Colleen Wainwright's Reviews > The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity

The Tools by Phil Stutz
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bookshelves: self-help, spirituality, psychology, addiction-recovery

First of all, if you are not a Believer, you're going to have difficulties with this book and the tools found within. The authors do a kind of sneaky-Pete maneuver, sucking you in via the secular self-help standpoint, shifting into a hard-core spiritual stance about 3/4 of the way in. I wasn't surprised; all five of the tools are variations on principles arrived at by various spiritual traditions for the pursuit of a happy, meaningful, fulfilled life, i.e. one of service and gratitude.

Secondly, what probably works well in therapy—i.e., with regular, ongoing support—is going to be far harder to accomplish on your own, without help. Which is the case with any program of self-overhaul, of course. But with with more pedestrian changes—fitness, diet, physical skills, etc.—there's a ton of available routes for support; not so much with this.

Finally, I just flat-out disagreed with one tool, possibly two, as a sane method for change. The Reversal of Desire—basically, a way to kick your own ass out of torpor and into action—is mean. MEAN. I get that at a certain point, we need to screw our courage to the sticking place to, uh, murder Duncan. Or just to get shit done. But there's a big difference between putting on your Big-Girl Pants and whacking yourself on the bottom, even if it's all metaphorical. I feel somewhat similarly about the Jeopardy tool, which involves imagining yourself on your loser deathbed to motivate you now.

I waver between three and four stars here. There's a lot to like about the plan outlined here, and it's going to be exactly right for a sliver of the population. Don't want to discourage anyone from finding the help they need. I may even use one or two of the gentler tools. But I don't see myself adopting this soup-to-nuts.
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Reading Progress

March 28, 2013 – Started Reading
March 28, 2013 – Shelved
April 2, 2013 – Finished Reading
April 3, 2013 – Shelved as: self-help
April 3, 2013 – Shelved as: spirituality
April 3, 2013 – Shelved as: psychology
April 3, 2013 – Shelved as: addiction-recovery

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