A self-help work that unexpectedly suggests that readers examine their adverse experiences in-depth, instead of getting over them quickly.
A vast number of advice books, particularly those that address trauma, urge readers to try to move past difficulties in order to heal and get on with their lives. Author Nana, however, intriguingly asks whether something positive may be gleaned from upsetting events. In other words, the journey may be more important than the outcome: “Maybe in the struggle, and not necessarily the victory, there is something to be learned, a strength to be gained, skills to be perfected, and confidence to be reinforced.” Although the author doesn’t disregard the validity of post-traumatic stress disorder, she does point out that psychological experiments show that emotional growth is possible as sufferers experience emotional pain. She also notes that such trauma doesn’t have to be a cataclysmic event: it may be self-doubt that creeps into an athlete’s performance, worry about one’s social or business standing, or uncertainty about a relationship. All of these can cause one to experience what Nana calls “setbacks” in one’s personal journey. She says that the key to moving forward is to slow down and investigate one’s own vulnerability, which is the source of strength in all areas of life. Although the world of business and society at large discourage vulnerability, Nana argues that setbacks “are integral components of strength” that “render us vulnerable and then call upon us to rise.” She then walks readers through the process of reacting to such setbacks, citing scientific research studies to back up her claims. Although some of the passages in this book can seem dense at times, Nana effectively parses the difficult psychological concepts and adds her own commentary, in an effort to make her ideas accessible to all readers. She also includes exercises to round out the program, such as ranking one’s priorities in life, taking a “volunteer test” (“If money were not a factor, and I could volunteer my time anywhere I chose, what would I do?”), and writing a sermon to clarify one’s beliefs, which makes the book practical as well as theoretical.
A useful, well-researched addition to the self-help genre.