالي. ربما في أمور محددة ، قد يساعدني الناس ، لكن لا أحد يستطيع تحمل المسؤولية الأساسية لوجودي"

" واحدة من أهم هذه اللحظات هي عندما يدرك العميل أنه لا أحد قادم. لا أحد سيأتي ليخلصني. لا أحد سيأتي لحل مشاكلي. إذا لم أفعل شيئًا ، فلن يتحسن شيء."

" قد يُقدم حلم المنقذ الذي سيخلصنا نوعًا من الراحة ، لكنه يتركنا سلبيين وعاجزين. قد نشعر ...لو فقط عانيت لفترة أطول بما فيه الكفاية ، أو لو فقط كنت أتوق بشدة أكبر بما فيه الكفاية ، بطريقة ما ستحدث معجزة! ولكن هذا نوع من الخداع الذاتي اللطيف يُسقطنا فى هاوية الاحتمالات التى تستنزف من حياة المرء أيام وشهور بل ربما عقود لا يمكن تعويضها."

الفلسفة أو النظرة دى لطبيعة الحياة, اظن انها من الامور القليله الى بتثير فضولى و انتباهى فى الثقافة الامريكية. وأذكر أنى قرأت للدكتور المسيري ان الامريكان بيسعوا دائما للوصول الى الجنة الارضية. الجنة الآن و هنا. غاية لا تدرك اه, لكن يظل ان فيها جانب كبير من الحرية و الاختيار.
Profile Image for FaeZe.
17 reviews11 followers
September 2, 2021
کتاب ارزشمندیه در رابطه با عزت نفس و افزایش دادنش
تمرین های باحال و مفیدی هم داره :>
Profile Image for Melania.
66 reviews21 followers
February 25, 2020
This book is a gem.

Alltough the romanian translation is poor, the content of the book is rich, both in the theoretical aspects of self-esteem, and the practical ones.
Profile Image for Phil Sykora.
195 reviews70 followers
January 17, 2016

For raising your self-esteem, I'm sure this is a great book. I obviously have no credentials to tear it down on that front.

But that brings up a good question: Why do you need to raise your self-esteem? Nathaniel Branden makes it out to be a social panacea. And, of course, everyone loves this idea. Because feeling better about yourself can never be a bad thing, right?

Roy Baumeister can say it better than I can: "I was sympathetic to the idea, but I remember being disappointed. He would tell a lot of stories. It was fun to read. But I was looking for science.”

Unfortunately, Baumeister also led research into the actual effects of high self-esteem (rather than Branden's "high self-esteem correlates with *insert any number of positive traits here*". And I'll tell you one thing: correlation DOES equal causation if you believe hard enough). The results of Baumeister's research, however? Not too promising.

Read Will Storr's article, "The Man Who Destroyed America's Ego," if you're interested: https://medium.com/matter/the-man-who...

I loved Branden's passion, but, with new research out there, the book is outdated.
Profile Image for Nicolay Hvidsten.
150 reviews41 followers
December 12, 2015
Short and to the point. Branden argues that true change comes from within, by embracing deep inner values like honesty and integrity, and is not some "quick fix" you can apply from the outside-in. This view very much coincides with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which is a more in-depth study on basically the same principles that Branden talks about.

Additionally the views expressed by Branden align very nicely with the teachings of eastern spirituality (buddhism, taoism, and Tolle) in the sense that you cannot "fake" self-esteem by lying to yourself. By being honest with yourself (i.e. observing your thoughts, bringing consciousness to your actions) you can truly cultivate a fertile ground for self-esteem to grow.

This is a very short and powerful read, filled with examples of practical applications you can use in your own daily life. There really isn't any reason for you not to read it.
Profile Image for Lynn.
38 reviews28 followers
June 5, 2017
Great book on the topic of self-esteem. Branden did a good job in defining self-esteem as reality-based and self-practiced, as opposed to something that we should automatically have if we were treated the right way by others. He also broke down the concept into 6 components that we can work on: 1) living consciously, 2) self-acceptance, 3) self-responsibility, 4) self-assertiveness, 5) living purposefully, and 6) personal integrity. I particularly liked how he included his own mistakes as examples (including his own history with Ayn Rand), as well as relating the concept of self-esteem in individual psychology to corporations and nations. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Obada Kattih.
42 reviews2 followers
September 24, 2021
What an amazing work! I am so happy I picked this up and am so thankful to the friend that recommended it. While this book may seem like a standard self-help book, it is nothing of the sort. I was really impressed with how much research went into this book, and how much more applicable and concrete its concepts are. Branden is a psychotherapist and is truly an expert on self-esteem, as it’s been his area of study for decades. He’s written 5 other books on the topics, and this book represents the culmination of his knowledge and life’s work. Branden defines what self-esteem is, expresses how vital it is in our lives, demonstrates the consequences of low self-esteem, uncovers the roots of low self-esteem, and most importantly, teaches one how to raise their self-esteem.

The book is divided into three parts:

In part 1, Branden introduces the concept of self-esteem, defines it, and illustrates its importance.

Part 2 focuses on the internal sources of self-esteem. This is the crux of the book and where he focuses on the six pillars of self-esteem, which are:

1. Living consciously
2. Self-acceptance
3. Self-responsibility
4. Self-assertiveness
5. Living purposefully
6. Personal Integrity

These pillars may sound very abstract and vague, but for each one he goes into incredible depth explaining what each pillar entails, and how it would express itself in healthy self-esteem. He also gives concrete examples from clients on how weakness in each pillar could manifest itself in different environments.

In this section he also introduces the exercise that is used throughout the book to help raise self-esteem. It is a sentence completion exercise – you are given a stem and must complete as many endings to the stem as quickly as possible. Each chapter ends with various stems that will help strengthen the specific pillar that was discussed. You are meant to complete the same stems every day for at least one week, although some chapters have stems meant to be completed over a longer period of time. Do not feel like you can’t move on to the next chapter until you finish the exercises associated with it. Some chapters have 5+ week regimens, and it might be difficult to take such a long break from reading the book. In fact, it could even be advisable to not do the exercises while going through the chapters, as there is a comprehensive 31 week program in the appendix of the book that you can work on after completing the book.

Part 3 focuses on external influences on self-esteem. This part has 5 chapters and examines self-esteem as it relates to childhood/parenting, school and education, the work environment, psychotherapy, and culture respectively. This was my favorite part of the book, as it dissects so many different aspects of our lives, and gives the reader the tools to examine and analyze these aspects of his/her life and childhood, as well as how their own self-esteem may have been affected as a result. It can also be used as guide on how to be a good parent, teacher, boss, employee, or simply a citizen in society.

I believe this book should be read by each and every human being. Self-esteem is something that affects every individual, in nearly every aspect of life. Seeking to learn about and improve something so vital to our lives only makes sense. The quality of life improvements and mental wellbeing that most people can gain from reading this book cannot be understated. It can also be used as a guide on how to deal with and navigate relationships in one's life. If you are at all interested in living a better life, read this book.
Profile Image for AmiReza.
34 reviews7 followers
July 28, 2019
عزت نفس یعنی اعتماد به توانایی خود در فکر کردن و توانمندی در انجام امور و وظیفه ها
۶ فاکتور اصلی در عزت نفس:
۲-ابراز وجود
۳-هدف مندی
۴-یکپارچگی شخصیتی
۶-مسئولیت پذیری در قبال خود

کتاب روونی بود منهای یکسری فصل هایی که برای من حداقل اضافه بود. مثلا عزت نفس در تربیت کودک که طبیعتا به کار من نمیاد .
مدت ها بود دنبال تعریف دقیقی از عزت نفس و تفاوت اون با اعتماد به نفس بودم که تعریف این کتاب رو از یکی از دوستان شنیدم و تهیه اش کردم.هدفم هم کسب اطلاعات در مورد عزت نفس بود نه اینکه بخوام خودم رو ناگهان تبدیل‌به یک انسان خفن و والا کنم. که موفق هم بودم با انتخاب این کتاب.
Profile Image for Shashwat Singh.
89 reviews14 followers
January 13, 2014
A great book. Goes into what actually is self-esteem, and how to build self-esteem as well as maintain it.

I like this book because it acknowledges the reality that self esteem is something that takes work to build and keep strong. Goes against the popular belief that everyone deserves self esteem, no matter how they live or choices they make. You can't just have self-esteem with no effort on your part.

Additionally he discusses the importance of self-esteem at work, which is something which connected with me. I gained a deeper understanding of how high employee self esteem is an important asset for businesses as well for the employees themselves.

There are six pillars he discusses-

-Living Consciously.
-Living Purposefully.
-Living with Integrity.

I feel this book has helped me gain a better understand of self-esteem as well as improve my quality of life by helping me make certain paradigm shifts. This is a book that must be read multiple times to be fully internalized. That just reminds me I have to reread it again.
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