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A Guide to Personal Happiness [Paperback]

Albert Ellis , Irving Becker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 13.49
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Rational Emotive Therapy Nov. 2 1999
By John G
Format:Paperback
I started to get into philosophy after I graduated college. I read books by Bertrand Russell and Ayn Rand. I thought Bertrand Russel was great because was he was so logical and down-to-earth. Then I discovered "A Guide to Personal Happiness" and it blew me away. The philosophy presented in this book was so logical, realistic and profound. In the first chapter he succinctly states why someone should put themselves first and go after personal happiness. In the next section, he then illustrates his therapy: All people seem to have grandiose notions about the world, other people and themselves. By giving up these notions using logical, realistic thinking, they can live better and rid themselves of emotional problems such as anger, anxiety, and depression. Ellis was one of the first psychologists to plainly state that faulty thinking causes most emotional disturbance. It seems to me to be almost a trivial observation. He basically shows you how to analyze your faulty thinking, which is almost trivial, and then shows you how to minimize it, which is really difficult. There are several chapters in the book, which are basically transcripts of a session using his therapy. I found them extremely fascinating and it really started to challenge a good deal of my thinking. The last chapter deals with self-actualization. It just a list of the things that bring people pleasure. I still refer to it when I feel depressed. It's a real pick-me up. I have read many books by Ellis and over the years and I'm amazed on how profound his ideas are. I don't always like what he says, but what he says is usually realistic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Returning to Reason Jan. 30 2001
Format:Paperback
I have just re-ordered this book, which I read long ago and wish to re-read. In a world of superstition and wishful thinking, where more and more people seem to adopt "New Age" religious placebos, or revert to traditional religious superstitions, shamanism, talking in tongues, scriving, haruscupating, reading the cards, contacting the collective unconscious, or dancing with rattlesnakes, a rational approach to anything, let alone personal psychological health, is rare and precious.
I remember Ellis's book as one which actually helped me feel better about myself, without any channeling, chanting, or charms. Ellis allows you to put yourself and your happiness above the tangle of external measures and standards, measures and standards which you have internalized. Ellis helps you realize that these critical standards are not a priori elements of your consciousness, but are actually the opinions of others which have been smuggled into your mind over the years.
I look forward to refreshing my self-knowledge in the light of reason. I look forward to re-reading Ellis.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
116 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Rational Emotive Therapy Nov. 2 1999
By John G - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I started to get into philosophy after I graduated college. I read books by Bertrand Russell and Ayn Rand. I thought Bertrand Russel was great because was he was so logical and down-to-earth. Then I discovered "A Guide to Personal Happiness" and it blew me away. The philosophy presented in this book was so logical, realistic and profound. In the first chapter he succinctly states why someone should put themselves first and go after personal happiness. In the next section, he then illustrates his therapy: All people seem to have grandiose notions about the world, other people and themselves. By giving up these notions using logical, realistic thinking, they can live better and rid themselves of emotional problems such as anger, anxiety, and depression. Ellis was one of the first psychologists to plainly state that faulty thinking causes most emotional disturbance. It seems to me to be almost a trivial observation. He basically shows you how to analyze your faulty thinking, which is almost trivial, and then shows you how to minimize it, which is really difficult. There are several chapters in the book, which are basically transcripts of a session using his therapy. I found them extremely fascinating and it really started to challenge a good deal of my thinking. The last chapter deals with self-actualization. It just a list of the things that bring people pleasure. I still refer to it when I feel depressed. It's a real pick-me up. I have read many books by Ellis and over the years and I'm amazed on how profound his ideas are. I don't always like what he says, but what he says is usually realistic.
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Returning to Reason Jan. 30 2001
By RD_C_4_life - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have just re-ordered this book, which I read long ago and wish to re-read. In a world of superstition and wishful thinking, where more and more people seem to adopt "New Age" religious placebos, or revert to traditional religious superstitions, shamanism, talking in tongues, scriving, haruscupating, reading the cards, contacting the collective unconscious, or dancing with rattlesnakes, a rational approach to anything, let alone personal psychological health, is rare and precious.
I remember Ellis's book as one which actually helped me feel better about myself, without any channeling, chanting, or charms. Ellis allows you to put yourself and your happiness above the tangle of external measures and standards, measures and standards which you have internalized. Ellis helps you realize that these critical standards are not a priori elements of your consciousness, but are actually the opinions of others which have been smuggled into your mind over the years.
I look forward to refreshing my self-knowledge in the light of reason. I look forward to re-reading Ellis.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Few Books That Actually Delivers... July 2 2006
By Patrick Greenan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of Ellis' best books on REBT. REBT is all about removing the blocks to happiness and this little gem of a book provides us with very specific ways to do exactly that. The book is unique among other self-help books in that it can actually help people and doesn't just give a 300 page 'pep talk', that in the end amounts to nothing more than a warm bath--you feel better for a couple hours. It is also unique in that it deals with our blocks to happiness--our irrational/self-defeating thinking--in a scientific way. Ellis and Becker devote a chapter each to cognitive, emotive, and behavioural, techniques to rip up our self-defeating thinking. These three chapters alone are worth the price of the book and can be used for a lifetime.
The authors then devote six chapters to specific emotional problems such as shyness, depression, anger, etc,... These chapters use therapy sessions with clients and interrupt them for our edification to feature the salient points.
Now, if REBT is just about removing the blocks to happiness and not about finding happiness per se, why the title? One, removing our irrational thinking alone brings a serenity of mind that is equivalent to happiness in my book. And two, the intitial chapters of the book and the last chapter deal with choosing a philosophy of happiness. The appendix is also useful as it provides a list of activities that almost anyone can experiment with.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Recycled material (well ok, this was the original); mediocre for the layman Dec 6 2005
By Jennifer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are a therapist looking for a book on RET, this may be useful. However as a common person just looking for some good advice, I found this book to be lacking in readability. It provides some interesting example dialogues, but I find it VERY hard to believe that any counselor would actually make the judgmental statements attributed to the hypothetical therapist in the book. Also, I felt like there was way too much repeat information from "How to Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable about Anything: Yes Anything!" which isn't too surprising as it is also written by Ellis. I'd recommend the later book as it is organized in a better manner and has generally been cleansed of the hard-to-understand jargon.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of dialoge Oct. 10 2007
By Conan F. Wall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first 60 pages of the book are pretty much all you need to read. The rest of it is incredibly repetitive conversations with clients about the same stuff mentioned in the first 60 pages
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