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Publisher's Summary

Too many of us miss out on opportunities in life because we lack self-confidence. Whether it's public speaking, taking on a leadership role, or asking someone for a date, there are situations in which we just don't feel equipped to handle the challenges we face. Russ Harris offers a surprising solution to low self-confidence, shyness, and insecurity: Rather than trying to "get over" our fears, he says, the secret is to form a new and wiser relationship with them. Paradoxically, it's only when we stop struggling against our fearfulness that we begin to find lasting freedom from it. Drawing on the techniques of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a cutting-edge form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, The Confidence Gap explains how to: Free yourself from common misconceptions about what confidence is and how to build it; transform your relationship with fear and anxiety; clarify your core values and use them as your inspiration and motivation; use mindfulness to effectively handle negative thoughts and feelings.

©2011 Russ Harris (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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  • Riker
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • 01-11-16

The One Book for Overcoming Anxiety

The Confidence Gap doesn't make any grand promises - instead, it only promises hard work and gradual progress. This is great, though, because it is something that can realistically be achieved. It doesn't call for getting rid of fear or negative thoughts, but accepting them and befriending them. Doing so limits their power over your actions and thoughts.

In this book, Russ Harris shares mindfulness as the key to overcoming anxiety and increasing self-efficacy. Mindfulness is a sense of awareness and presence in your environment - putting your thoughts in the background, where their impact is muted. His version of mindfulness is based on three skills: Defusion, Expansion and Engagement. You'll have to read the book to learn more, but I promise it's worth it!

In summary, if you experience anxiety and want to increase confidence then The Confidence Gap is the book for you. It's interesting, well-written and directly applicable to life. It takes work, though - you have to do the exercises and put in some time to increase certain mindfulness skills. It's worth the work it takes, though!


By the way, the term 'Confidence Gap' refers to the false idea that you have to be confident before you do what you really want to do. In fact, the only way confidence can appear is by developing the skill you want to be confident in. If you want to be confident as a writer, you have to write. Don't wait until you're confident to write, because then you'll be waiting forever.

73 of 83 people found this review helpful

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A so-so attempt of trying to be unique

While this author attempts to be different, he simply repackaged familiar self-help material. It is not all bad, however. He did give 1 new perspective (for me) relating to a person's values as a means of motivation. I listened to the entire book but was ready for it to end long before the end came. This could have been a good entry level self-help book except the author believes his way is better than others and he repeatedly knocks other methods.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Not helpful if you are already self-aware

What did you like best about The Confidence Gap? What did you like least?

This book would be helpful for those with very low confidence and low self esteem. I did not find this helpful at all. I do have a lot of self doubt, but I am very self-aware and mindful so therefore the tips and tricks weren't of use for me. Whenever he would pause and ask you to consider your thoughts mine were already positive where he assumed they would likely be negative.

Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

The concepts of the book were easy to follow. Like others have stated, it would be better to read the paperback version so you could write out your responses to some of the activities if you have time. ( I listen to books while I am working so this wasn't an option for me)

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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What I needed

The world is full of advice on boosting confidence, and most of it is crap. This book lays out the reasons why and replaces the crappy rules with ones to live by. I'm going to read it at least once again. Already, I have been living by what I've learned from this book and it's really helped. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who's ever struggled with motivation, discipline, or confidence.

51 of 61 people found this review helpful

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Not very helpful

Narration was good. Unfortunately, after dismissing all of the other self improvement books, this author's idea is to remember all your fears, phobias, and frustrations, give them a name and then belittle them until they aren't important to you anymore. Very simplistic solutions dotted with classic examples of people who didn't give up and became successful.

Because of the title, I was intrigued and really wanted to like this book. Very disappointed.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Very Disappointing.

How could the performance have been better?

Felt like I was in a university lecture hall. I felt the author was very "matter-of-fact" and I had a hard time staying tuned in.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Increadibly insightful, life changing!

Finally, the missing piece of the puzzle! So much different from the last book I listened to on confidence, this author has a deep understanding of the topic and doesn't give you the same old "be positive" and "believe in yourself" crap you've heard over and over again. I'm putting these strategies and new understanding to use in business and in my personal life immediately! Soooo thankful I came across this book, where have you been my whole adult life? The information I've gained on confidence, values, and fulfillment is priceless. Fantastic work!

34 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • Susie
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 07-09-15

No Secrets Here

What's your favorite flavor of self-help? Not for me the magical thinking of "The Secret," or the faux-religiousity of "The Four Agreements." The constant vigil to think positive makes me run screaming, though if they help you, great.

Russ Harris is a guru for the pessimist set. Mindfulness without the affirmations. There's no magic here. But there are plenty of thought exercises to help you accept yourself and to make your best decisions, sitting with your anxieties and fear, but seeing past them.

Solid helpful advice along with Graeme Malcolm's effortless narration that makes you feel you're in safe hands. This is just my cup of tea.

57 of 73 people found this review helpful

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Some great points, and some narrow thinking.

Would you try another book from Russ Harris and Steven Hayes PhD (foreword) and/or Graeme Malcolm?

To start I'd like to say that I am not a PhD like the author. So like anything else in this world if you believe that is the qualifying factor and the primary authority on all things than what I have to say will not matter and you can stop reading as what I have to say next will not matter.<br/><br/>I found this book to be very helpful in parts! My problem in this area has been the "fear" to take the next step... I felt that the author gave great advice on how to overcome this area of life. Unfortunately I also felt like it could all be summarized in the final chapter.<br/><br/>I don't know if it has been my general upbringing or if perhaps I'm positive by nature but a lot of the examples he used specifically related to negative thoughts do not register with me. By that I mean my natural thought process did not gravitate in the direction he outlined as "natural"... In fact early in the book he went as far as to say that "you have a seriously messed up mind" if you did not think this way.<br/><br/>I've been of the notion that our minds tend to think with the reason that has been laid upon them. I.E if you have a lot of negative input your first reaction tends to be negative. Now does this mean I have no negative thoughts throughout my day? Of course; However, I rarely have a day full of them or consistent string of negative thoughts. (Again, it does happen)<br/><br/>That being said a lot of things he had to say about acting or using fear as a motivator did help, and I’m actively using them. I simply couldn’t relate to the other portions of this book.<br/><br/><br/>

Has The Confidence Gap turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, I'm excited to see what other thought leaders have to say about this subject.

Which scene was your favorite?

N/A

What character would you cut from The Confidence Gap?

N/A

Any additional comments?

Many will disagree with me but skip chapter 5. (The chapter reference is based on audible, not the book)

43 of 56 people found this review helpful

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qaulity with little salesmanship

Many practical exercises that show a real knowledge of how the mind works. Many of the exercises revolve around becoming aware of what your mind is doing. Not just another pump you up book.

25 of 33 people found this review helpful