Book & Product Reviews · Self Help

Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Quit Smoking

Allen Carr's Easy Way To Stop Smoking

Summary

If you are a smoker, you might have entertained quitting, and you may be aware of the book that Allen Carr wrote called Easy Way To Stop Smoking. Now if you are not a smoker, but know someone who would benefit from quitting, then read on. I just finished the Kindle version of the book, but have also read the paperback version which is a little over 200 pages long. The premise of the book is that we continue to smoke because we don’t really understand why and that we perceive we are getting some positive benefit from smoking. He talks about the Little Monster and the Big Monster a lot in this book. The Little Monster being the addiction to nicotine and the Big Monster being our psychological dependence on smoking, with the Little Monster being a mere 1% of the problem, and the Big Monster being 99% of the problem. Now given that I’ve read this book three times, I might be a bit slow on the uptake, but you know they say three times is a charm. He goes on to cite all the people that he has helped quit smoking, some of them celebrities.

The author also makes a great point that using nicotine replacement therapy as it is called, is flat out bullshit. Why would you want to continue to feed the Little and Big Monsters and keep yourself a prisoner to the physical and psychological addiction by putting nicotine in your body, then as the levels drop having to do it over and over. Having experience doing this myself, I can tell you it is a losing proposition that just perpetuates the addiction.

He encourages you to keep smoking while you are reading the book, which I found be a reasonable, if a not so subtle way for you to analyze why you’re are smoking and if you are really getting any pleasure out of it. His own realization came after decades of smoking two packs a day. He finally realized why he was smoking and understood the fact that he received not a single benefit from it, and just stopped cold turkey. He went on to share this realization with other people, writing this book and opening Allen Carr
Quit Smoking Centers all over the world.

What I liked about this book

This book helps you understand that fear is keeping  you hostage to this addiction. You think if I quit I will suffer, when the truth is the nicotine addiction is really fairly mild to overcome. The suffering is mostly the psychological relationship you have developed over the years with smoking. He rightly points out that there are no positive attributes to smoking and the mild relief you get when you light up is just satisfying the addiction. He goes to great pains in the book to repeatedly enforce his ideas about the physical and psychological addiction and how to rephrase them. One of the core themes is that you don’t need willpower to quit, because by the end of this book you realize that willpower would only be necessary if you felt you were giving up something that was beneficial to you in some way.

What I disliked about this book

The book is very repetitive and probably could have been half the length without all the repetition, but realize much of this repetition is a form of brainwashing to get you to rethink what smoking really is. The idea that you keep smoking while reading the book until you get to what he calls your last cigarette is somewhat dis-concerning, but there is also a purpose for this, which is to make you analyze what is going on as you continue to smoke.

Recommendation

If you or someone you know is addicted to smoking or vaping then this book is for you. This book re-frames the whole way you think about smoking or vaping. That is the key to the success of this approach; so instead of thinking quitting is too hard, you understand it is not that hard and there is great hope in knowing you are giving up nothing, well at least nothing but a dirty, addictive, and health destroying habit. I highly recommend this book, but with the caveat that you not skip chapters and be in too big a hurry. Let the information sink in and re-frame your thoughts. Good luck!

Namaste

 

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Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking

 

About the Author

Allen Carr (2 September 1934 – 29 November 2006) was a British author of books about stopping smoking and other psychological dependencies including alcohol addiction. He stopped smoking after 30 years as a hundred-a-day chain smoker.[2]

London-born Carr started smoking while doing National Service aged 18. He qualified as an accountant in 1958. Carr finally stopped smoking on 15 July 1983, aged 48, after a visit to a hypnotherapist. However, it wasn’t the hypnotherapy itself that enabled him to stop – “I succeeded in spite of and not because of that visit” and “I lit up the moment I left the clinic and made my way home…”. There were two key pieces of information that enabled Allen to stop later that day. First, the hypnotherapist told him smoking was “just nicotine addiction”, which Allen had never perceived before that moment, i.e. that he was an addict. Second, his son John lent him a medical handbook which explained that the physical withdrawal from nicotine is just like an “empty, insecure feeling”.[3] He claims that these two realisations crystallised in his mind just how easy it was to stop and so then enabled him to follow an overwhelming desire to explain his method to as many smokers as possible.[4]

Carr teaches that smokers do not receive a boost from smoking a cigarette, and that smoking only relieves the withdrawal symptoms from the previous cigarette, which in turn creates more withdrawal symptoms once it is finished. In this way the drug addiction perpetuates itself. He asserted that the “relief” smokers feel on lighting a cigarette, the feeling of being “back to normal”, is the feeling experienced by non-smokers all the time. So that smokers, when they light a cigarette are really trying to achieve a state that non-smokers enjoy their whole lives. He further asserted that withdrawal symptoms are actually created by doubt and fear in the mind of the ex-smoker, and therefore that stopping smoking is not as traumatic as is commonly assumed, if that doubt and fear can be removed.

At Allen Carr Clinics during stop-smoking sessions, smokers are allowed to continue smoking while their doubts and fears are removed, with the aim of encouraging and developing the mindset of a non-smoker before the final cigarette is extinguished. A further reason for allowing smokers to smoke while undergoing counselling is Carr’s belief that it is more difficult to convince a smoker to stop until they understand the mechanism of “the nicotine trap”. This is because their attention is diminished while they continue to believe it is traumatic and extremely difficult to quit and continue to maintain the belief that they are dependent on nicotine.

Another assertion unique to Carr’s method is that willpower is not required to stop smoking.

His contention was that fear of “giving up” is what causes the majority of smokers to continue smoking, thereby necessitating the smoker’s perpetuation of the illusion of genuine enjoyment as a moral justification of the inherent absurdity of smoking in the face of overwhelming medical and scientific evidence of its dangers. Instead, he encourages smokers to think of the act of quitting, not as giving up, but as “escaping”.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Carr

 

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Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking

Book & Product Reviews · Self Help

Designing Your Work Life

Designing Your Work Life

Summary

The book Designing Your Work Life was written by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Prior to reading this book the authors had written Designing Your Life, which I read, and it peaked my interest in reading this book. I have the hard cover version of the book and it is a great example of what a high quality book should look like. The print quality and font size are excellent.  Most of us struggle with our work from time to time, and our first instinct is to bail, you know get me the hell out of here. The authors provide some techniques on how you can salvage your current job by re-framing how you look at your work, and maybe more important empowering you to make changes to your job to make it more enjoyable. I’m actually looking at a list I created from the book called the Hydra Overwhelm List and Solutions, where I looked at things that were bothering me and sucking all the fun out of my job. In this list you write down the job activity that you have issues with, a possible solution, and whether you will eliminate that activity or change it. Mind you this is only one of the many tools and techniques they offer up that help you turn misery into something approaching joy at work.

In the event that you just can’t redesign your job, or you are in a situation where you work for a complete asshole, they also offer some excellent advise on how to quit the right way, and how to move on and find a new job. They even offer up some very good advice for those of us who might be interested in being self employed. The hardcover version of the book is 292 pages, so it’s not a terribly long read and each chapter is of reasonable length.

 

What I liked about this book

If you like aspects of your job, but hate or dislike some of the things you do, then this book may provide ways that you can not only salvage your current job, but redesign it into something you really enjoy. That alone is motivation to read this book if you are struggling on a day to day basis and losing sleep over your work. The authors come from a design background, so as in their previous book they utilize design practices to approach problems. One example of a design principle they use has to do with challenging your belief and then re-framing it. For instance you might re-frame like this:

Dysfunctional Belief: It’s not working for me here.

Re-frame as: You can make it work (almost) anywhere.

 

What did I dislike about this book

Seriously there is not a lot to dislike about the book. While the technique of re-framing will help you see things in a different light, there are times when that just won’t help you in a truly miserable situation. Your employer may vehemently resist your attempts to change your job to better fit your interests. Even with that said the authors understand that there are situations where invoking the exit strategy is the best thing for your piece of mind. The chapter on Being Your Own Boss is only 23 pages long, and while it has some useful information you will need to read and learn a lot of other things that are not covered in that chapter.

 

Recommendation

I highly recommend this book to those of you who struggle with various aspects of your work. I was able through my Hydra Overwhelm List, and some re-framing techniques to address most of the things that were causing the most pain, and ultimately find greater job satisfaction. I also found the authors advice on preparing to leave an employer and find a new job very valuable. One of the hopeful things that I got out of this book was that you have more control than you think, and some of the things you felt you had no control over were simply not true. On the other hand if you love your job, you may find the book offers little, but from the statistics I have read the majority of people are unengaged or actively disengaged at work. Here are some stats from a Gallop poll:

If your workforce is typical, about one-third of your employees are actively engaged, according to a recent Gallup poll. The poll found that nearly half, or 49 percent, are disengaged while 18 percent are actively disengaged. (Mar 17, 2016)

 

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Designing Your Work Life

About the Authors

Bill Burnett
Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford, Adjunct Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford

After years of drawing cars and airplanes under his Grandmother’s sewing machine, Bill Burnett went off to the University and discovered, much to his surprise, that there were people in the world who did this kind of thing everyday (without the sewing machine) and they were called designers. Thirty years, five companies, and a couple of thousand students later Bill is still drawing and building things, teaching others how to do the same, and quietly enjoying the fact that no one has discovered that he is having too much fun.

Bill Burnett is the Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford. He directs the undergraduate and graduate program in design at Stanford, both interdepartmental programs between the Mechanical Engineering department and the Art department. He got his BS and MS in Product Design at Stanford and has worked professionally on a wide variety of projects ranging from award-winning Apple PowerBooks to the original Hasbro Star Wars action figures. He holds a number of mechanical and design patents, and design awards for a variety of products including the first “slate” computer. In addition to his duties at Stanford, he is a on the Board of VOZ (pronounced “VAWS – it means voice in Spanish) a social responsible high fashion startup and advises several Internet start-up companies.

Dave Evans
Lecturer, Product Design Program at Stanford, Management Consultant, and co-founder of Electronic Arts

From saving the seals to solving the energy crisis, from imagining the first computer mice to redefining software — Dave’s been on a mission, including helping others to find theirs. Starting at Stanford with dreams of following Jacques Cousteau as a marine biologist, Dave realized (a bit late) that he was lousy at it and shifted to mechanical engineering with an eye on the energy problem. After four years in alternative energy, it was clear that this idea’s time hadn’t come yet. So while en route to biomedical engineering, Dave accepted an invitation to work for Apple, where he led product marketing for the mouse team and introduced laser printing to the masses. When Dave’s boss at Apple left to start Electronic Arts, Dave joined as the company’s first VP of Talent, dedicated to making “software worthy of the minds that use it.”

Having participated in forming the corporate cultures at Apple and EA, Dave decided his best work was in helping organizations build creative environments where people could do great work and love doing it. So he went out on his own; working with start-up teams, corporate executives, non-profit leaders, and countless young adults. They were all asking the same question. “What should I do with my life?” Helping people get traction on that question finally took Dave to Cal and Stanford and continues to be his life’s work.

Dave holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a graduate diploma in Contemplative Spirituality from San Francisco Theological Seminary.