am 21. Mai 2008
This book makes me think of the Johnny Cash song, "I Walk the Line" and Arlo Guthrie's "Walking the Line." I walk the line in that I feel there are parts of this book that are very helpful to other parts that I feel are far from being helpful.
The parts I didn't feel were helpful were Dr. Dyer's tone of seemingly "just getting over" problems. I have heard Dr. Dyer and on one occasion he tells an audience member who had suffered profound losses to "get over it" and maybe that person could "write a book about those losses." That did not sound very helpful and not everybody is in a position or has the ability level to become an author. However, the rest of the book has good, practical tools of empowerment.
The parts I most related to were the passages on not nodding one's head and pretending to agree with something contrary to one's integrity, beliefs or values. If there is one thing I absolutely detest, it is sycophantic behavior and faux agreement. I don't even pretend to laugh at jokes that I don't find funny!
To its credit, this book can be seen as a tool of empowerment. It outlines a list of self defeating behaviors and some ways of counteracting them. It is not a nostrum nor is it a panacea for all personal ills. It is simply a check list of areas in people's lives where challenges are likely to occur and alternate ways of meeting those challenges.
I think of John Lennon, who introduced himself on the Beatles' 1963 Christmas album, "John here, speaking with his voice!" There is more truth than humor to the Chief Beatle's quip. John never lost his own voice or integrity. He, as Dr. Dyer points out "didn't need their [world at large] approval" to recognize his own worth as a good individual. He did not have to sacrifice or compromise his identity and core values and beliefs for anyone. Dr. Dyer goes into this advanced stage of esteem development in the chapter entitled "You Don't Need Their Approval."
The title of this chapter can be misleading. It is best not to read into this the fallacy that you can bluff and pretend that you neither want nor need approval. That is not true. Everybody wants, needs and deserves approval. The main thrust of that chapter is that one need not do things ONLY for approval - let approval be the byproduct and not the impetus. It is about acceptance of one's self and decisions without making approval be the motivator and by keeping it the byproduct.
Nobody can respect a sycophant and it is doubtful that sycophants respect themselves. Sacrificing one's voice to appease those in charge or those whom the sycophant wants to win over is a price that I feel is not worth paying. The Apple Polisher, as is described in this book waits around for others to voice their opinions, only to chime in as an echo. One does not need permission to have their own opinion and I think it is very sad whenever people feel they have to take this approach to survive socially. Dr. Dyer gives an example of a person who does just that. Readers come away with no respect for the person acting as an echo and that serves as a wake up call to everyone to follow John Lennon's example by speaking in their OWN voices.
I think of people like Lech Walesa, Robert Kennedy, Pope John XXIII who did what they believed was right and in turn changed the world for the better. Many disagreed and even opposed them and what they wanted to do. They stayed true to their core values and beliefs regardless of anyone else's approval and effected great changes in the world. I think that helps to clarify the approval question.
All in all, a decent book. No doubt many readers will come away stepping over many erronenous zones.