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Ten Days to Self-Esteem Paperback – Oct 29 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Non-Fiction (Oct. 29 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688127088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688127084
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 1.7 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

David D. Burns, M.D., graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College, received his M.D. degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed his psychiatry residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as Acting Chief of Psychiatry at the Presbyterian / University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Medical School. In 1995 Dr. Burns and his family returned to California. He is currently Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at his alma mater, the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is actively involved in research and teaching. Dr. Burns is certified by the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Burns has received numerous awards including the A. E. Bennett Award from the Society for Biological Society for his research on brain chemistry and the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology through the Media Award from the Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. In 1998 he received the Teacher of the Year award from the graduating residents in the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

When he is not crunching statistics he can be found giving lectures to professional groups around the world.


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1. Read the Introduction to the participant's workbook (Ten Days to Self-esteem). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By Eve on June 19 2000
Format: Paperback
Burns is a phenomenal writer in the manner in which he makes his writings easy to read and to follow. I found this book to be extremely helpful from both a clinical and practical standpoint. His explanations and exercises allow anyone to help from this book. Everyone should read this. As you can tell, I really like the author (Burns) because his many writingshave really allowed me to improve my life for the better in many ways. I realy can't think of anything bad to say.
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By A Customer on Sept. 21 2001
Format: Paperback
This book has a lot of repetetion material from his previous best seller "feeling good: a new mood therapy". I recommend buying the book "feeling good" instead of this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 149 reviews
434 of 437 people found the following review helpful
Self-esteem in 15 minutes a day for ....life? Nov. 26 2001
By bookaddict - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am yet another person who doesnt understand what the negative reviews are about.
I am not a dummy, am an educated, self-employed professional who has already had years of therapy, and who has a history of family depression. I find the work to be engaging, to the point, and not at all condescending or negative. I am not sure how it can be said that he dwells on the negative when over and over the exercises are to WRITE POSITIVE REBUTTALS to your negative thoughts, and to talk to yourself kindly and compassionately.
I can say that the title stinks... and in fact in the beginning of the book Dr. Burns asks us to sign a committment to spend a certain amount of time a day for a certain period, and suggests 15 minutes (so we can do more if possible, but will not feel put off by overcommitting)... so it seems even he thinks 10 days is unreasonable. I have been working at it for two weeks now. And I can say that it works... I was going around in self-defeating thought loops as I had been for years, just coming out of a breakup, and had been diagnosed by my medical doctor with depression (though not needing meds) and sent for therapy (we have only had one introductory visit so far, so I cannot say my improvement is due to the therapy). And I have gone from (according to his mood checklists) EXTREMELY DEPRESSED and EXTREMELY ANXIOUS through moderately to now SLIGHTLY DEPRESSED. I am very impressed. And all my friends have commented on my quick and positive mood upswing.
Reading this book one may wonder why it would work. It works because of actually having to write down how you feel, and what exactly you are thinking. The same negative thoughts that seem so natural and believable in my head seem so obviously over the top when I write them down: it is so much easier to WRITE the distortions and WRITE more realistic positive thoughts. Dr. Burns gets you to write down the percentage of your belief in your negative thoughts before and after examining them, and it is incredible how satisfying it is to notice the REAL difference in feelings about myself. It gives me back the feeling of having some control, of being able to effect change.
I find that his "you didnt write it down, you just read it, didnt you!" comments well placed. It could be annoying if you had written in the exercises, but he definitely anticipated that I was reading and not writing. I read two days without writing with no improvement, and since I have been writing every night before bed for 15 minutes, it is WORKING.
Also I am a cartoonist and illustrator, and I found his "draw a stick figure and give it a thought bubble" to be brilliant. I suppose it sounds like "child's play" to draw stick figures... but it is certainly more expedient than drawing from the model... and it turns self-deprecating journal material into a more objective form. I would suggest that those who poohpooh this silliness to spend an hour one day doing this, putting in expressions to go with the thoughts if they like. You will soon find that you can look at your thoughts realistically as though a friend or stranger was having them, and be much more compassionate and balanced. As well, it is good for your sense of humour... it is amazing how funny one's own melodramatic "I'm such a loser" thoughts can be when externalized.
Overall this book is like a workout video for the psyche... if you follow along and do it, the results add up day by day. But if you just listen to it while you eat chips rather than participating, your gut will grow instead of your abs. You get out of it what you put in, and that includes your attitude.
205 of 206 people found the following review helpful
Have depression or anxiety? Get this book. May 28 2004
By hrisen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've had depression for over ten years, flirting with suicide for most of them, before finally seeking help. So I know what it's like at the bottom, trust me. Meds can make you a LOT better... but they're only a kick-start to taking care of the problems addressed in this book. This book can make you ALL better by taking care of the main symptom of depression - negative thoughts - and thus preventing deeper depression and relapse.
"Ten Days to Self-Esteem" includes checklist tests to chart your progress, simple homework assignments, and daily exercises to train yourself to think more positively. In other words, if you're willing to put in the work, and let Dr. Burns show you where to start, it WILL help you, step-by-step.
So why all the negative reviews? I have to put in my two cents, here.
There are three major themes running through the brains of those with depression:
1. "I have a very special case of depression. Other people may have gotten better, but I'm different. I'll never be cured."
2. Life's details are tainted with bad-ness. ("That's nice, but...")
3. If it's not perfect, it's not good enough. ("There's a typo on my resume, so I won't bother applying for the job.")
All of these combined will invariably lead to negative reviews of this book. The depressed patient will find one or two things they don't agree with (whether rational or not), and since they have an all-or-nothing philosophy, they decide this book is worthless and can't help them, so they don't read it or do the exercises (or do them half-heartedly), and this book gets one star.
Now, I'm NOT picking on any certain reviewer here; I haven't read the complaints in that much detail. I'm just trying to help explain to the non-depressed people why there are such a bafflingly wide range of opinions about this book. Well, that's the way depressed people think - negatively. (In fact, depressed people even answer "No" to questions significantly more often than non-depressed people.)
With that said, I'll admit that I had EXACTLY the same reaction. The book was too _______, I didn't have enough time for the exercises, it wasn't helping fast enough, blah blah blah. (I have a high IQ - so sometimes my negative thoughts are downright artistic in their warped-ness.) I managed to do the exercises up until Day 3, at which point I did what most other depressed people will probably do with this book -- I put it aside to collect dust, and procrastinated, until I conveniently forgot about the exercises I was supposed to be doing.
A month or two later, I noticed that I was happier. My head was clearer. I had fewer doubts and paid less attention to that snide play-by-play announcer in my head. ("But what will they think? You can't do it, you'll screw up, stupid...") And I realized that it was this book, "Ten Days to Self-Esteem," that had taught me the methods.
I'm currently eager and happy to be ordering a new copy. Exactly what I need. Yes, after rejecting it, now I'm coming back to it, because I *know* now how good it was for me.
Yes, some of the ideas Dr. Burns presents are "common sense" -- but not ALL of them. Your thoughts control your emotions. But -- controlling your thoughts! -- THAT idea takes a while to really sink in. Do you commonly stop in the middle of a hands-on project or trip to the store, etc., to say to yourself, "I don't like these thoughts... I'll think of something happier now"? No! We just let them run on auto-pilot, dictated by outside circumstances or internal dialogue. It takes real effort to step in and say, "STOP. You're wrong. And I'll prove it - right now."
Seriously, I know this all seems simple now. But I guarantee you, in a few months you'll look back at this book and realize you only THOUGHT you got it, at first. (I'd already read several books on these topics, but THIS one was the one that actually drastically helped my depression.) Reading this book is a valuable investment in your future.
Curing yourself of depression is like climbing out of a sinkhole - lots of resistance at first, more and more ground gained as you go, becoming faster and easier. It's natural to have negative thoughts about this book at first. And I don't expect you to believe me about the "faster and easier" part until you get there, heh. But you will.
Still have doubts about buying the book? Well, I'll say it here, so you can see how irrational it sounds outside of your own head: "I don't want to read this book if it will only help me a little. I'd rather be totally sick until I get a shot at being instantly cured."
In other words, I'm begging you: Buy it. Give it a chance. Make sure you memorize the Distortions list; that alone can save your life. This book WILL help you.
Other books that have helped me tremendously with overcoming depression: "Learned Optimism" by Martin Seligman ; "Living Fearlessly" by Rhonda Britten. Check those out, too. Good luck!
265 of 273 people found the following review helpful
A mistitled, misunderstood book June 22 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I ignored the comments attached to this book before ordering, and I'm glad I did. As has often been said, a review says more about the reviewer than the object in question, mine included. This book is meant to accomplish very specific things, which are clearly outlined in the book, and it does those things extremely well.
The problem is of course the title: it puts the book in the "thinner thighs" niche, and this is no quick fix, fairy tale book. This is not a superficial or simplistic book, though it is simple. The book was originally written for a 10 day workshop for disadvantaged people of various types who had one thing in common: major depression. As such, it's sort of an inpatient book. Most of us can't do it in 10 business days, either because of the time required or because of the emotional stamina it would require.
I've read hundreds of self-help books over the years, and many of them have fine ideas. Like diets, though, we don't DO them. The point of this book is to put Burns' lessons down on paper, because that's the only way you learn. Keeping it in your head simply does not work(I've tried), no matter who you are.(I have three Ivy League degrees blah blah, but that's not worth a hill of beans in emotional healing or learning how to have a mental, spiritual, and physical life coexist happily.) CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)has been shown effective for people with not much education. It's the effort that counts, according to studies cited in his books.
I read Burns' first book over 10 years ago, but put it aside because it just was too much; it wasn't helpful to me at that point. I've come a long way since then, and now have the patience, persistence, and yes desperation, to do whatever I can. Luckily I stumbled across the first book again recently and recognized it for the gem it is. This workbook forces me to actually do the work instead of thinking about it. That has been extraordinarily valuable, because I am depressed, can't be bothered to do things, and don't want to do potentially painful things. Depression is a fierce, dangerous thing, and until I recognized it for what it is, I would not have taken the time and effort to do the book. FWIW.
I personally have fun drawing stick figures as the book suggests. Not much about depression work is fun, so I'll take it where I can get it, especially if it is also the most practical route to a better life.
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
First book I have ever felt so good about that I am writting May 24 2002
By Liberty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The concepts in this book worked for me. I was very skeptical in the beginning but found the simple techniques to be very effective. It was hard work at times but the dividends were great. With time, I found myself looking forward to working the book. I set aside 15 minutes 5 days a week. I ended up missing some days but spending more then 15 minutes on others. Many mornings, with my cup of coffee in hand and a pencil in the other I would read a page or two then dive into the exercises. The workbook takes much longer then the ten days that the title suggests. It took me about three months to complete the ten outlined steps. Yes, this is a book you must work and write in. Don't bother buying it if you don't want to write.
The book starts out with a depression checklist, anxiety inventory and relationship exercise at the beginning of each chapter. These exercises go fast. They are very helpful for doing a basic checkup and tracking any progress. At first, I saw little change but with time my scores were showing some real signs of improvement. Each week I was learning something new and eventually found it easier to get up each morning.
This workbook is designed to challenge your negative thoughts and show you ways to untwist your thinking. Dr. Burns suggests fifteen practical ways to confront your self-defeating thoughts. You will learn about self-defeating beliefs and how they differ from negative thoughts. You will become skilled at accepting negative thoughts while maintaining a healthy self-esteem and balanced view of yourself. �Your thoughts create your moods. When you are upset it�s not so much what�s happening to you, but the way you think about it that causes you to feel the way you do.�
Life is full of many ups and downs but if you are stuck and are looking for help get this book and work this book. The author will tell you that his research has showed that 70% of the people who used these techniques improve but 30% do not. This book is not for everyone but I can honestly say the principles in this book have helped me grow. While there is still more work ahead and more to do I feel that I am better equipped then before to tackle my problems. Thank you Dr Burns!
59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Deceptively Powerful July 31 2005
By AE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For over 15 years I've suffered with mild to moderate chronic depression. I've been on six different anti-depressants, had five years of talk therapy, and read a shelf full of books on depression. My results have been marginal.

Nothing changes my moods and outlook as quickly or as powerfully as the work I do guided by Burn's book. His approach looks simple--even simplistic at times. Do not be deceived. The approach, thinking, and exercises in the book are sound and sophisticated. The key is following Burns' instructions and doing the work.

When I purchased my copy of Burns' book, I dismissed the title as marketing hype. The title proved true for me. In less than a week after beginning the work in the book, I saw significant changes in my mood, motivation, and outlook on life.

Get the book. Do the work. The exercises are challenging. There are days I hate Burns and his book. I do the exercises anyway--they invariably result in mood changes within hours.


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