Books line shelves in stores that guarantee a pathway to hacking your brain, knowing yourself intimately, overcoming anxiety, whatever. Just name it. Many have the word “toolkit” in them to impress upon individuals the underlying message of “you can do it!” or as Nike would say “just do it.”
But ultimately, are these more of the same old self-help drivel that we all have become so bogged down by? While I’m excited to read any new self-help mental health book that comes my way, there is now a trepidation that accompanies the excited tingle. I’m primarily looking for a few things:
- Can you keep me engaged and entertained so I’ll actually absorb the information?
- Are you applying research that is not outdated?
- Can an individual actually apply the techniques or tools within the text?
- Are you serving out a dish that has been overdone? Or are you bringing something new to the table?
Jane Ransom delivered handsomely on all of these.
Self-Intelligence: The New Science-Based Approach for Reaching Your True Potential is jam-packed. Ransom does not just deliver research-based tools but supplies anecdotal evidence from her work with clients. She has years of experience working as a coach, master hypnotist and speaker, and her work is evidence of her knowledge and experience. She bares her own vulnerability in the book speaking of how deeply her father’s passing impacted her life and choices. Ransom lays it all out on the pages of her book — mind and soul.
The chapters are all formatted similarly. There is an opening trivia question regarding the chapter’s topic, and she reveals the correct answer at the end of the chapter. She provides anecdotes to open the topic up and then she cracks it wide with research-laden information about the particular tool.
She lays out the research in a manner that is conversational and accessible to readers — no PhDs required! There are additional sections within the chapters that hone in on particular studies to really get into the details. She walks readers through these tools in how they impact work, fitness, finance, and relationships. There is little room for confusion in her explanations and her tone is inspiring and empowering. If all of that is not enough for the reader, she adds a cherry to the chapter by including funny cartoons that are related to the chapter’s topic.
The depth and breadth of techniques Ransom supplies are remarkable. One chapter is devoted to utilizing dreams to solve problems. Another chapter is about harnessing the power of laughter. The final chapter on self-forgiveness may rock some to their core.
Not sure where to start? Ransom supplies a summary of each chapter at the end of the book. It is a great place to start if you think there might be a specific chapter you want to read first.
What I particularly liked most about this book was the manner in which she broke down the book into separate parts, each defined by a specific “self” that she identifies for the readers. The five parts are:
- Programming Your Subconscious Self
- Conditioning Your Conscious Self
- Thinking Through Your Embodied Self
- Integrating Your Social Self
- Vitalizing Your Striving Self
This breakdown was one that deeply resonated for me as I view individuals as having multiple parts (or “selves” as Random identifies them). Seeing how she takes a holistic approach to self-intelligence by addressing each part/self was eye-opening and validating. I appreciated that she supplies an explanation of these selves for those who are unfamiliar with these concepts.
The one complaint that I do have is that there were a few chapters where the phrase “research show” was used as an opening for a paragraph repeatedly. One chapter in particular stuck out because this phrase opened two consecutive paragraphs. While most people may read this book one chapter a week, for those who are trying to binge through it, this phrase becomes monotonous and almost encourages an eye roll. However, this is truly the only complaint that I have about the book.
Jane Ransom’s Self-Intelligence is a delightful and an insightful read. There are several tools and techniques from the book I have started implementing (who doesn’t want to hack their dreams?). I would recommend this to everyone, from the self-help guru to the novice just dipping their toes in. Gift it to yourself, your neighbor, grandchild, recent college graduate, or even a grumpy boss. Perhaps they are needing a little more self-intelligence.
Self-Intelligence: The New Science-Based Approach for Reaching Your True Potential
Fair Winds Press, November 2018
Paperback, 288 pages