A valuable and compact approach for removing the most corrosive tendencies of self-criticism.


A debut guide explores ways to control and silence self-doubts.

“The Critic operates inside of you,” writes Ross in his book. “It is your enemy.” In a brief narrative characterized by this type of blunt language, the author describes the three central components of the kind of deeply internalized self-criticism that’s the subject of his manual. This self-criticism (“the Critic”) is first of all autonomous—it’s not a product of conscious choice. Second, this censure is also, paradoxically, external, created from negative input received as a child (“Even though the criticism comes from within, it is foreign in nature”). And third, this appraisal is completely negative and malicious. Ross breaks down every aspect of the Critic and its tactics, always in sharp, succinct language designed to be remembered. Readers are told, for instance, that the Critic’s attacks are always lies, since they rely on the presumption that the entire person, rather than some aspect, is deficient (“No one on the planet can be defective, or a loser or worthless…as a person”). The discussion ranges from the toll the Critic exacts on individuals to the cumulative waste and misery it causes the whole world in collateral damage, such as “marital and family strife, domestic violence, divorce, childhood abuse, rape, teen suicide, depression, crime, terrorism, persecution—and so much more.” By skillfully anatomizing both the tactics and the component parts of the inner conflicts that give rise to the Critic, Ross constructs a series of straightforward approaches to fixing the problem. “Since anger is always toxic,” he writes at one point, “the goal is to eliminate it 100%.” This kind of frank, no-nonsense advice will be invaluable to many readers accustomed to the fuzzy generalities of most self-help books. Although the author pays far too little attention to the well-known positive effects an inner critic can have (tact, for instance, would be impossible otherwise), his guide delivers a bolt of refreshingly direct advice on how to ease up on yourself. 

A valuable and compact approach for removing the most corrosive tendencies of self-criticism. 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-578-08492-3

Page Count: 172

Publisher: Out Reach Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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