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Fear and Other Uninvited Guests

Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame That Keeps Us from Optimal Living
Narrated by: Harriet Lerner
Length: 3 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Unhappiness, says best-selling author Harriet Lerner, is fueled by three key emotions: anxiety, fear, and shame. They are the uninvited guests in our lives. When tragedy or hardship hit, they may become our constant companions.

With stories that are sometimes hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking, Lerner takes us from "fear-lite" to the most difficult lessons the universe sends us. We learn:

  • How to have the courage to speak, act, and show up when we are anxious and afraid
  • How to deal with the fear of not being good enough and the shame of feeling essentially flawed and inadequate
  • How to stay calm and clear in an anxious, crazy workplace
  • How to manage fear and despair when things fall apart
  • How "positive thinking" helps and harms
  • How to be our best and bravest selves, even when we are terrified

No one signs up for anxiety, fear, and shame, but we can't avoid them either. As we learn to respond to these three key emotions in new ways, we can live more fully and move into the future with courage, clarity, humor, and hope. Fear and Other Uninvited Guests shows us how.

©2004 Harriet Lerner (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Conversational and often witty." (Publishers Weekly)
"Superb insights." (Library Journal)

What listeners say about Fear and Other Uninvited Guests

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Marty
  • Marty
  • 27-12-2007

very insightful and realistic

This book is excellent in many respects but first a comment about the author's delivery, which other reviewers have made into the issue about this book. It's true. The delivery takes some getting used to. Also, the book starts out a bit slow. It takes time to get to the parts that are actually useful. But, it does provides some very deep insights, in relatively simple terms and what I prize most about her account is that she's realistic and also self-deprecating. If you are looking for ways to understand anxiety and fear and other mind states that can be quite debilitating, this is an excellent resource and the author's perspective provides a sense of understanding that in and of itself can be healing. Excellent book, warts and all.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brenda
  • 30-01-2006

Very informative and helpful

Once you get past the sometimes monotonous tone of the author, this book is very helpful. I have read a number of books on anxiety but this one tackles all the issues. She discusses shame, fear, depression, anxiety, and phobias, as well as other conditions and how they all relate.

She takes a somewhat mediation approach to her psychology. That is, being aware of what you are thinking and using this knowledge to move on productively. This approach to me is the best because it forces you to be real and actually deal with you emotions instead of finding ways to distract yourself from them. Her speech is also very real and as a listener you feel connected to her. Some books feel clinical, but not this one.

If you are serious about healing your mind, this is the book to get. It offers concrete advice and is filled with humorous and personal stories. She doesn't just ask you to expose your weakenesses, she invites you to listen to hers as well. So get past her monotone voice and understand the message.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Steveorevo
  • 08-11-2007

Boring, and anxiety inducing

The speaker is very monotone and provides too lengthy analogies about anxieties such as fear of flying, why anxieties are good for you (i.e. a kid that died river rafting). If you don't have enough anxieties, this book will give some more to think about. Granted, the author is attempting to enlighten positive points, but the monotone and very long personal experience will either bore you to tears before making good on any points... if any. I was too bored to ever finish a complete sentence each time I started a session of this particular audiobook (average session being 45 minutes!). I tried, about 5 times and gave up. There are four hours of this but if you have panic attacks I would recommend listening to "Pass Through Panic" by Dr. Claire Weekes five times in a row.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 16-05-2005

Stopped listening 1 hour deep

This audiobook may have had some interesting nuggets, but they were hard to mine from the narrator's irritating tone and impossibly slow pace.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • SmileyGuy
  • 12-09-2007

Psycho Is In Psychotherapist

Firstly, this book is primarily geared to women, which is fine, but guys need to know that prior to thinking about ordering it.

Secondly, if you want to know all about this author's crazy life and how she doesn't handle it well, it's a great listen. I get the impression that if you looked at her cross-eyed, she'd turn into a jellyfish.

Unfortunately, for true anxiety sufferers, there really isn't much to be found here. Although this type of issue could never be resolved in a three hour audiobook, this book is still quite a let down.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Samantha F.
  • 08-07-2020

understandable and insightful

this book was an easy listen filled with insight. great for anyone interested in understanding and building a healthy relationship with negative emotions

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  • B. Brown
  • 17-04-2020

Insightful!

So much wisdom packed into three hour-long chapters! Lerner is a pro at the content. Her delivery was a little hypnotizing, slow, and repetitive. I suggest listening to it at a faster speed than 1.0.

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  • Still Lettos
  • 09-11-2017

Painful to listen to

While I liked a few thoughts the author had for the 45 minutes I tried this one, this book was completely BRUTAL to listen to. Her voice dips and pauses after every. single. phrase. I can't finish it.

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  • Shelly
  • 30-06-2015

Harriet Lerner, again, makes it look doable.

I have read Harriet Lerner's books for many years. I find myself rereading them every once in a while when I lapse back into old thinking habits.

She is a down to earth person who is gifted with the ability to break things down to a basic level. I love the examples she shares to illustrate her logic.

It is refreshing to hear her laugh about herself and the experiences that have made her the strong, empowered woman she is today.

I just wish I could find an unabridged recording. I miss the additional stories and concepts that are not included in the abridged recording.

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  • Pamela
  • 28-03-2015

The humanity of anxiety

I so appreciated how human she makes anxiety. So often I feel like a failure when I'm experiencing anxiety, but this was a refreshing reminder that it's not about whether or not we experience anxiety but how we choose to respond to it. It's definitely going to get a second listen!

1 person found this helpful