August 22, 2008

Book: NLP, the New Technology of Achievement

NLP, the New Technology of Achievement, edited by Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner (Harper, 1994)

First of all, NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. A book with an (unexplained) acronym in the title was really confusing for me when I was trying to find it in the library database, but oh, well. And what does neuro-linguistic programming mean? This book is about how to 'retrain' or 'train' your brain to think in positive ways about what you do want, and negative ways about what you don't want - to put it very, very simply. It is ostensibly aimed at anyone and everyone, although it is obviously coming from a business perspective - most of the examples are examples from business and other "achievement" oriented parts of life.

Since I usually need to understand things on a very personal level before I can grasp them on an external/structural level, this may not have been the best "NLP" book for me. I was also extremely off-put by the attitude of the authors that NLP is the solution to everything! I am off-put by almost anything that claims to be the one solution to everything, a cure-all, a panacea. "There is no one right way." Anything that seems to be claiming to be the or even a one right way bothers me.

On the other hand, I am fascinated by the exercises in the book, I can see how important they are in application in Birthing From Within work, and I need to get a copy (or a similar book - I'm going to ask around to see if there's one that would fit my learning style better) so I'll have it around to actually do the exercises.

One idea I've already used is the principle of assuming positive intent. In a disagreement with my husband, I took a deep breath, reminded myself that he had some positive intent in his behavior somewhere even if I couldn't see it for the life of me, and asked him what it was. And guess what, he told me. When you've been married for 10 years and known each other even longer, your communication patterns tend to get kind of set in their ways sometimes. So that may not sound like a lot, but it actually felt pretty big to me to be able to stop in the middle of an unpleasant feeling discussion, really listen to what he thought, and just accept it - because it's hard not to accept a positive intent, even if you know it didn't produce the outcome you would have liked.

August 18, 2008

Required Reading

I am going to be doing some required reading for my certification processes so I thought I'd post some reviews here for my own future reference . . . and yours!

First review: The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers by Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman.

This is an awesome book. I had to get it via interlibrary loan and I am appalled by this fact. It should be in EVERY library, several copies. This is vital information mothers and partners need when they are learning how to breastfeed and how to support breastfeeding. I have breastfed two children very successfully, attended LLL meetings regularly, and watched various friends and family members breastfeed successfully. I learned a lot from this book, including some information about some of the things I worked through with each of my sons that it would have been helpful to know at the time, rather than in retrospect.

Although I do think that there was value in our figuring things out ourselves. I mean, we didn't ever give up and we learned a lot about each other in the process of figuring out what worked and what didn't for us. I'm not sure but that we mightn't have missed something important if we had been given the "answers". On the other hand, a lot of people get to the point of giving up, or are encouraged to that point by ignorant care providers, so this is a very important book to have as a resource. I will be getting my own copy ASAP.

As much as I loved the informational aspect of this book, I also really loved the flavor of the writing. Wry, dry humor, and wit! Punchy, too. It was fun to read. Here is a representative quote:

"I think this question of guilt is an important one. We shouldn't be making mothers feel guilty for not breastfeeding, should we? We shouldn't be making mothers feel guilty for anything, actually. Most mothers are doing the best they can, sometimes under very difficult circumstances. . . . But we certainly make mothers feel bad about their choices in many other situations. If you are . . . pregnant, and you drink alcohol, even small amounts, you will probably leave your doctor's office with stern warnings ringing in your ears and guilt in your heart. . . . Obviously, the physician who says that we should not make mothers feel guilty for not breastfeeding doesn't believe that breastfeeding makes a difference. But there is lots of evidence that it does - for the mother, for the baby, and for society."
- pp. 35 - 36 The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers
P.S. - I bought myself a copy - this is such a useful book and I had a 30% off coupon from Borders . . . YAY!