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How To Do The Work: The Sunday Times Bestseller Paperback – 9 March 2021
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From the Publisher
- Publisher : Orion Spring; 1st edition (9 March 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1409197743
- ISBN-13 : 978-1409197744
- Dimensions : 15.2 x 2.6 x 23.2 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 82 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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I want to be honest though, and say I’ve been disappointed. There was very little new for me here. Perhaps I should take that as a positive because it shows how much I have learned in a lifetime of amateur self-helping? I’m not sure, but it is certainly not a life changing booking for me. Flipping to the suggested reading was telling..I mean I was a bit surprised at the simplicity of it. Sure, the Power of Now is great, but..uhh. She has a PhD in psychology, but I get the feeling she got most of her ideas from the same pop-psychology books that I’ve read. I guess I was expecting something more.
Also, I’m aware Nicole has been criticised over race concerns. I’m not qualified to speak to that, but I will say it sure seemed like there’d been a last minute edit to include race issues so as to counter this criticism. It felt odd and disjointed, and if she has been accused of racism I don’t think this kind of hasty edit will help her cause. It just comes across as of covering for herself and inauthentic. Also, it’s sits uncomfortably to me to include the trauma of racism, which is a huge, pervasive cancer, alongside a bunch of more petty stuff. I appreciate and benefit from Nicole’s point that trauma is all the pain, big and small, not a one off past event. But some things require extra care and you can’t just lump them in together. Racism (I imagine) is a different kind of trauma to occasional childhood emotional neglect. And that’s a different trauma to severe sexual abuse. Some things can’t be handled with journaling and breathwork. And some things require a whole society to do it’s collective “work”, to change its attitudes and beliefs and are not incumbent on the individual to heal by themselves.
Anyhow, I went and had a look on US Amazon and there seem to be many polarising reviews. I’m not going to rave about this book nor denounce it. I sincerely hope there will be many people who find her ideas new, liberating and helpful. I am sure Nicole is a good and well-intentioned person, and she’s certainly put herself out there with plenty of personal sharing and openness. I wish her well, but I will be passing the book on to the charity shop and respectfully unfollowing her on IG because I’m disappointed. (Call me cynical, but I’m sure the income and fame will compensate her enough for the occasional bad reviews like mine).
I’m wary of people wanting to put Nicole on a pedestal as some kind of guru, or even someone with much more wisdom than the next person. Eg: I don’t think cutting off from her family is a sign of someone with good boundaries, it’s a sign of someone unable to perform the difficult work of holding firm boundaries with family whilst simultaneously keeping a compassionate connection. As her family are pretty “average” and not severely abusive or anything, it just gives the impression Nicole has let fame go to her head and become ungrounded. Ultimately who am I to judge of course, but nevertheless I’m wary of her setting herself out as an good example to follow. I say this as someone who tried to cut ties with my own family at one point. It just doesn’t work that way, though there is an initial relief to be sure. It doesn’t last. There’s a real art and hard work to better boundaries and throwing the babies out with the bath water is not helpful to anyone except those with irredeemably abusive, toxic families. Nicole’s family don’t sound that way to me. Just on different wavelengths to her. You can put appropriate distance between yourself and your family and still keep some connection and compassion.
If anyone’s interested (fellow seekers and self-helpers), a book that I really did find life-changing was the late psychiatrist David Hawkin’s Letting Go. I should probably pick that up again and keep going on a path I trust works for me.
P.s. If you do decide to buy the book and want to listen via Audible, make sure you listen to her voice on the sample first and be sure it doesn’t aggravate you like it does me.
This book was given to me in my time of need and it's been instrumental in my acceptable and management.
Everyone should own this book!
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 March 2021
The book is not anti-black! Nowhere in this book does Nicole make any racists remarks. Another review mentions the book has no solutions- literally every single chapter offers solutions at the end and exercises you can do to help with your healing. This book was also criticised for trying to be a replacement for therapy and medication. Nicole does not urge anyone to do that in her content or book! Anyone should be able to do some self reflection, how is that a bad thing?
Now moving on to my review..
It was a very easy read and I can honestly say thank you Nicole for this book. It is enlightening and gives me hope for myself, my well-being and for the relationships I have with other people in my life. What you can expect from the book is learning about the act of being conscious in our day to day lives, about how to set healthy boundaries in situations where we could not before or didn’t know how, about family trauma and its effects on the body, things you can do to help your body get rid of trauma, meeting seeing and healing your inner child, reparenting your inner child, core beliefs, the ego and what role it plays in our life, how we can actively be conscious to loosen the ego and much more. If more people read a book like this and DO THE WORK, maybe the world would be filled with nicer less resentful people.
Also, yes she throws in a few sentences about racism almost as if it was an after the fact and needed to squeeze them in.
With that being said, this is a decent book to read as a parent so you are aware that you can literally do the best you can, have a child with an adverse childhood experience of 1 and she might still write a book about how you severely damaged her mental health.
This book is very much “victim play and blame everyone else” so if that’s not your thing buy another book. All the anecdotes/studies/ideas I found interesting from the book came from other books anyway.
Also, the work? What the entire book is named after? Is not even clearly laid out but from what I gather it’s journaling, breath work and yoga.
On top of that she implies that illnesses like autoimmune disease and cancer are down to the person with them not dealing with stored childhood trauma. This is insulting, dangerous and a disgusting abuse of influence. To shame the victim of a potentially terminal illness reeks of snake oil and nonsense in order to sell books and make a quick buck.
There's very little on HOW to do the work she goes on about. At the end of each chapter you'll find a few prompts for 'future journaling' (which is never properly explained) and some mantras. Later on she talks about breath work, yoga and eating a wholefood diet with a bit of fasting (what's new there?).
I read the first 5 chapters, started to feel like I was wasting my time, skimmed the rest of the book and got rid of it. This is clearly a case of a publisher approaching someone with a decent online following and convincing them to write a book to make some fast money.
The book is badly written, badly researched and full of unbelievable anecdotes which are meant to make the gullible believe that they might have a miraculous recovery too. It's full of pseudoscience passed off as fact and backed up with a few references to very small scale studies which are there to 'prove' she's right. The chapter on identifying if you have stored trauma lists just about every negative trait someone might experience (so she's covering her bases).
Don't waste your time or money. Have a quick scroll through her insta account as you'll learn as much there as you will from this book. It's very disappointing.