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I HAD PROBLEMS WITH THIS BOOK THROUGHOUT
am 25. Juni 2000
I am a psychologist who works with self-esteem issues and almost from page one I had problems with this book. It is full of overgeneralizations and concepts that are inaccurate.
Brandon says, for instance, that "medium-self-esteem individuals" (his words) are "typically" attracted to others with medium self-esteem and that low-self-esteem-individuals are "typically" attracted to low-self-esteem-individuals" which, as a psychologist, I haven't found to be true. Instead I have found that individuals with low self-esteem may, indeed, be MORE COMFORTABLE with others who have a similar level of self-esteem, but they are most definitely ATTRACTED to those with higher levels of self-esteem, those who portray a strong sense of confidence, those who are independent, those who are positive, secure, upbeat, and have a sense of purpose in their lives. In fact, people with low self-esteem routinely attempt to attach themselves to people with healthy self-esteem, people others admire, because they enjoy a sense of self-importance and feel more secure themselves, when around people who seem to "have it together". Thus, I have found that people with low self-esteem only tend to gravitate to others who have low self-esteem AS A LAST RESORT, when they feel others are not accepting them, when they feel they don't fit in anywhere else. They definitely ARE NOT "ATTRACTED" to others who have low self-esteem. It's common, for instance, for young people who feel they don't fit in with the popular kids at school, to form their own groups--they ban together because they feel like outcasts. Inside, however, they would like to be friends with the same kids others admire. Forming gangs or groups of their own at least gives them a sense of belonging somewhere,of having a support group where they are not ridiculed, teased, or made to feel less adequate. If the truth were to be known, however, they too would say that they really just wanted to fit in with the regular kids in their schools and community.
The second problem I had with this book is that Brandon seems not to recognize that just as many people who have low self-esteem become "overachievers" as those who become "underachievers". Sorensen who wrote "Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem" thoroughly explains this this and also how low self-esteem is in itself, a motivator for many people--that anger and a desire to prove oneself adequate and competent can spur people to achieve as much or more than they might have, had they not had low self-esteem. Many highly successful people in all fields have low self-esteem but Brandon doesn't seem to understand this. Brandon doesn't recognize that low self-esteem, though a negative factor, is, indeed, still a true motivator for many who have low self-esteem. These comments come from early in the book. I read somewhat further but found far too many "distortions" in his concepts to want to finish the book. While I know he has had a huge impact on the early understanding of self-esteem, it seems he has not refined his early concepts, as one often has to do, and it concerns me that the average reader who is not well versed in self-esteem issues, will not necessarily realize the problems in his theories.