Book review: How to Take Charge of Your Life: The User’s Guide to NLP by Richard Bandler

I have good news for you: you are free to live the life you dream of! You can choose how you think, feel and act. And regardless of your past, you can create a new future. This is the message that the book How to Take Charge of Your Life: The User’s Guide to NLP is aiming to convey. Keep reading if you want to find more information about the book.

What is the book about?

This book is about the power of change and growth. It covers some of the basics of personal development and NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming). Written as a novel, it tells the story of a man, Joe, that attends a personal development seminar. Skeptic at first, he learns more about and applies some of the principles of this field. The book includes information that was taught in that seminar and the character’s thoughts on it.

Even though I expected this to be a book filled with theories, examples and statistics, I enjoyed it nonetheless. I would say that it combines facts with a fictional personal story in a surprisingly pleasant way.


The information in the book is quite basic, yet relevant and useful. After all, the basics in any field can never be over-rated. This book helps readers understand and believe that they do not have to let their past limit them. It tells us that we are the people we are today because we got used to this identity and lifestyle. And we created these with our thoughts. Day by day we reinforce them and they eventually become beliefs. And these beliefs affect the way we perceive life, the world around us and ourselves. We act in accordance with these beliefs. And the more often we do, the stronger they get. Our beliefs are responsible for producing the results that we get in life. And the more often our results are in accordance with our beliefs and expectations, the stronger they get. In other words, we are a perpetual self-fulfilling prophecy.

Let me give you an example: if we believe that we are shy, we will act like a shy person. When we go to certain events, we will not approach other people because we tell ourselves that we are shy. And we act the way this belief tells us – we will sit quietly in a corner by ourselves or talk to the people that we already know. And this will prove that we are indeed shy.


However, if we do not want to be shy, we can change that. If we start telling ourselves that we are outgoing and charismatic, we will change. The next time we are surrounded by people, we can get up and talk to strangers. We can start interacting with more people. Over time, it will get easier for us to act this way and we will truly become outgoing. We are who we tell ourselves that we are. If we want to change that, we must tell us who we want to be. Little by little, we start acting differently and then we become different.


The book mentions a few techniques that we can use to change the way we see ourselves. It helps us adjust our beliefs so that they will produce the kind of results that we want.

It also gives us some advice regarding goal-setting. The authors encourage us to set goals that we want to achieve and that can help us evolve. They also help us think about how we should get started once we find our goals. And they encourage us to keep thriving – after all, growth should be perpetual, right?


Who wrote the book?

The book has 3 authors: Alessio Roberti, Owen Fitzpatrick, and Richard Bandler. The first two have both studied and worked in the NLP field. Richard Bandler created the NLP method with John Grinder in the 1970s in the United States.


Who is the book for?

It can be read by anyone interested in personal development, growth and self-mastery. I believe that the book was written for a large audience, especially for the people that never heard of personal development. Since the book covers some basic principles of this field, it can help people start learning about it. The character in the book is also not acquainted with these principles and techniques and is sometimes skeptical. Therefore, the people that first read or hear about this might easily identify with the character. The book may have been written mainly for those that are not aware of or doubt the power of thoughts and personal change.

However, anybody who is interested in this field can enjoy the book and possibly learn something new.


What can you learn from this book?

Perhaps the biggest value you will get from this book is a new or reinforced belief in yourself. It can give you more hope and enthusiasm. It can help you (re)discover the importance of your thoughts, feelings and actions. It can provide you with some techniques that you can use to help you lead a better, happier life.


What have I learnt from this book?

Since this is not the first personal development book I read, I already knew some of the ideas presented in it. However, I found it very refreshing to read about the basic principles of personal development once again.

A very important lesson that I learned was that the quality of my life can depend on the questions I ask myself. If I keep asking myself why I am experiencing a difficult or unpleasant situation, everything will get worse. But if I ask myself how I can make a bad situation better, I can begin to take control over my day – and ultimately my life. It is something that I have never realized before and I believe this will definitely help me change my perspective in some situations.


Something I did not like about the book

Personally, I would have enjoyed the book more if it were not written like a novel. I love non-fiction books, especially if they are about a theory or a field that I fairly understand. But I believe that some people might like the book more precisely because it was written like this.


My favourite quote

“In life, you must always remember that you are free to change the way you think, free to change the way you feel and free to design the kind of life you want. You must take charge of your destiny. And always remember to act as if you’re the controlling element of your life. When you do, you will be.”


Ten-word summary

Your thoughts and actions control your life. You control them.



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