How to develop self-esteem and stop self-defeating behaviors are Branden's themes in this clearly written and practical manual. The author explains what self-esteem is and why it's important. Then in a logical manner he leads the reader through a series of exercises designed to deepen self-awareness and free the person from foolish, destructive habits. The author firmly believes that people can be assisted in learning how to lead fulfilling lives. Self-acceptance, living consciously, liberation from guilt and authentic living are some of the areas covered. In the exercises, the reader is given a sentence stem and asked to complete it, quickly and without thinking too much. For example: ""If the child within could speak, he would say. . ."" The completion of these stems provides insight into a person's status as far as self-esteem goes. Branden's main virtue, aside from being experienced and sensible, is his energetic optimism. He is infectious, encouraging and believes that individuals can accomplish much by themselves. Of course, there are more complex situations which need therapy, but many people could deepen their enjoyment of life with a little conscious effort. This book could help them considerably.