Soooo, about my book reviews on my website. I tweaked and played about five major times with layout, format, etc. between 2005 and 2015. It has come up enough that my wife’s reaction to ANOTHER change was basically that I was always fiddling with it, wasn’t I? Not quite, but it obviously seems like it to her.
Early on, it was just by email. Then I had a website, and I tried multiple layouts and even some plugins. I was posting the reviews on Amazon, and even had some inkling that maybe some day I could be a top reviewer for them. Lots of people do 10-20 reviews and stop, and back when I was starting, even 500 reviews would have put you in the top 50. Then Amazon exploded and their affiliate program grew too, so now people review EVERYTHING. So I expanded my reviews to post them elsewhere too — Indigo, Google, Barnes and Noble, GoodReads, Ottawa Public Library, LibraryThing, etc. » Read the rest
The last chapter of Jeffrey Kottler’s book, “Change”, was one of the ones I was most looking forward to reading — “Why Changes Don’t Often Last”. The sobering statistics are quite common in pop psych — the huge numbers of people who set New Year’s resolutions but abandon them before the first week is out (often from trying for perfection in “Just Do It” mode rather than incremental chain-growth like the Seinfeld method mentioned earlier), and that 80% of those who join gyms stop going after the first few visits even though they keep paying for membership for much longer (the illusion of still being committed that would be shattered by formally quitting their membership).
Oddly enough, I was quite surprised at the beginning of the chapter that those who study change don’t have a firm grasp of why it fails. First and foremost, those who are heavy at work in the change industry — like therapists or weightloss consultants — don’t know what happens after the patient reaches a goal. » Read the rest
Jeffrey Kottler says he saved the most difficult subject for last in his book, “Change”, and it is addressed by Chapter 13, “Soliciting Support and Resolving Conflicts in Relationships”. He isn’t kidding. There are some really tough things in this chapter, often dealing with abusive spouses, parents with addictions, and family problems out the wazoo. It is both a problem in and of itself as well as an obstacle to other changes being accomplished. A list he includes of the types of changes you would like to make in relationships is an extremely powerful one, simply put:
Changing the patterns of those that are frustrating, unsatisfying, or unfulfilling;
Setting boundaries for relationships that aren’t meeting your needs or are taking a bite out of your soul;
Reducing the level and intensity of conflicts with others, especially those locked into repetitive patterns;
Ending relationships that don’t seem amenable to necessary changes;
Enhancing intimacy with friends and loved ones;
Feeling and expressing more love and caring in current relationships;
Initiating and broadening new relationships that meet interests and needs that are currently unsatisfied;
Experiencing more authentic, caring, honest, respectful, and fun exchanges with people on a daily basis;
Processing and recovering from perceived slights and relational difficulties in the past;
Practicing forgiveness to let some things go and move forward without lingering resentment; and,
Learning from past mistakes, misjudgements, and relationship breaches in order to enhance future connections.
I am not sure how to review Chapter 12 of Jeffrey Kottler’s book “Change”. The chapter isn’t bad, and it focuses quite well on “Changing People’s Lives While Transforming Your Own”. The problem is that it is a bit narrowly-focused.
If the change you are looking for in life is that you are unhappy, I suspect it is a decent chapter. It deals with altruism vs. reciprocity, the “helper’s high”, being part of something bigger than yourself, paying back (altruism born of similar suffering), or even “my life is my message”. Namely living according to your principles, transformation through service. All laudable, good elements.
But if you are dealing with a problem like weightloss, or a specific addiction, but you are generally happy in your life, or you are already in a service mindset, it wouldn’t be a very helpful chapter. I’m not sure it is even worthy of being a separate chapter. » Read the rest
Chapter 11 of Jeffrey Kottler’s “Change” is titled “Creating Meaning and Happiness” and I admit that it starts off pretty strong.
You don’t find happiness, but rather, you create it a little bit at a time. This is an active process of invention as much as discovery, one in which you shape the meaning of your own experiences in such a way that they inspire you to continue along the transformative path. […] It is estimated that about 50% of reported happiness is the result of genetics, and another 10% is influenced by particular situations and contexts. The good news is that this means that as much as 40% can be shaped, influenced, and controlled by strategic intentional actions. [pp. 235-236]
I’m not as thrilled a few pages later though when he shifts into the concept of those who move away from “happiness” as being too hard to define. I don’t disagree that it’s challenging, but I think most people understand intuitively what it means to be unhappy rather easily, and even what it means to be extremely happy. » Read the rest