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Absolutely Should-Less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve Paperback – Nov 1 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan James Publishing (Nov. 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600374492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600374494
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1 x 22.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,023,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in New York and California. His work in group settings has allowed him to develop comprehensive and effective tools for reducing stress and depression while increasing peace and happiness. His ideas uniquely combine psychological principles, social theories, spiritual perspectives, and media critiques. His writing brings these elements together in fresh ways in order to challenge and eliminate harmful ""shoulds."" He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa1833e34) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1818168) out of 5 stars To "Should" or "Not To Should:" That is the Question! Feb. 2 2009
By Dr. J. Davis Mannino - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just completed my review of Damon L. Jacobs' new book "Absolutely Should-Less." Psychotherapists are omnipresent ---- everywhere! My father used to say they were a "dime a dozen." In today's society, they are as common as stars in the sky. But every once in a while, a star appears in the celestial universe that is bigger, more noteworthy, and shines brighter than all the rest. Such is that bright new star that answers to the name of Damon L. Jacobs.

It is not that I don't take issue with some of what Jacobs presents. While I think his pedagogical approach is faulty in some areas, he is on target with much of what he speaks.

Over 35 years ago, Werner Erhard and his Erhard Seminar Training workshops (EST for short) noted that "shoulds," were the booby prize. That is, they were basically counter-productive. Cognitive therapy, specifically "cognitive restructuring," notes that if we change the emotion of language we can change the narrative of our lives. Over the last two or three decades it has been hit and miss. The problem is language, semantics, linguistics, --- call it what you will --- has enslaved us all. We can choose to run from language, but after all, it is all we have. The run is futile and language tags right along with us wherever we go ---like that bully of a classmate at lunch recess.

Rather than flee from language --- and specifically the words we use --- perhaps it makes more sense to simply stop running from them. Accept them, and embrace the words and language we use. The better approach may be to simply defuse the power behind them. I don't believe refraining from word usage is all that helpful. I think the better approach is to defuse the power behind the words in our usage.

For example, we in fact [and good science backs us up] "should watch our weight," " should listen to our partner's feelings," "should exercise," and "should learn to love ourselves."

While Jacobs suggests we should run from or ban "shoulds" [or similar emotionally charged words], I suggest we would be better served by embracing them, defusing them, and more importantly "re-defining them." Such an approach is more in line with "Cognitive Psychology," one branch of the therapeutic milieu that has garnered some credibility.

If we all learned to define "should" as meaning: "I want to" or "I will be happier if I do," then perhaps we secure a win-win here. "Should" is such an important aspect of our semantic-linguistic world, I doubt it possible to ban "should" or run from "should." However, if we understand "should" to mean or equate "should" to be something we want, wish for, or even love, I think we would all be the wiser winner. For example, If I meant "I should lose weight" to mean I will be so much happier, and healthier, and content if I lose weight; we'd be more inclined. The secret is to diffuse the negative charge that so often is the miserable psychological baggage that rides along with the word should and other word usage.

While some may wish to deepen the argument against banning "should:" I do not. I think Jacobs has done us all a service. Whether one bans the word "should" or redefines the word "should," as I suggest, I believe the outcome of Jacobs' book is no less weakened. That is, we are wise to "restructure" the meaning of the language in our head to serve the behavior we desire and believe will bring us happiness. In so doing, we avoid "should's" victimization of us. By restructuring our "head chatter," we clearly set a path for ourselves that focuses on the beauty of the morning sunrise rather than on the tedious ordeal of another day of misery working for another dollar that arises in some minds when seeing the morning sunrise.

Though I take some issue with Jacobs' pedagogical approach to learning how to love our lives and ourselves, I support his outcome. Here we march step in step, "shouldless" and "shouldful"

While the early bird may get the worm, it is, generally speaking, the second mouse that secures the cheese from the mousetrap come end of the day. While "should" may snare and trap some people wrongfully, it "should" not keep us from achieving happiness. Power is never in the word, but rather in the power of the speaker.

I commend this bright new "star" Damon L. Jacobs. I suspect his next book "should" be quite a treat.

Dr. J. Davis Mannino

[Dr Mannino is a professor of Psychology, a Psychologist, and author. He has written five books, including two national books, Grieving Days, Healing Days [Prentice Hall] and Sexually Speaking [McGraw-Hill]. He has been a practicing therapist for three decades [Please don't remind him!]. He may be reached at]

Sexually Speaking - Grieving Days, Healing Days
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1b8deac) out of 5 stars Nifty Workbook to Alleviate Stress March 5 2010
By Nelson Aspen - Published on
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful gift this little book is! If you're uptight and Type A, serving many masters...this is an excellent source for helping you take a step back, breathe and recognize (as the author says) "life doesn't have to be that hard."

Interesting vignettes of patient/therapist dialogue help demonstrate Jacobs' techniques for realizing self-destructive behavior and offers new ways to look at the challenges we all face.

Well worth the read and perspective it inspires.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1b8e5b8) out of 5 stars Living The Shouldless Life Thanks To This Book Jan. 4 2010
By Roger D. Newcomb - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read this book last Spring and it helped me to re-evaluate many things in my life - some that were working and others that weren't. I realized other people were placing "shoulds" on me and I was putting most of them on myself. Thanks to Damon L. Jacobs and "Absolutely Shouldless" I began living a shouldless, and much happier, life.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa348f1b0) out of 5 stars A concise read with a great message! March 21 2009
By Wondermatic - Published on
Format: Paperback
Damon Jacobs has written a great little gem of a book. I found the takeaway messages from this book to be helpful as well as easy to understand and implement in everyday life. And while my life may not be "stress-free," it is better for having read this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa348f1f8) out of 5 stars Must reading for looking at your life! May 20 2011
By Dr. Howard Leifman - Published on
Format: Paperback
Fantastic book to help you discover yourself and how to live your life more enjoyably and with less stress. I Highly recommend it!! Great tips for how to's!!