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on November 17, 2001
The first time I read this book was when it first came out in 1977. I've re-read it several times since then. My copy is marked up and dog-eared, yellowed and brittle, and falling apart. Yet, it's still an interesting read every time I pick it up.
The first part is a quick biography explaining how Jose Silva came to his discovery and development of the Silva Method. The rest of it is a how-to manual. It lays the groundwork for his later books which concentrate on applying these principles to your life.
The Silva Method is based on a simple philosophy that you become what you think you are. If you have a negative self-image, then you become that person in the real world. If you want to change who you are in the real world, you need to change who you are in your mind. And he tells you how to do it.
On one level, it's a beginner's course in positive thinking, giving you step-by-step instructions on active meditation and creative visualization. Silva tells you how to go to your "alpha level" (a semi-conscious dream state), create a positive self-image, and turn it into reality. Even if you never get past this beginning stage, if all you can do is repeat Emile Coue's daily affirmations, "Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better" and "Negative thoughts have no influence over me", you'll still be so much better for it. It's really like positive self-programming.
But, on another level, it's also an advanced course teaching you how to expand your mind to increase your intelligence, improve your memory, develop ESP, heal your injuries and disease, and even heal others. Getting there is a little more difficult for most of us because it involves a leap of logic and faith. We have to overcome our belief systems.
You may have some difficulty with this book if you tend to be very literal in a scientific sense. We all know the mind is capable of many things, but there's no hard scientific evidence for some of Silva's more extraordinary claims. There's only anecdotal evidence, mostly of the kind that cannot be measured or quantified. Believing that your mind can influence yourself may be easy to accept, but believing that your mind can influence others requires a leap in logic.
You may also have some difficulty with this book if you tend to be very literal in a strict Christian sense. The Silva philosophy is that you can control, or at least greatly influence, your own destiny. And you need a strong faith ... in yourself. Then you can do anything ... even things we might think of as "miracles". That might be hard to reconcile with your belief that only God can perform miracles. He also speaks of God in a more universal sense, a "Higher Intelligence". It sounds more like the "Force" in Star Wars than the Biblical God.
Anyway, Silva's books can mean many different things to many different people. The scientific community has debunked it. The religious community has denounced it. And it sounds a little too New Age-ish.
But, in the final analysis, it's really a recipe for finding -- within ourselves -- the happiness, peace, understanding and success we're all searching for.
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on September 3, 2000
This is the kind of book I would probably never buy, but my mother did for some reason and I found myself reading it.
This book describes José Silva's method of mental development and stress control. Silva, a TV repairman started studying the electrical activity of the human body under certain conditions (meditation, hypnosis). Over several years, Silva noticed how the stages of lower electrical activity would mean a higher capacity for storage and attention and figured out that if he managed to control his awareness and remain conscious, but free of such electrical noise, following few steps would allow the development of certain 'extraordinary' skills. These, he claims, can change your reality, depending on how you use your mind; including improving your health, reducing stress, improving your memory, and allowing you some abilities like perception and a distance and perception through time.
Silva's teachings are based on one single aspect: The way you think about your reality, the way your mind is lead eventually influences your material world, especially your own body. As Emile Coué said many years ago, "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better", and Silva's followers agree. If you keep that spirit and follow Silva's procedures, you will notice improvements in about everything in your life.
To keep it short, that is what the book claims, or at least, that's what I got out of it. I was pleased with it in several ways, but a few problems are present... 1) Silva's book is very poorly written, I found the book to be miserably organized, from the first page to the non-existing glossary, giving it a very amateurish look, far from the scientific flavour that Silva would probably sometimes want us to notice.
2) Silva's claims are extraordinary. From amazing memory skills to eradication of nasty physical illnesses, this book makes it sound as if developing, experiencing and controlling these phenomena is something as easy as learning how to drive or playing a musical instrument. I found this approach extremely negative, as it reduces some of my belief in the whole book and leaves the reader wondering if there's anything really going on or if it is just a festival of wishful thinking and self-delusion. People who enthusiastically subscribe to New Age beliefs will be delighted, but sceptics will promptly use it to throw Silva's book in the pile of pseudoscience junk. It is a pity that those claims are so excessive and "easy". Silva is right, something is definitely going on, and leading-edge science is now becoming aware of radical new theories on the horizon about consciousness and matter; it can no longer be denied, but making it sound as something you can understand and control so easily is as dangerous as refusing it completely.
3) And for all those extraordinary claims, where is the extraordinary evidence? This book has a few case "studies" and reports, but hardly anything you can check for yourself. Silva offers very few connections to real documents, does not point to any studies most of the time and just expects you to accept the claims on some sort of faith. You get no notes and the References section is pathetically small. Major claims, little evidence. Even when the book was first release this would be a major problem, and now it is embarrassingly bad, when compared to similar titles.
4) The book is plagued by self-promotion. Not to Silva himself, but to the course. From page one to the end, you will constantly be reminded about the course, what students do there, you even have a few pages with the detailed schedule for the course, including coffee breaks. I don't mind having the address mentioned and a few contacts, but after a while, it gets a bit too much. I know about the course already, get on with the book.
Now the good parts: Well, I didn't hate it. I actually enjoyed reading this book. The paragraphs explaining you how to meditate and ridiculously simple, in fact, you get about one page telling you how to do it. Hardly effective, but it might be perfect for some people wanting to start it as quickly as possibly and later dwell deepen into it with the help of other titles.
I believe in the main argument of this book, your will somehow shape your physical reality, but not to such extent. The effects are still not really understood, very subtle and very hard to control at all. Still, even with all the exaggeration, the book will probably help you to get rid of your stress and it is surprisingly fun, you will very probably find yourself trying to do the meditation exercises, and will very likely feel better doing it.
If you require some proof to believe like I do, stay away from this book, or complement it with a scientifically solid work, especially material that covers mind-matter interaction effect studies involving living systems. I recommend "The Conscious Universe" from Dean Radin" for a start. If you don't need proof, well, believing in yourself is the main ingredient, so it will probably work for you. Also, if you want to learn more about meditation, you better look somewhere else, as Silva will give you NO details at all about it other than a quick how-to. "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn is a great book on this subject, which will definitely help. Religion is not directly mentioned and I don't think it will damage your interest in the book, no matter if you believe or not. Some religions will perhaps feel that the amount of control and power Silva says you can have is pretty close to heresy, and the book is closer to Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism, but it is not oriented to any specific faith.
Overall, an interesting book, based on some good arguments, but now very dated (1977), completely fails to show solid scientific evidence (many more studies and meta-analysis are now available) and lacking organization.
Still fun if you don't take it too seriously and are prepared to complement it with other titles, but lacking in many areas if you expect it to be complete and updated. Give it a try.
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on June 17, 2003
Some years ago,I put Silva Method in practice and I can report the following :when in Alpha, I visualized things as if I was seeing them through a microscope.I saw an orange with an amazing detail; I even saw the little white corpuscules of orange's skin.If I visualized a face, that face was much more real to me than when I actually was seeing it. I must confess that I succeeded in modifying the behaviour of a person in a way that was almost impossible to imagine (and I repent for that).Many more achievements were obtained by me with this practice.After that, I have read other books about manifestation and visualization : Neville,Melita Denning,Christian Larson and I think Silva Method offers what these books are not able to offer : a way to attain subconscious mind.A very easy way !Of course,I wonder what's the relation between such things and spiritual matters.Neville explains that relation.After all,faith without works is dead faith.Silva Method seems to me a way to the works. The main question is : what one will do with this tool. The responsability is ours.
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on March 26, 2004
I read this book as a teenager. It got me started on a journey of self-discovery. I managed to heal myself of a bad health condition and I found myself rapidly attaining my goals. I attended the Silva Mind Control Seminar in the early 90s and it was great. I also attended the newer version, Silva UltraMind in 2001 and it was fantastic. The ESP demonstrations were mind blowing. I like this book, but this book explains the concepts behind the older Silva Mind Control seminar rather than providing you techniques on how to actually apply Silva Techniques. For this I would recommend the book "How to Get Help from Your other Side" by Jose Silva (unfortunetly now out-of-print so you'll have to search through older book stores). I would also recommend the new course, Silva Ultramind which you can find at [...] This is the latest Silva System.
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on January 11, 1999
Before proceeding any further let me tell you won't waste your time from reading such a book like this. There's sufficient scientifical evidence from the practical findings done by Jose Silva and there's enough literature on the field of brain activity and visualization which NOW strongly support his remarkable techniques. Any Psychologist is witness to that. I first learned about Jose Silva Mind Control Method by reading this practical and amazing book. After trying some of the techniques outlined on it and seeing and enjoying the amazing results I decided to attend a seminar in MEXICO CITY in 1987. I graduated from the Basic Course and to my surprise EVERYTHING improved in my life since then EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY!!. My grades as a student, my personal finances, my relationships with others, my job, my health. I don't mean that there was anything wrong or I was in any special need for something. I think what I received was the knowledge to use all the special faculties I was endowed with as a Human being. I do sincerely recommend this book and I wish you to practice the dynamic meditation Jose Silva presents. Personaly I practice every day the simple meditation which I believe is in no conflict with any religion or philosophical point of view, quite the contrary I belive is a natural state of being. One last word, you need not to be an oustanding visualizer to make Silva Method work, it only takes to be a HUMAN BEING with the desire to be better and the courage and discipline to do it. Believe in yourself!
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on January 11, 2000
...and if you would like to accomplish your goals more effectively, this book is for you. Silva tells you how he developed his method, and what he has done with it. Then he tells you how, step by step, you can accomplish the same things. It is a meditation method, but it's more ACTIVE than most (and more enjoyable). Many scientific studies have been done on this method and they find it has all the benefits of mantra meditation, including reduced stress, increased health, and a greater sense of well-being. In addition, you can use your relaxed frame of mind to accomplish tasks while you are meditating. For example, you might create a solution to a problem, or generate good ideas to help you reach a goal.
I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I'm an expert on effective self-help. The Silva Method is a very effective way to help yourself to a better life.
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on July 15, 1999
Don't buy this book, or you'll be tempted to take the course like I did. The book tantalizes you but you need to take the course to learn all the techniques. People who have never been exposed to mediation, self-help, positive affirmation, etc. experience dramatic results and benefits after taking the course.
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on January 17, 2010
First, I recommend johnnymag's review, above, as an excellent explanation of the contents of this book, and as a very comprehensive statement of several different perspectives from which one could view 'The Silva Mind Control Method'.

Given the scope of johnnymag's review, I will not be reviewing the content of the book; rather, I wanted to share the several significant (and positive ways). in which the book has affected my life in the hope that it might inspire others.

I discovered 'The Silva Mind Control Method' book several years before becoming a psychotherapist, at a very difficult time in my life. From my current perspective - and as I think Jose Silva explains in the book (or maybe I read this elsewhere) - I recognize that many of the techniques that he came up with share much with other, emerging 'disciplines' of the time, which have now become established, and have achieved varying degrees of respect and credibility. I am talking here about areas of study such as Clinical (Medical) Hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Biofeedback, as well as the practices of several types of meditation, and some kinds of relaxation exercizes.

The ideas presented in these various fields of study have a common basis in the idea that one's unconscious (I'm just using the name that Clinical Hypnosis would give it here, but this can vary) can be in some way instructed, or 'programmed' to heal, 'fix' or rectify problems that we are experiencing in the physical, interpersonal, intrapersonal or emotional realms of our lives.

And these ideas do work. In the years between the first appearance of much of this thinking and the present day, much 'hard' evidence (i.e. positivitic) has appeared in the form of scientific studies in the medical field that provides an explanation for why these practices work - and, of course, an explanation coming from the medical field, which carries so much authority and 'weight', has had the effect of substantiating the knowledge that was previously called into question. Strange how something is regarded as hokum one day, and then slowly becomes accepted and credible.

To return to the book, I was so taken with the ideas in 'The Silva Mind Control Method' book when I read it in the late 1980's, that I used the last of my then meagre savings to take the course, and was very glad that I did.

I was - and remain - stunned by the 'diagnostic' practice that I experienced during the seminar; there were 300 of us in the room at the seminar/workshop, and most people were (pleasantly) bemused, confused, and crying because of the clearly accurate effects of the exercise.

I was no less amazed when I used my Silva training to prepare myself for a job interview (my first job in the field that has become my career). The results of this preparation were that I knew that I would be offered the job, but that I would receive the 'phone call letting me know of my success a week later than I had been told that the employer would respond to me. I knew that that 'phone call would come at noon on a certain day. At precisely 11.55 A.M. on the day in question, I went and stood by the 'phone. It rang five minutes later, and I was offered the job.

While these are the most dramatic examples of the 'power', success, and usefulness of 'The Silva Mind Control Method' in my life, there have been many other occasions on which I have used the techniques in ways which have been very helpful to me (one example is getting into the meditative state of mind that Silva calls 'going to level' to help me successfully get through a 3 month mental block in writing my thesis for my Master's degree).

I go through periods of using the techniques, and periods of not using them, but my experience has been inspiring, and I intend to repeat the seminar within the next few months (this will be free as those who completed the seminar when I went through it had the choice to either have their money refunded - no questions asked - or could accept the appellation of 'grad', which allows one to repeat the seminar as many times as one likes absolutely free, anywhere in the world that it is offered).

Yet another positive effect of reading the book and taking the course has been that I have incorporated some of the techniques I learned into my work doing Individual and Family therapy. I have found that the particular forms in which Jose Silva chose to present some of the ideas about learning and the subconscious are generally much more user friendly than the ways in which they are presented in the psychotherapy field (as well as in N.L.P. and other fields).

One of the other reviewers noted what seem to be some shady practices in terms of marketing on one of the Silva web pages; I certainly find this upsetting, and agree that - if the reviewer is presenting things accurately - the Silva 'people' have an obligation to rectify things so that they are engaging in fair, ethical practices.

I would also urge that reviewer, and others, to not let this put them off reading the book and going for the Basic Level training (if that is what they still call it). I believe that the same 'money back' guarantee that I experienced at the time I went through the seminar still applies, so anyone worrying about being 'ripped' off could think of this this as a 'fail safe'.

Another point that I would like to make is that I - as somebody who is not very visually based, and who has problems visualizing - found the Basic Level seminar essential to informing my experience of the Silva method. Although I found the book inspiring, and it led to me taking the seminar, I was not achieving any of the results from having read the book that I subsequently and immediately began to achieve from having attended the seminar.

I should make it clear that I have no connection with anyone or anything to do with the Silva method (or 'offshoot' 'franchises' which may offer a similar training), and I have nothing to gain from writing this review or recommending the book or the seminar. In fact, although I know another psychotherapist who did the seminar and found it invaluable, I think that most of my colleagues are skeptical when I talk to them about the Silva method.

In closing, I would just like to say that I highly recommend the book and the Basic Level course for the Silva Mind Control Method.
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on August 7, 1999
As the book points out, when you are learning from a book, it requires some form of self discipline on your part too. You need to be courageous enough to experiment with yourself. This book has all the material for a clear understanding on what dynamic meditaion is. I read this book a long time back and I wish I hadn't let time steal away the lessons learnt. (One of my unforgettable experiences while learning from this book was a case of precognition when I was on the chapter of dream recollection, I dreamt to the exact last detail about 15 minutes of my life that was to happen the following day but those 15 minutes the next day was a weird experience to go through :))
Clearly an outstanding book in it's class and one of the best reads.
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on October 5, 1998
I understand that this is THE book to start with by Jose Silva, the radio repairman turned hypnotist, on Mind Control. Being a hypnotist for over 10 years and delving into NLP for the past 3, I find that this book is right on with a lot of Silva's theories about the mind (it's all electrical circuits) and the techniques to explore and improve yourself. However, I thought about a third of the book was just plain testimonials which I really didn't need so much, and the techniques could do with some refinement (almost all are visual techniques--what happens if you're not a visual person?). If the reader is interested in Mind Control, I'd say to also check out books on NLP which is a bit more refined than this.
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