Reviewed by Joanne Lakomski
I elected to read Schwartz and Gladding’s book, You Are Not Your Brain, because I have been working on getting my professional coaching certification. The role of your brain in your behavior was highlighted during my studies and I expected that this book would augment my knowledge.
Schwartz and Gladding have written a book that summarizes current understanding of brain function as it relates to habitual patterns we might want to change. The book expanded my understanding of the areas of the brain and what they do AND then my behaviors and what I do.
A foundation to the authors’ work and message is recognizing your ‘Deceptive Brain Messages’ – a false or inaccurate thought, or any unhelpful or distracting impulse, urge, craving, sensation, or desire that takes you away from your true goals and intentions.’ I utilized their suggested methodology and noted my destructive messages and their associated sensations and then my habitual responses.
This was an interesting process to me – I had some ah-ha’s about my behavior and am applying their process and continuing to learn.
The book’s phraseology was an issue for me. The phrases the authors have used to name important concepts sometimes felt cute (‘Wise Advocate’ for my attentive mind that can see my inherent worth) or new-age profound (‘True Self’ – seeing yourself for who you really are). These phrases got in the way of my reading the book. Also, I resisted identifying any of my thinking as ‘destructive;’ that felt too negative to me.
The authors included examples from their background work with patients who wanted to change behaviors that were severely impacting their lives; these examples were from therapy relationships. The book is a ‘Self-Help’ book – and I wondered how readers not seeking a therapeutic relationship would experience the examples. I would have benefited more from examples that were less extreme.
Overall, I found value in the authors’ process and felt an unevenness in their presentation. The title and their way of presenting information rang info-mercial for me. Their methods and suggestions are ones which I shall review and utilize.
Joanne is an organization development and human resources professional with a business background living in Ohio. She has lived in Europe, Africa (including her Peace Corps service in South Africa), and arround the United States. She loves to plays volleyball, read, write, and has a cat named Ender.
The review copy of this book was provided free of any obligation by Avery. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.