How We Change by Ross Ellenhorn [8/10]

A wonderment among “how-to” books, “How We Change (and 10 Reasons Why We Don’t)” is the distillation of a life’s work by psychotherapist (and sociologist) Ross Ellenhorn. I’m a fan of change management books, which is a way of saying I read many but act on very few. Unlike most, “How We Change” is not a recipe book of cause-and-effect steps but a closely grounded look at our inner psyches, drawing from a number of disciplines but principally existentialism (which I’m drawn to). Change, Ellenhorn explains clearly and engagingly, is tough for many deeply rooted reasons, some momentous, some (seemingly) trite, and psychologically we all have excellent reasons to resist change. Perhaps, he says, staying the same is an attractive option. At the very least, by running gently with ourselves on this issue, we can find it easier to shift. Populated by apt case studies, some drawn from his own experiences, the book lays out a fertile groundwork and then explores ten rationales (which can, in any given situation with a given person, be false or significant) that stymie change. Ellenhorn is a smooth prose stylist with just the right balance of seriousness and lightness and humor, and I turned the final page with a real sense of renewed purpose looking forward. Heartily recommended for anyone yearning to alter something, hefty or tedious, in their lives.

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