I have just finished reading ‘The Chimp Paradox’ by Dr Steve Peters and I thought I would share some brief thoughts. I borrowed this from Bury Public Library. You can borrow it from your local library! Though I have now bought my own copy. That may give you a clue into how this blog post will be framed…
Unlike ‘Quiet‘, The Chimp Paradox, as you can imagine, is very upfront about its goals (dreams?). It is a self-help book. It has no ulterior motive. I am not going to go into the contents of the books and its ideas, because A) I wouldn’t do it justice; B) I may put you off reading it yourself!
I have read self-help books in the past – mainly CBT ones to try and help with my social anxiety and shyness, and The Chimp Paradox is unlike any I have read before – it actually made sense. Not because others were written or structured in to abstract or complicated way (more on that shortly), but rather – the concepts laid out made sense and made me believe that they could work for me. I believe myself to be a well rounded individual, who is on the whole happy. I know I could be doing better in certain aspects of my life both physically and emotionally (I am very shy and need to lose some serious weight) but I am not struggling in any meaningful way. I felt that The Chimp Paradox was written for me. By that I mean it seems to be pitched (in my view) at those of us who need the extra motivation and belief to improve by 5 or 10 or 20% rather than someone who perhaps is in need of low level intervention. I took from it, those there areas where I can fine tune or slightly alter my approach and other areas of my life I need to work a bit harder at. The first 2/3 of the book seem to be about getting you to think about asking yourself the right questions rather than giving you the answers. The final 1/3, whilst not outwardly saying – ‘do this, do that, the leader is good, the leader is great’ does start to solidify the help and advice. But by then, you are ready for it.
One issue with the book which takes some getting used to or may even put people off is the style of writing, narrative and concepts used to convey the ideas. It seemed very basic, and in a polite way, quite condescending (Think the Stephen Fry-Alan Davies relationship on QI). But after a couple of chapters, when the ideas began to fall into place and you see the entire ‘universe’ of the book laid out, you forget about it. It simply works. Having read it through once, I am spending a couple of days reflecting on what it means to me, before beginning to run through the exercises as laid out throughout the text. I truly believe that they will help me be me, better as “the person you want to be is the person you really are”.
So in summary – read the book. I loved it. It is a serious game changer.