Your Own Worst Enemy : Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement by Kenneth Christian

Your Own Worst Enemy : Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement
Kenneth W. Christian
(HarperCollins, New York: 2002)

READ: January - February 2008

Not my usual fare, but Randal had picked this up at some point in Japan, upon a number of recommendations, so I figured I'd give it a try.

Well, the book was an interesting read and it certainly gave me a good perspective on some of the habits I have that may not always be the most productive. So I guess it was helpful in that it made me a bit more aware. I mean, most people would probably not consider me to be an underachiever. For all intents and purposes, I come off as an overachiever: I have two graduate degrees, a good job, a stable relationship. But - and Dr. Christian would allude to this again and again in his text - I could have done more. I am happy with where I am, with (most of) the choices I have made, and with what I am doing; however, along the way, I occasionally have made choices that were clear underachiever choices. But this is a book review, not a personal review.

It was hard, sometimes, to see the book as truly relevant when I was consistently being give examples of fairly extreme cases - people who had truly and completely dropped out, either socially or academically, despite having shown great promise, talent, and ambition early on. This was a little disappointing - I think there are probably a lot more so-called adult underachievers who are more like me: borderline underachievers. But maybe that just means I needed to read a different book.

I probably could have gotten more out of the book if I had taken more of the advice given - for example, there were numerous suggested written exercises that I merely read over and did not attempt. All things considered, however, this was still a useful book. If nothing else, it made me more aware and more conscious of how I deal with things, helping me to perhaps fend off potential problems or issues in the future, and also more aware that it's important to be content with where you are in life, something which is often parroted but not often practiced.

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