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Book Review: You’re Stronger than You Think

On the front end: this is a book by a clinical psychologist. I have a general discomfort with psychologists/psychiatrists, with the exceptions of Dr. Sidney Freedman and Dr. Gordon Wyatt, so I did not dig into this with the expectation that it would be a great book.

However, Tyndale Publishers was offering You’re Stronger than You Think through their blog give-away program and I wanted a free book. Even if it was one I thought I would dislike. Hey, free book in exchange in for the review, right?

Instead of finding just some unnecessary shrinky-stuff, though, this book was more encouraging than I expected. While it is focused on psychological issues, it is a worthwhile read. Here are a few of the keys to the book:

1. Dr. Parrott focuses on parts of the human experience that are shared: mind, heart, and soul. This makes a strength for the book: I have seen some “self-help” that over-focus on the impact of physical exercise on your well-being. While everyone should exercise to their physical abilities, not everyone can improve their life by running marathons. So that’s not quite a universal advice.

Parrott does not give you that. Instead, this book focuses on what we all can do: strengthen our minds, strengthen our emotions, and strengthen our souls. It may be more difficult for some than for others, but all of us can make strides here.

2. Flowing from this, the book focuses on what we can do. It is broken down into short chapters that provide attainable actions. There is no “go forth and conquer your fears by doing something insanely dangerous” advice. Rather, the focus is on conquering your fears by daring to live your normal life without being consumed by it.

3. Additionally, while Parrott is not exactly cautious in how he quotes and utilizes Scripture, the work does originate from a view of humanity as more than just a mere animal. This is important to me. Parrott’s basic view of humanity is that God has better for us than we often attain, and his effort reflects that.

The work, though, does not fire on all cylinders. The largest concern I would express is that it borders on being a silver-bullet thinking book: if you just think this way, that will fix everything. While there are some who can completely will themselves into a better state of being, for others it will take more than just a minor change of thought patterns.

This is not to say the work is not helpful. However, some portions of it will take willpower that, if you don’t have, the book can’t give. And if you do have it, a few chapters are unnecessary.

Also, though this should be obvious, the book does not really address abnormal or extreme circumstances. It is worth noting that if you have been through major trauma or deal with physiologically-based issues, you would be wise to consult with a medical professional and not just read a book.

In all, I would rank this book 3.5 stars out of 5. Worth reading and considering.

Note: Free book received from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for the review.

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