Category Archives: Self-Help Book Reviews

Self-Help Book Reviews. Reviews of Self-Help Books

Book Review: Mobbed

Book review of
Mobbed!: What to Do When They Really Are Out to Get You

by Janice Harper, Ph.D.
Self-help, Abuse
234 pages, Backdoor Press (2013)

Reviewed by Anne Smith

Janice Harper is an author and cultural anthropologist. In her book Mobbed!: What to Do When They Really Are Out to Get You, she combines her career and personal experiences. The result is a very well written examination of mobbing. First, it is good to know we define bullying as when one person repeatedly and purposefully hurts another. More than one person bullying is known as a mob or mobbing. Harper states that group mentality (a mob) takes on a mind of it’s own and is much more difficult and devastating for the target. Everyone is at their worst in a mobbing explains Harper. The tension and stress is high. What is very interesting is that Mobbed! is written for work place mobbing, but the similarities between parent estrangement by your adult child and mobbing in the workplace are strikingly similar.

Harper begins with research and information about animal behavior and reveals similarities to human behavior. She then focuses on what to expect when someone attacks you, spreads lies, alienates or shuns you, defames your reputation or character. It is good to hear you are not alone and that your feelings are ‘normal’. It’s also good to hear what you could do to make things better and what you should avoid doing so you don’t make things worse.

Harper’s approach is very different from the many authors who write on the subject of bullying or mobbing. While most will tell you to ‘talk it out’ with the bully or ‘stand up’ to the bully, Harper suggests we stay quiet and step out of the way of the bully and focus on ourselves instead. We cannot change the mind of someone who is full of rage, hate, or anger. You will not change the person who is bullying so do not try. If you could manage to move forward knowing that, you are likely to find peace.

Harper emphasizes that is extremely important to find a way to feel compassion for those doing the mobbing. Without it, it will be very difficult for you to grow from this experience and heal. She explains that in any social situation, we must stop thinking in terms of good, bad, or evil. What we are seeing in a mobbing are good people going wrong.

Speaking to others, going on and on to family and friends about the situation may alienate you even more. Even your closest family member or friend will tire of the stories. The problem is that you are rightfully overwhelmed, scared, and engulfed in this situation. You must find peace with the compassion for those involved, and then redirect your focus on yourself.

You may be shocked at the turn around from some family and friends. Accusations from the ones you once trusted will hurt you the most. As the mobbing continues, a shift in thinking may occur in some people close to you as they move from ‘what they are doing to you’ to ‘what you did to deserve it’. This is not because those bullying you are correct. It is a normal reaction in a very crazy situation..

I highly recommend Mobbed! to anyone who is mobbed at work or estranged by his or her adult child. The topics covered and the expertise provided delivers a powerful message. Harper does a great job as she explains we cannot shun people, mob or bully them. It is not the way to handle our issues. Also, we cannot change someone else. We can only help ourselves and learn from our own experiences

Book Review: Life Code

Book Review of Life Code: The New Rules For Winning in the Real World

by Dr. Phil McGraw
Self-help, Success, Motivation
244 pages, Bird Street Books

Reviewed by Kathy A. Snyder

Some people live by the Golden Rule and some people don’t. That old saying
of do unto others as you would want done unto you. Have you ever said, “I just don’t understand how he/she could do that!” We have all met people who do their own thing no matter who it negatively impacts. Like that woman who decided your husband is going to be her next husband and wins. That unqualified co-worker who manipulates the boss into promoting him. That relative who tells your unruly teenager that she doesn’t have to follow your rules. Their Golden Rule might be he who has the most gold rules. If your life is impacted by one of these people, then Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World by Dr. Phil McGraw will speak to you.

Life Code is a primer for people who wouldn’t harm a fly and don’t understand how and why other people would or could. Dr. Phil’s theory is good or nice people (my terminology) don’t recognize or understand the mindset of people bent on backstabbing, abusing, showing a false front, taking, exploiting, and who don’t care who and what they hurt. He’s used six words to make up a new term: BAITER or, backstabbers, abusers, imposters, takers, exploiters, and reckless. We all had the experience of people who we thought were a great guy or gal but later find out they have no conscience about doing others harm. These people may be a co-worker, a boss, a friend, or even a spouse or relative.

Chapter 3 is titled, “The Bad Guys”/ “BAITER” Secret Playbook. Dr. Phil gives 15 rules or lessons to recognize how these people end up winning and succeeding. For those of us taught to be nice and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, these may be new and even shocking ideas. I’ll give you a little taste: “#1: They infiltrate your life, seducing you with promises and flattery” and “#15: They are masters of passive-aggressive sabotage.” Those people who make us think we are best friends but then they do something to hurt us emotionally or physically or even damage our reputation or finances. Often we don’t even see it coming and are left wondering why and how.

Dr. Phil doesn’t stop with his description of BAITER behavior. He goes on to teach us how to protect ourselves and learn to not be the victim of someone’s bad intent. Its both reassuring to realize the behavior of people to avoid and shocking to read this behavior laid out in plain English. Too often we convince ourselves that the BAITER in our life didn’t really mean it or if we just say the right thing, the conflict or negative situation will end. He challenges the reader not to settle for just being the victim with a sad story but to choose to be attentive and effective in our own lives with the skills gained from the middle section of Life Code/em>.

The last section involves learning the fine art of negotiation and why it is important. Dr. Phil feels that negotiation is involved in every aspect of life, from choosing meat from the butcher, to getting your spouse or kids to do chores, to asking your boss for a raise. He describes fair negotiation in five “Strategic Steps” from understanding what other people are thinking to setting our own boundaries or limits. Dr. Phil recommends we be the best advocate for ourselves because no one else is going to.

It’s a hard topic but Dr. Phil writes in the same folksy manner that he speaks with and uses humor throughout. I believe others will gain knowledge and understanding about the BAITERS in their lives and begin to live with more self power and insight. Its helpful to recognize the pattern of behavior as they are doing it and learn to protect ourselves rather than possibly being stuck in the depression and sadness of eternal victimhood. These people aren’t going to go away quietly – someone will be their next victim. Don’t let it be you!

Affiliate Notice: Sheri McGregor is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Book Review: Breaking Through Betrayal

Book Review of Breaking through Betrayal: and Recovering the Peace Within

by Holli Kenley, M.A.
Self-Help, Relationships, Interpersonal Relationships
242 pages, Loving Healing Press, 2d Edition

Reviewed by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

The experience of betrayal can be devastating. Feelings including loss, sadness, and anger are normal. Others have found ways to manage and prevail, and they have healed. In Breaking Through Betrayal: and Recovering the Peace Within, 2nd Edition (2d Edition, 2016, Loving Healing Press), author Holli Kenley, a marriage and family therapist, shares examples of real people to provide inspiration and let readers know they are not alone. Kenley helps readers to cope and recover.

A sense of betrayal can come from many sources. An early chapter that defines the topic provides a few sources of “betrayal” you might not have considered before. Whenever you invest your time, energy, money, or trust, and your expectations are dashed, you feel let down, and can experience a sense of betrayal.

Within the first few pages, it becomes evident that Kenley knows her subject well. Drawing from both her professional involvement and from her own painful personal experience, Kenley conveys her understanding of betrayal and its pain from many angles. From her professional experience, she believes that the experience of a betrayal is often behind issues such as depression, grief, anxiety, and anger.

Using plentiful examples and engaging vignettes, Kenley breaks down betrayal and its many instances to help readers better identify their own situations and the resulting distress. Readers may have invested, time, love, and money in things such as a business, an educational pursuit, an organization, a belief, or a relationship. The type of investment, for how long, and to what are all explored in terms of the betrayal experience. The nuances of each shed light on specific experiences, as well as the recovery process.

Careful and Caring

Writing in a caring voice that reminds readers to pace themselves and pause when needed, Kenley provides rare, honest glimpses into the pain and thought processes that accompany betrayal. Confusion, worthlessness, and powerlessness are common. So is a sense that one has lost control, as if imprisoned by circumstances. These strong feelings can result in thought patterns that make predictions about the future and our place in the future that we can’t know are true. Kenley gently challenges the thoughts then leads the reader to replace them with healthier, more empowering ones. Readers may not have previously been fully aware of what is keeping them stuck.

In this second edition, Kenley has added information on self-betrayal and relapse.

Breaking Through Betrayal: and Recovering the Peace Within, 2d Edition includes exercises to help identify and analyze betrayal experiences.  However, readers who choose not to sit down with paper and pen will benefit from guidance, examples, and contemplative material within the text. Intellectual acumen is balanced with heartfelt understanding written in a respectful, hopeful manner.

Divided into three main sections that lead to recovery, Breaking Through Betrayal: and Recovering the Peace Within, 2nd Edition doesn’t sugarcoat the subject. Recovering from betrayal takes time, requires awareness and work, and may at times be painful. Readers are helped to move forward without being pushed.

And Kenley points out that the understanding and knowledge gained through the experience of betrayal and recovery can be a gift.

Affiliate Notice: Sheri McGregor is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.