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Book Review: Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life

A banner at the top of the Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life…But This Book Will! cover proclaims, “The Blockbuster Book of the Year!”

I don’t know what this definition of “blockbuster” is, but I am doubtful that this will prove to be true. While this is an informative, encouraging, and a possibly helpful book, it doesn’t strike me as a “blockbuster.”

Still, it does have positive attributes.

The author, David Essel, is a highly successful life coach, author, motivational speaker, radio and television host, and businessman. This is his ninth book, and the title is provocative. How could anyone be so bold as to challenge positive thinking as a means to change and improvement?

Essel uses scores of stories from former or current clients and professional colleagues alike to illustrate his point, which is that positive thinking alone will not change your life.

From his perspective, taking action is the real key to change. Using affirmations, prayer, visualization, and written messages can all be useful, but until we take action, no real change happens. Essel’s stories about clients emphasize this point repeatedly, though he doesn’t reveal what exact action techniques were used.

Many readers may think, “Of course I know I need to take action in order to make changes. What’s new about this?”

And this book probably isn’t for them. There are many, many other books available that tell people how to initiate action. But I believe there is a segment of society that does believe that prayer, affirmations, and just thinking positively will bring about desired outcomes. And this book could be for them; it may move them out of that thinking.

Many people are determined to make the changes needed to improve their lives. But they may need a gentle (or heavy) push, ongoing support, professional expertise, education, and more, in order to take action. Essel’s book reinforces the value that these tools can provide. It should not be overlooked.

Like many people in his field, Essel had challenges and stumbles along the way to his success, which he willingly shares with readers to show that change is possible.

“I did it; so can you” is a frequent message throughout the book meant to inspire confidence. His stories reinforce the theme, and client testimonials abound. Professionals in his field, most of whom were guests on his television or radio shows, also weigh in to help stress the message. There seems to be little disagreement among these people as to the necessary role that action plays in change.

What kind of change are we talking about, exactly? It seems that the author’s two primary client audiences are people with addiction problems (drug or alcohol primarily, but also spending and others); and people in the fitness industry, which he formerly was. But Essel says that his approach has also helped evoke changes in the realm of weight loss, business growth, relationships, health and more.

Like many who have created successful businesses, Essel uses a book he has authored to promote his services. His message is straightforward: you must take action in order to effect change. But the book repeats the message so many times and in so many different ways that it takes 200 pages to do so.

We never do find out what specific steps or methods Essel uses in his coaching programs. But we know that sometimes a message needs to be repeated over and over agaain before it takes hold. And while Essel continuously mentions his programs, he doesn’t blatantly try to push people toward them.

Reading the book may leave the reader wanting more from Essel, which is likely one of the author’s objectives. Those who fall into this category can read his other books, attend one of his speeches, receive one-on-one coaching, or even become a Certified Master Life Coach through his instruction. But while he clearly believes he can help each of us, he also acknowledges that there are, in fact, other sources that readers can utilize, and recommends them as well.

For a reader who needs a push to take action toward changes, this could be a helpful book. Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life could be especially helpful for those who need to build up their confidence to do this and need repeated encouragement.

Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life…But This Book Will!

David Essel

January 2016

Paperback, 208 pages

Book Review: Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life

Psych Central's Recommendation:
Worth Your Time! +++

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Dave Schultz

APA Reference
Schultz, D. (2017). Book Review: Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Oct 2017
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Oct 2017
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