3 out of 4 stars
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If you are happy and successful in life, chances are you have good self-esteem and a strong self-image. If your life is not going the way you would like, however, then these two closely linked characteristics need work. Enter Dr. David A. Joyette, whose book, How to Develop a Winning Self-Image: A Psychology of Personal Growth and Development claims to offer the help you need to change your life for the better. As someone unhappy with some key aspects of my life due to my poor self-image, I jumped at the chance to read this book and potentially improve my situation. As Joyette says in his book: "I am sure there are many different ways that you can initiate sweeping change in your life, but most of them require a lot of time and effort. I'm giving you shortcuts. Why wander around, if you can get where you want to go quickly, easily, and safely? These techniques will do that for you. Just be sure you follow them carefully."
At around 140 pages, the book wasn't too long, meaning there was no time to get bogged down in psychology theory or long, drawn-out examples. Dr. Joyette did occasionally include real-life examples to illustrate his points, but they were concise, impactful, and well-placed. I found his book well-planned and laid out in a logical progression, from defining the problem through to implementing a long-term solution in a clear step-by-step way. The book first got me to work out where I was now in terms of my self-image, then described how to develop a more positive view of myself in simple, easy-to-understand language backed by a series of practical exercises. Reading the book, I could easily envision how applying these exercises (though they might seem daunting at first) could improve my life.
The book's conversational style made it enjoyable to read; I felt as if Dr. Joyette was talking directly to me. Each piece of advice was clearly explained and justified to help me understand why it was so important to carry out and continue. The practical chapters each had a "REFLECTIONS" section at the end to reiterate the main points and reinforce the most important messages. This worked well to keep me on track and better cement that chapter's teachings in my mind. By halfway through this book, completing preliminary work on the exercises, I already felt good about the prospect of making positive changes in my life; my brain released plenty of positive endorphins to reward the right sort of mental activity. As a fairly negative person for most of my life, I could literally feel the difference...and it felt great.
This book did need another edit, however, with some minor typographical errors; I found ten in the first 50 pages. These were mainly only punctuation or a stray extra word that had not been deleted during an apparent wording change for a particular sentence. The word "development" on the book's title page was also not capitalised as it should have been. None of these errors were major and they did not detract from the advice offered or its potential effectiveness for any reader looking to improve their life. Another part that didn't quite gel for me was Chapter 8, which specifically addressed the African-American community in a motivational way. I think this was mainly included because Dr. Joyette is black himself. Don't get me wrong; I do applaud him for singling out this maligned minority to challenge them to better themselves, especially since they are still treated differently by many people and are usually paid a disproportionately low salary compared to white people in most occupations. However, presuming this book is a motivational tool for anyone, not just black people, I'm just not quite sure this chapter fit. To use a fiction analogy, it seemed a bit like an unannounced subplot that suddenly popped up as an unexpected tangent to the main plot.
Overall, however, How to Develop a Winning Self-Image: A Psychology of Personal Growth and Development was a fantastic guide to improving your self-image by making real and sustained changes, thereby improving your overall quality of life. I can see that its teachings, habitually applied, could make real positive changes in my life, and would recommend it to anyone who is in any way dissatisfied in their current situation. If not for the minor editing issues, I would definitely rate this book 4 stars. For now, I must rate it 3 out of 4 stars. If you are looking for some simple shortcuts to really improve your self-esteem, look no further.
How to Develop a Winning Self-Image
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