"The Confidence Plan"
Reading history and reviews
Finished on 17th January 2010I've had this book for a long time - it was a spin-off from a BBC TV programme, but I never actually saw the show and that I actually bought it after seeing someone else reading it on a train once (my copy has a distinctive orange cover). However for some reason (as with so many of the other self-help books that I bought around the same time) I never actually made the effort to read it.
Since then my impression with advice books is that ultimately getting better at something - whether it be becoming more confident, losing weight, or improving your swimming stroke - is not really rocket science; it's more a case of understanding some basic principles and then applying yourself to them (which unfortunately is the hard part). So what I think really distinguishes one book from another is how that information is presented, and whether you can connect with the advice the author is giving you - which is definitely what happened for me while reading "The Confidence Plan".
Typically it begins by asking what this elusive thing called "confidence" is, and recognises that even "unconfident" people have areas in their lives which they feel confident about (with the reverse also being true for many "confident" people). The reader is then encouraged to identify a few areas in which they feel they most lack confidence before the book begins in earnest with the observation that taking action is the key to feeling confident (told you it was simple!).
What I enjoyed and found useful were the various tricks and suggestions for how to make the move from paralysis to action (the one that has stuck most deeply for me is to "act until it's real", a.k.a. fake it until you make it, but there's lots of other valuable stuff in there). Litvinoff's style is direct and practical but also sympathetic, and I felt that she had direct experience of much of the advice that she was giving. I also felt that she was good at recognising that following the advice isn't always easy and that you need to be kind to yourself on those occasions that it doesn't work out.
Overall I really enjoyed this book as well as finding the advice useful, and my only problem was not feeling like I'd retained as many of the ideas as I wished I had. So I think I will be returning to the Confidence Plan again soon, to see what else I can learn.