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January 8, 2013

"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" — Susan Jeffers, Apprehensive Optimist

Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman wrote, "I was very pleased to be asked to contribute to the New York Times Magazine's annual 'The Lives They Lived' edition. [Susan] Jeffers' works are subversive, anti-positive-thinking texts masquerading as conventional self-help books — and they're all about not ignoring reality. They're well worth reading."

Below, what he wrote.

The Apprehensive Optimist

Our nation's self-appointed happiness experts tend to emphasize the importance of manipulating inner experience, eliminating fear and doubt, and banishing unwanted emotions and insecurities. Susan Jeffers, the unconventional self-help author, posed a radical challenge to this uniquely American philosophy of effortful cheer: What if feeling the right emotions and thinking the right thoughts were not prerequisites for doing what needed to be done? That attitude was the backbone of her most well known book, "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway." In a genre brimming with barely credible tales of triumph over adversity, her down-to-earth voice was refreshing. "We live in a society that teaches us to grasp for control, total control, of everything," she writes in "Embracing Uncertainty." But perhaps the grasping only makes things worse.

"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" is here.

"Embracing Uncertainty" is here.

I love both titles and bought them for that reason alone — anything I might learn is lagniappe.

January 8, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink


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