Self-help books and self-help programs are multi-million dollar businesses. I have never met anyone who does not need help in one area or another in their life. Whether the problem is dealing with a divorce, current or past abuse, gaining confidence, understanding and helping children, etc. You name the problem, there is a book written that says it can help you. The majority of these strategies and programs have never been empirically tested. Why do people buy them? They hope and pray that this new book/strategy/program will be the key to solving their problems.
Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, written by Timothy D. Wilson, discusses the fact that people spend an immense amount of money on these programs each year, only to have them not work. Wilson discusses the fact that people make sense of the world, their lives, and daily issues by telling themselves stories. The manner in which we view life and our perceptions of what happens to us are shaped by previous stories we have told ourselves. He proposes that people can change their lives by altering their self-narratives. Wilson evaluated this theory himself and observed positive results with college students. Wilson then discusses how this theory can be applied to larger societal issues.
I found this book fascinating. I love trying to understand what makes people “tick” and why they act as they do, treat people in the manner they do, and how they view life overall. Wilson’s book makes sense to me. I would love to use the “story editing” strategy with students. Typically, people believe that early intervention is the key to working with children. If the story-editing approach was used, how many students would not have to go on meds? Attend separate behavioral programs? Improve their relationships and not pass on environmental risks to their children? It is amazing to think that a simple thing as changing your self-narrative could impact your life so strongly!
I found the discussion of "happiness" very interesting. What makes a person happy and content with life? What makes people have "half-full" or "half-empty" perspectives? Wilson states that the quality of one's social relationships has a great deal to do with one's level of happiness, which makes sense to me. Wilson stressed that "money does not buy happiness", which is evident even in the wealthier families that I have worked with. I think, "Boy, it certainly would make a few things easier though" ;), but no, it is not going to make every problem magically go away. No matter how hard you wish it to.
Overall, this book has given me so much to think about and really sparked some conversation with my family and friends. I would highly recommend reading it! It is well-written and easy to read. It will have you thinking about your own self-narratives and what could be re-written!
Thank you to the Hachette Book Group for allowing me the opportunity to review Redirect. The Hachette Book Group has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway. THREE winners will receive a free copy of Redirect!
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Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.