An Intelligent Life is a highly practical, scientifically based instruction book for comfortable living; the result of thirty years clinical practice as a psychiatrist. It is an attempt to bring together ideas that I have seen help people to understand themselves more clearly, change old beliefs and initiate new behaviour to make their lives happier. It is about love, individuality, relationships and self respect.
If we are not sick or in some way physically threatened, there is no emotional problem that is not caused by either our fear of being alone, unloved and rejected or our fear of weakness, belittlement and loss of control. Because of this, the quality of relationships is central to our self esteem and to our happiness and therefore central to An Intelligent Life.
To feel good, we need to act well. We see ourselves in the mirror of other people's reactions and if we want to like the person we see, we need skills for loving and getting love while maintaining our adult equality and making sure our own needs aren't swamped by others. Looking after ourselves means looking after our relationships.
An Intelligent Life offers guidelines for maximising love and belonging, while simultaneously defining individual territory. There are specific techniques for managing relationships with lovers, friends, parents and children. A large section of the book is on effective self assertion and there are formulae for negotiating, arguing and marking out individual differences. Despite the emphasis on control and personal potency, ultimately An Intelligent Life is not about winning, because the real measures of human worth are kindness and dignity, not success or status. An Intelligent Life is designed to show that we can lose and still like ourselves, liberating us to be hopeless at things, but sensational as people.
and self respect.