McClymont’s self-help book presents a guide for turning fear into a guiding light.
While FDR famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” McClymont takes the idea a step further. Rather than instructing readers to ignore fear in the interest of making it go away, she drives home the idea that people should acknowledge and investigate their fear and ultimately make it work for them. The author’s philosophy suggests that people should reflect upon their previous encounters with fear and ponder how things could have been done differently. Then, when confronted with similar fearful feelings at a later date, people will be able to put into practice what they have learned about their fears and engender a different outcome. Similar to other self-help books, this text recommends keeping a journal (in McClymont’s parlance, a friendly fear notebook) and suggests a series of exercises. The program allows readers to slowly, methodically work through their issues. Some of the book’s advice is common sense: don’t be afraid to reflect on your fear, and use that reflection to act differently in the future. But the author also sets forth this common sense in a simple and organized manner, making the advice easy to follow. McClymont designed her exercises to progressively become more difficult as the reader gets better accustomed to self-reflection and self-reporting. However, the book is too heavy on instruction at times. The work could have benefited from more personal touches. One of the most compelling parts is the book’s introduction where McClymont explains how she faced her own fears and came to write the text. Including additional personal anecdotes throughout would have illuminated the lessons more effectively.
If willing to put forth the effort and take part in true self-reflection, readers have a thoughtful, elaborate guide in this book.