[Review] Get Off Your “But”

I must admit that I’m intrigued by the whole “Self Help” book genre. I can’t say that I’ve read a huge number of them, but I’ve sampled some. I’ve always been a firm believer that you can learn just about anything from a book, and it’s definitely the first place I go when I’m trying to become familiar with a new concept.

There’s something about self help books, though, that have always given me the feeling that I was somehow cheating.  The real big “lessons of life” need to be figured out on your own. They’re like mistakes — someone else can’t make them for you.

Having said that, I was intrigued by the title of Sean Stephenson’s book, Get Off Your “But.” It had a good sound to it, and I’ve always been a proponent of getting up and doing something when you want to solve a problem.

While Get Off Your “But” was a good title, the book itself lacked real meat, and I didn’t feel that it added much original content to the subjects that it presented.

The Blurb from the Back

In addition to presenting Sean Setphenson’s unbelievable life story, Get Off Your “But” offers anyone who needs to conquer fears and insecurities a hands-on guide for overcoming the forces of negativity and self sabotage. Sean — a successful psychotherapist — shows what it takes to overcome the big bumps in the road, elimate excuses, end insecurities, and ultimately stand up for happiness and success in life. As sean exaplains, anyone can fall victim to the “Buts”:

“But” Fears (BUT what if I fail…)

“But” Insecurities (BUT I’m not good enough…)

“BUT” Excuses (BUT there’s no time…)

Get Off Your “But” offers a practical guide for putting fear behind you and building the inner resources to become self-confident at work and at home. It’s time to get off your “but” and start leading the life you dream.

Don’t Go Too Easy on Me

Get Off Your “But” breaks itself down into six lessons (Start Connecting, Watch What You Say to Yourself, Master Your Physical Confidence, Focus Your Focus, Choose Your Friends Wisely, Take Full Responsibility). Each lesson describes the authors ideas on the topic, with multiple breakouts into how the lesson impacted his own life. After each lesson, the author also presents a “case study” of someone who put the lesson into practice with positive results.

The first lesson, Start Connecting, was the one I enjoyed the most, as it had the most concrete examples. The ten things that the author learned from Bill Clinton about connection were really interesting, and could be taken away and used almost immediately. However, in many of the other lessons, I didn’t feel that the author gave enough “tools” that were as practical in the real world.

I’ve mentioned in previous book reviews, that there is a difficult balance to strike when discussing a “technical” topic that your audience might not be that familiar with. You have to be careful not to weigh people down with too much technical detail, but you have to be sure not to talk down to them, either.  I think on this scale, Get Off Your “But” falls on the latter side of the scale. Many times, the topics are discussed at such high levels as to be oversimplified.

Inside Self Help

The other thing that struck me with this book, is that I never felt like I had an “a-ha” moment, where the author said something original and unique. I kind of hate to say this, as the author’s personal stories throughout the book show that he really has made it through quite a few challenges, and it’s hard to point to something specific in this, but I just never felt like I was hearing something new.

Along with this are various parts of the book, which had a kind of “inside baseball” feel to it. When the author speaks of his meeting with Tony Robbins, for example, I couldn’t connect with the excitement the author was feeling. At other points in the book, there are also details of the self help and motivational speaking world that I’m just not a part of, so it left me feeling like I wanted to skip over that section.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To Me

Of course, having said all of this, the irony of the whole thing is that it’s taken me a good three months to read and write a review of a book called Get Off Your “But”. So, in the end, maybe I’m not the person you should be listening to.


Grade: C
Who would like this book: People in the business of motivational speaking who are interested in Sean Stephenson’s life.
Who would not like this book: People looking for more concrete tools for self-motivation.

Note: This book was sent to me as a review copy. While I try not to let this alter my review, I feel that it is only fair, in the interest of full disclosure, to let you know.

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