hardcover, 280 pages
a review copy of this book was provided through TLC Book Tours
Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker, writer, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist who wrote an article that went viral. First there was the post in Life Hack, which turned into an article at Forbes. Morin, who draws on both life experience, and her observation of human behavior (she works as a psychotherapist, after all), drew up her list of "13 Things" that she knew held people back from succeeding. She drew up her list when she herself was dealing with a series of losses and difficult experiences.
The original article, "Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid," was so monumentally popular (and presumably helpful to readers) that Morin turned it into a book: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do.
Do you need this book? The short answer is probably yes, but go ahead, take this online assessment:
Unless you're really good at cheating at these things, you might need this book. Or you have the mental strength of Wonder Woman.
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do is an approachable, easy to use book. Morin uses personal stories from her life, or the lives of people she knows, anecdotes from successful people (mostly in the business world), and examples from her therapy clients. These illustrations of the bad habits that hold people back are easy to understand, and Morin makes her book very helpful in the sense that she gives very specific things to do and to avoid.
In this list of 13 habits or ways of thinking, there are probably some that will really hit home for the reader, and some that will not. For me, the chapter "They Don't Fear Alone Time" wasn't one I needed to focus on. I'm an introvert who loves solitude, so fearing alone time isn't a problem for me. But the chapter on not focusing on things you can't control: that one spoke to me.
One thing that stands out about this book is the fact that Morin frames her book in terms of what the reader shouldn't do. This might be one reason for the wide appeal of her original article: most lists like this would focus on what the reader should do. But Morin tells the reader about negative habits that can stand in the way of success--and they are things you might never have thought about.
What I like about this book is the clarity of Morin's examples, and the fact that she really focuses on ways that you can change your thinking. She gives a brief self-assessment in each chapter, so the reader can recognize: Do I do this? I also liked Morin's encouraging tone, and her overall positive view that we can recognize and change unhealthy thinking and mental habits.
The best approach to this book is probably to read it through once, then keep it on your bedside table. Pick one mental habit to work on at a time. You can do it: you can become more mentally strong, and change the way you think. Get out of your own way.