The Two Books That Turned My Life Around

In my latest Journal update, you’ll have seen that I’ve been cranking up my wordage outputtery. I’ve not had time left over to get much reading done to achieve my writing goal.

I’ve had a lot of comments about my productivity and my self-discipline when it comes to writing. Well, it wasn’t always this way. I used to wish I was the version of me I had in my head. You know, the version that gets it done?

So, this week, I thought I’d share the two books that helped me turn my productivity fantasies into reality (well, close enough to it).

I didn’t set out to read these books in an effort to get over my world-beating procrastination. I did, however, want to understand how in the light of my goals, I couldn’t stick to the routine required to achieve them.

I got them to help “fix” myself. Over the years, I’d gone from fairly happy to a spiralling mass of doubt and downerdom. I knew what to do. I’ve always been a big believer in self-help. My dad set me on that path at a very young age. He’d take me to the library, where I’d pretend the books were cars while he read.

He’d read books on philosophy, world religions, and self-help. Always searching for the answers to his problems. As I got older, I stopped playing with the books and read them with him. By the time I was an adult, we were swapping Tony Robbins books and CDs. Every so often, catching a glimpse of the answers, we sought to understand ourselves better, but that was it. My dad never found his answers by the time he died. But his thirst and drive to “fix” himself lived on in me.

One day, a few years ago, I finally found my answers. I found them with the help of the two books I wish my dad had found. So, if you need help in becoming the fantasy you or want to stop sabotaging yourself, I whole-heartedly recommend checking these books out.

Now, these books aren’t going to transform your life instantly–I wish it worked like that–but if you work at it each day, do the exercises, I promise you’ll thank yourself for taking the time and investing in yourself.

The Chimp Paradox

The first book I recommend is one I’ve mentioned many times, both on the site and in personal emails and messages. The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters examines why we do the stupid shit that screws ourselves over. He goes into the parts of the brain, focusing on three main areas he calls the Chimp, the Human, and the Computer.

The Chimp Paradox on Kindle £6.99

The Chimp Paradox on Kobo £6.99

I learn best when I know the mechanics of things, and learning the ‘why’ behind self-sabotage, my procrastination, and why certain things drive me nuts is no different.

His book introduced me to my inner chimp. I gave her the most annoying name I could think of at the time, Janine, mainly because I hated my chimp. Once I’d finished the book, I’d grown to love her and gave her the nickname of Neenee.

Neenee

The main thing I’d gained from the book was a solid understanding of what made Neenee do the things she did and how I could work with her to have a better relationship. But, it wasn’t enough. I needed that something more. That push over the edge to a better me.

I Am Enough

I Am Enough on Kindle £7.99

I Am Enough on Kobo £7.99

That push was more of a shove in the form of I Am Enough by Marisa Peer. I Am Enough helped me break through the negative crap that had built up over the years and come out far happier than I used to be.

This book has some difficult exercises–think emotionally challenging-but they are worth doing.

Now, I have a couple of things I’d like to point out that I don’t like about this book, but I do understand why they’re there/like that.

First, the writing sometimes comes across as juvenile and repetitious. This is due to hypnotic writing. But when it occurred, it annoyed me to the core–don’t let it put you off!

Secondly, the people Peer holds up as great examples are abhorrent to me. Yes, Richard Branson is a billionaire–I have zero time for greed. He may be a rich man, but he’s also the man who sued the English National Health Service for £2M in taxpayer money because they didn’t award him a contract. You can Google his track record for more.

I understand that she was trying to give examples of what people can do. But there are far better individuals who could perform that role.

FYI: I Am Enough comes with a link to the hypnosis audio companion for the book. The hypnosis is worth the price of the book on its own!

My Recommended Reading Order

Now with the caveats out of the way, I’d recommend that if you need the mechanical knowledge before fully understanding something, go with Chimp first and follow it up with Enough.

But, if you don’t need that kind of knowledge or only want to rebuild your self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence, I recommend reading I Am Enough by Marissa Peer.

What self-help books changed your life? Or fiction, for that matter?

Author: Susan T. Braithwaite

Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband, jezbraithwaite.blog, and our squirrel army.​

16 thoughts on “The Two Books That Turned My Life Around”

  1. I remember you mentioning The Chimp Paradox book and how it helped you, Susan. That’s great! But I’m afraid even the photo on the cover of the second book puts me off. But that’s me. I’m not a fan of self-analysis and self-help. I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant, but I worked through my ‘stuff’ all by myself. Maybe I’ve just build a big brick wall around it, but I don’t think so.
    My other thought is that your dad must’ve died quite young. That’s a shame. It sounds like you two had a wonderful relationship.

    1. Thanks for reading, Chris.
      I can’t remember what the cover looked like when I got, but it wasn’t the current one. I’m not a fan of the new look, either.
      That’s so great you were able to work through things on you own! I think there are so many ways of dealing with our issues. Some, like me, like to work through with a book as a loose guide. Others, like yourself, who can go it alone. And others still who need the guidance of a professional in a one-on-one basis.

  2. Yes, yes, I’ll get it, I’ll get it … at least The Chimp Paradox! 😂
    I’ve found the sources and now have to organise how to get it here.
    (Delivery for books in English can be a problem, these days, it seems – and I want my husband to be able to get all of the info, too.)

    Thank you for sharing what has helped you along the way, Susan. It is always uplifting to have an exchange like this.
    How sad that your dad never found his answers but how beautiful, at the same time, that you had such a good relationship and could help each other to get closer to what needs to be seen and known.

    Personally, I am a big fan of self-help, too. A skill that comes in handy, especially in recent years, where it seems to have gone out of fashion that people in helping positions actually can/ do provide help.

    A game-changer for me was actually the discovery of Terry Pratchett’s discworld. It gave me back my laughter at a time when I thought I had lost it – and he saw so many things that others seem to ignore.
    Wrt. self-help Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way has opened new pathways for me.
    And HaPe Kerkeling’s I’m Off Then – bascically his diary when he, a German comedian, walked the Camino de Santiago – was also very encouraging and it reminded me to have courage and follow the signs.

    1. Thank you for reading, Stefanie 💖

      I promise, this post wasn’t a reminder for you! 😄
      Yeah, Brexit has screwed everything up, especially deliveries to and from the rest of Europe. 😡 (Hopefully, Scotland will be able to rejoin swiftly in the not-too-distant future 🤞)

      I hadn’t thought of self-help as a life skill, but thinking about it now, I agree. I’ve used a lot of what Tony Robbins talks about for goals etc.

      I think a lot of the self-help people, the ones who called themselves gurus (the just in it for the money ones) have found new areas to exploit. Namely the get rich quick online or on Instagram areas. Maybe with them no longer blocking the genuine voices, we’ll hear more soon.

      I keep meaning to get The Artist’s Way. With your recommendation, I’ll definitely get it. Thank you!

      Isn’t it amazing how fiction and the worlds within them can help us through some of our worst times. I’m so happy you found Discworld 😊

      I haven’t heard of HaPe Kerkeling, but his book sounds really interesting and fun. Just added him to my to be read list!

      1. Oh, I believe you that it was not intended as a reminder for me – but I am greatful for being reminded, anyway. I’ll call the book store on Monday – we are going to support a small one near us, this time.

        Oh, those self-assigned gurus… I’ve met too many of them. I’ve also met some real gurus or teachers. They are out there and yes, hopefully there will soon be more room for their genuine voices. Ultimately we are the only ones who can help ourselves. But sometimes it is good to have a little guidance or support. Or a reminder… 💗

        I’m so glad that we can inspire each other and each other’s to be read list – even if one of them (mine) does not exist.
        HaPe did some goundbreaking things in the 80’s and 90’s on the comedy sector in Germany – but you’ll get some insights about that when you walk the Camino with him.

      2. That’s so great that you’re able to support a local book shop. There aren’t too many around now.
        I think I’ll get his book next month. I had a quick look at the reviews for writer’s way and there were warnings about the amount of mentions of god. Did you find that to be the case?

      3. Oh.. well, Julia Cameron mentions God but also explains in the beginning that she does not expect the reader to be or become religious. It did not bother me (hence, I forgot) because I understood it as a metaphor for Universal Guidance. If you are someone who believes in signposts along the way that guide us, you’ll probably be able to translate those mentions for your path, unless you have a particular problem with the term “God” itself, of course. I know people who would need to take extra breathers, here, due to their aversion against the church and the according terminology.

      4. 🤗 Thanks for the heads up on that. I might give it a by for the moment–I’m not sure I have the patience to to constantly rephrase it in my head at the moment. Maybe when I’m outlining the next book.

      5. It has to work for you, otherwise it does not make sense. 🤗
        I’ve just talked to the book store and had them set The Chimp Paradox aside for us, btw. 😊

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