I bought this book after reading "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge, MD, which is a fascinating book. In it, Doidge mentions Schwartz and his method for helping patients who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
In "You Are Not Your Brain," Schwartz and Gladding expand on that method and help the reader apply it to other problems that result from what they call deceptive brain messages. I have also heard these deceptive brain messages referred to as automatic negative thoughts, core beliefs, et cetera. Essentially, they are ideas/beliefs you have that lead you to engage in bad habits, feel terrible about yourself, avoid taking actions you need to take, and generally prevent you from living the life you want to live. One example the book gives is an actor who doesn't believe he's good enough and therefore does not go on auditions for parts and, as a result, sabotages his own career success. In short, these false messages are running your life and it's time to stop listening to them. This book teaches you to identify these false brain messages, how to deal with them and how to take back control of your choices and your life.
Could this book have been written in a more engaging and perhaps slightly more cohesive way? Sure, but I bought this book for what it could teach me, and it has taught me a great deal. It goes beyond what a lot of books say, which is to write down and challenge the deceptive brain messages. Yes, that's helpful, but the steps in this book, especially the steps about doing something constructive and engaging while allowing those brain messages to continue to play on in the background are what really creates lasting change in your brain.
I liked the concept of the "Wise Advocate." You can re-cast it, if you like, as the role of a higher power or perhaps "Your Best Self," but the result is the same: to teach you to look at yourself with kindness, compassion and to believe the best things possible about yourself.
This book also contains tables you can fill in, either in the book itself or on a separate piece of paper. I found these tables to be quite helpful in really getting clear on what my messages were and what they were costing me.
Before this book came out, I had tried various methods for dealing with my deceptive brain messages, but the method described in this book is the only method that's really worked for me, and so for that, it deserves five stars. If you are looking for a good companion book to this one, "The Brain that Changes Itself" is excellent, but it's not instructive. This one is.