20110318

Book Review: Unleash Your Confidence

Disclaimer: I signed to be an affiliate for the sales of this ebook. For each sale that is made through the links in this post I get a commission. Of course, I'd love if you bought it through these links, but I have tried my best to make my review faithful. I don't want anyone to come later at me and say they were tricked into buying the book and it was not up to par. Anyway, I won't get rich quickly by these sales, but they will work the normal upkeep of this blog.

I found out Vlad Dolezal's blog (Fun Life Development) just three weeks ago, from a comment in another blog. I found it interesting, and kept visiting back once a week, something I do before adding a blog to my RSS reader. I have too many items, and adding one new has to be gauged carefully. It made the cut and is now in my feed reader.

Then all of sudden two of the blogs I already had in my feed (Fluent in 3 Months and Dragos Roua) ran an interview with him, to announce his recently finished ebook: Unleash Your Confidence. I was interested, as you already know I'm interested in almost anything, and asked if he would send me a copy to do a review for mostlymaths.net And he did!

The book is 17$ and has 55 pages. Its goal as you may guess from the title is to make you more confident. As you may already know, I usually frown about short books with standard prices, simply because it looks like they are close in price to science research but the content could not be up to par [1] As such, I started the book with doubts about it. They started to fade quickly, as Vlad's writing, clear and with some subtle (and not so subtle) British humour kicked in.

The book starts with a precise first chapter What is Confidence? I had not thought about it, but this was a needed step. You have to know your "enemy" before you can win, as Sun Tzu would say. Once we know what we want, the real work begins and we delve deeper and deeper in what, from my previous experience and knowledge, are sound techniques to improve confidence. It is divided (roughly) in two parts: a mental part and an action part. In the first, you strive to change your mental frameworks related to the task that you are unconfident about, and in the second you face it. There are two more parts: one with quick solutions for times when you need a confidence boost and an appendix with some examples.

I'm a very shy person (although I think it does not reflect a lot in my writing) and some of the suggestions Vlad proposes were already in my armoury, were very close or even better, had a very Aha! flavour to them. Slowly but surely, if you follow the proposed exercises at the end of each chapter in Unleash Your Confidence you will steadily grow your confidence. But let this be clear: you have to follow the exercises and repeat, repeat, repeat. If you don't work on it, there is no way you will make it. After you are done with the mental part, comes the action. Face your fears, from small steps to big steps. If you are afraid of public speaking, for example, start with a very small and friendly audience and build up, let your confidence grow and your troublesome mental images subside. For this action part to work, you must do the mental exercises.

To end the review, let me put you two examples of Vlad's writing in the book, just to see what is coming:

(about your conscious talking directly to your unconscious) Meanwhile, back in the real world, if you try to talk to your unconscious directly like that, it will be like explaining 20th century political history to a cat while it tilts its head and looks quizzically at you. Communication failure.
[---]
(about "fake it till you make it") And what better way to do that than stand around looking super-confident with a huge maniacal grin on your face for no discernible reason?
These two phrases (among a few others) make me chuckle in my commute. If you are interested, you can buy it here: Unleash Your Confidence.

[1] For instance, my article An Entire Transcendental Family With a Persistent Siegel Disk costs 25 eur for just 28 pages. More expensive per page, but you see the trend I dislike.

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Written by Ruben Berenguel