Choosing the fourth and final book for the series was really hard. There are still another 20 in my shelf, which would have been worth presenting here. I choose “Honoring the Self” by Nathaniel Branden, because I have also read various essays written by him and think that he has a lot of important insights to give on the topics of personal improvement.
Branden was a psychotherapist who died in 2014. He is very well-known for his cooperation with the philosopher Ayn Rand and has a high reputation in the psychological fields of self-worth and self-confidence. The book has 14 chapters and 252 pages (without bibliography and index).
What is it about?
Simply speaking “Honoring the Self” is about self-esteem and the various aspects and factors that play a part in it. It outlines the importance of the judgment we put on ourselves. He explains, how deeply our self-esteem affects all our life choices and actions and presents our self-esteem as the most important factor on whether we succeed or fail in life.
Why should I read it?
- It builds on pillars – Branden doesn’t leave you hanging in the air, throwing concepts at you without sense or structure. There are pillars mentioned in this book, on which the whole concept of self-esteem is built upon. One of these pillars is integrity. Branden explains clearly the concept of it, why it is important for self-esteem, and, additionally, how to incorporate it in your life too. For the rest of the pillars? Read the book! I could never reproduce them with the same effect as he explains them!
- It includes every aspect of your life – work, love, friends – Branden stresses the importance of self-esteem in all areas of your life. A low self-esteem will cost you – maybe not your job or your girlfriend – but your career and happy relationship on the long-term. He manages to display everyday situations and really makes one think about the consequences, were he to live with a (unjustified) low self-esteem any longer.
- It focuses on personal responsibility – self-esteem is, in fact, personal responsibility. It is not something anyone else can give to you as a present or make you feel, self-esteem is about you and it is your deepest responsibility to work on it. All the pillars that are necessary for building a good self-esteem ultimately rest on the responsibility to be willing to work on it and stand by your choices. I get it. Responsibility can be scary. If we stick with the example of above, integrity, responsibility might mean that you have to support your values and decisions, even against a lot of people who differ. It’s hard, but Branden will make you see how extremely worth it’s too!
Three of my key phrases
Independence versus conformity, self-expression versus self-repudiation, self-assertion versus self-surrender. (50)
The success of love relationships requires an appreciation of the fact that happiness is our human birthright. (100)
Rationality is an attitude of responsibility toward that which exists, acceptance of the facts of reality. (212)
(Branden, Nathaniel (1983). Honoring the Self. Bantam Book: USA)