Review: How to Make Good Things Happen by Marian Rojas Estapé, M.D.

Honestly, I’d skip this one. Estapé is a psychiatrist in Spain and conceivably wrote this book to talk about neuroscience and how to make choices that make life better. But I really can’t count all the statements I disagree with in this book. Here are a few of them:

  1. “Failures, and how they are framed, are the most decisive aspect of anyone’s trajectory in life.” I mean, I do agree that failures and how we deal with them have a lot of meaning, but the most decisive aspect? I don’t know.
  2. “A person without a project cannot be happy.” I mean, I like a project as well as the next guy, but cannot be happy? Really? So my happiness when I’m on vacation and lying on a beach doing absolutely nothing is false?
  3. “It is always wiser to remain silent. Silence is the gatekeeper of intimacy.” I completely disagree with this one. We all know there are times when silence is better. But always? I see a ton of couples who are conflict avoidant and I can just tell you, their silence is doing nothing at all for their intimacy.
  4. “There is no good leader who is not a good person.” This is probably mostly true. But none? No one? Even good leaders can make bad mistakes.
  5. “With practice, humor, and willingness, you can improve if you just decide to.” and “If you really long for something, you’ll be able to manifest it.” I get that a lot of people believe in this kind of stuff. But I think it really discounts things like class systems, poverty and so on. There are a lot of people for whom just longing for something doesn’t do a damn thing.
  6. “Permanent anxiety opens the door to depression.” Maybe sometimes? But with most of my clients, they tend towards either depression or anxiety. I myself have struggled with depression most of my life, and I can tell you that anxiety has nothing to do with it.
  7. “Guilt demoralizes us; it allows no forward progress.” Hoo boy, I totally disagree with this one. I mean, we do carry toxic guilt that demoralizes. But regular guilt is good and does indeed allow forward progress. If I steal something and I feel guilty, that’s good; and forward progress comes from paying my dues/saying sorry/seeking forgiveness or reparations.
  8. “A person who hasn’t experienced a clinical depression doesn’t know the true nature of sadness.” What in the world? So my husband, who hasn’t been clinically depressed a day in his life, isn’t truly sad about his dad dying? I just don’t even get this one.
  9. “The only two things that really fulfill a human being completely are love and professional satisfaction.” I can certainly think of people for whom those two things do fulfill. But I hardly think those are the only two things that can really fulfill a person.

Overall, I found this book disorganized and pithy. The sequence of chapters did not make sense to me at all, and the kind of advice (like above) bordered on the ridiculous. If people could really make good things happen by “mind over matter” and so on, then no one would ever need medications or therapy. Seriously, I’ll put the Amazon link below, but I wouldn’t waste my money.

I received this book free from Net Galley for my review. The Amazon link above is an affiliate link.

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