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The Structure of Magic I: A Book about Language and Therapy

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  877 ratings  ·  39 reviews
These seminal works in neurolinguistic programming (NLP) help therapists understand how people create inner models of the world to represent their experience and guide their behavior. Volume I describes the Meta Model, a framework for comprehending the structure of language; Volume II applies NLP theory to nonverbal communication.
Paperback, 198 pages
Published September 13th 2005 by Hushion House (first published June 1975)
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Jan 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I just finished reading an interesting book called The Structure of Magic. It is actually not about magic at all, but about psychology. This book contains some eye-opening insights into the relationship between models and reality. It is an attempt to find the common elements in language-based therapy, a meta-model as they call it, in order to advance the state of the field of therapy as a whole. It also presented the case that concrete-ness is the key to understanding a person’s model of the wor ...more
David Fleming
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing

This is a little gem of a book which, perhaps more so than any other, helped me understand how our minds work on a linguistic basis (a topic of, no doubt, interest to avid readers).

The downside is that it's basically a textbook writing for pyschologists. But, if you can stomach the dryness, the rewards of insight are well worth the effort.

As many know, this series of books along with Frogs into Princes helped to establish the field of Nero Linguistic Programming or NLP.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
An attempt to turn 1960's linguistics into a therapy technique. Despite the absurdity of such a quest, the model presented is very impressive and useful.

The authors have a deep admiration for the work of therapists that are so effective at causing the patients to look at their blindspots and develop new, richer models, that it seems like downright magic. They repeatedly mention the work of Virginia Satir, one of the pioneers of family therapy, as one of their big inspirations.

Through their curi
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Structure of Magic refers to the mental structures that people have about how the world works, and how those structures impact the words that they say in therapy. The book's argument is that understanding these structures can dramatically improve the effectiveness of a therapist, regardless of what type of therapy they practice.

The semantics of the sentences that people say in therapy is determined by their conception of their own experience. So a therapist is two levels removed from what's
Stuart Macalpine
Bandler and Grinder set out to show how coaches or therapists who are very effective, use a range of very similar skills which the authors here try to pull together: in book 1 they mainly deal with language (book 2 mainly deals with verbal and non-verbal representation systems).

The text of book 1 I found to be much simpler than book 2 which is very hard. Book 1 is similar to 'questions for specificity' in cognitive coaching, but with a much fuller picture of the differences between 'deep structu
James Tolson
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it

Despite the fact this info (the meta model) has been reprinted and explained thousands of times over in virtually every NLP book. Mistakenly I thought the authors charismatic personality would add some flair to the content .However the dry academic prose really kills it. Whilst the info is still good the book tends, to become very repetitive fast. Instead i would recomemend NLP for begginers which summarises this 200 page text in 20, Along with many other developments in the field.
Irma Walter
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I studied it and started evaluating my own language. What surprising things I found out about myself. We get strangled by our own habits and interpretations.
Talk is powerful. However, we would have to agree to be healed by words. Otherwise, we'd just generalise again: it's just smooth-talking.
Rafael Alves
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is NOT about mind manipulation, it's NOT about reading minds, it can't even be used for misguided purposes for if anything, this book will tell us how in a simplified way, we operate in the world through our minds and build different internal representations of the world based on what we have experienced - some chances for improvement and action, or lack of choice and freedom. And even the techniques distilled by Bandler and Grinder from all sorts of therapeutic are confied therefor to ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing!
Not only the content but the way it is written shows that the authors live by their own standards in working through the subtleties of language.
This book elucidates the nature of human reality, the only reality that humanity knows. It ties language to the essence of our reality and implies if we can learn how to handle our language, we learn how to handle reality itself (or that which we perceive reality to be).
Learning the content in this book is empowering, I don't say tha
Shaun Phelps
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just a fabulous piece of work that would be great for a novice therapist learning to interview and grasp the concept of internal worlds. As a seasoned therapist it serves to re-align a lot of what I already do and adds some interesting layers. I realize it is considered pseudo science now, and definitely the way NLP is currently handled and taught reflects some nonsense. This book has a purity to it and it's worth looking at seriously. I look forward to reading book 2. ...more
Giuseppe Zangari
It's divided into two part. The first part is the usueful one.
I think this one is the most valuable book ever ridden by me.
It explains how thoughts are shaped by words, and it explains how to think. Literally, how to think.

This one is the first book about NLP, and yes I am an NLP enthusiast.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Waste of time.
The reason why it seems so difficult to comprehend this book, is because it's a total gibberish. If you were to find any scientific knowledge concerning NLP, you'd have a really hard time, because not much of it exists. It blows my mind, that someone could read that book and claim to get something worthwhile from it.
Sep 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is good for understanding the influence of language on our lives, but it is really hard to read and understand. I think it might be good for therapists, but I'm not sure if this can help many other people. ...more
Brian Hohmeier
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Pro-tip: Skip to the conclusion; see the TOC if you have questions about anything concluded; proceed to Volume II.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nlp
Mostly about hypnosis.I was expecting this to be more about the power of language and psychology.
Manglio Reyes
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
oriented to licensed therapists
too theoretical for my interests but a serios book
Lopamudra Banerjee
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent reference book for those who provide Coaching and Therapy
Vignesh Ramesh
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent book. If you want to know about the possibilities in the world and the chances you might be missing. Read this book.
Ken Cao
Dec 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Great stuff but not concise at all
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
The premise is that knowledge from the field of transformational grammar is extremely useful in therapy.

The text is very dense and technical but there are a lot of explanations and examples and the only prerequisite for the material is a fluency in English.

First there is our experience of the world, our senses and perception. They are too vast to understand or even remember. We reduce them to a model; our model of the model.

When we communicate we create a model of that model. These are the Engli
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nlp
Remarkable book and one that should certainly be read by anyone interested in NLP. It forms the basis of most of the ideas underpinning NLP and explains them much better than many of the books that came after. Like experience and our representation of experience in 'deep structure', many of the ideas have gone through a little too much generalization, distortion, and deletion :)

The book is dated, but still highly valuable in its insights. I read it years ago and then came back to it again recent
Patrick Eru
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
The ideas expressed in the book appear to me to be simple, far-reaching, and mostly uncontroversial, unlike other NLP-related theories, like eye positions. The book is, however, very much targeting therapists, and I do not have the opportunity to incorporate their ideas into a regular practice of mine.

My main criticism—quite ironically, for a book about grammar—is that the text is very hard to read. Their grammatical constructions are heavy and unnecessarily complicated, making the reading proce
Laurynas Zubko
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not the best writing style... but very useful for deeper appreciation of how we create our subjective world perception w/ language. Meta-Model is a practical tool for starting challenging believe systems and "reality" subjective mental constructs through language. ...more
Aug 19, 2007 rated it it was ok
interesting book about communication and how we change. written for therapists, so it's kind of tough to track. ...more
Josh Colunga
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's a very interesting book, the beggining of PNL ...more
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
A bit hard going but interesting stuff.
Ivan Voras
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help, nlp, psychology
Mostly of historical value and for thorough scholars. The Meta model can be learned in a much easier way than through reading this particular book.
Count-daniel Fogarty
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book for clarifying human communication...
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Extremely interesting and informative.
Ron Piper
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A life-changing book. A way of understanding how great people do the things they do.
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Goodreads Librari...: Add Book Cover 3 13 Jan 13, 2016 11:35AM  

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