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NLP – review


Title: NLP
Author: Joseph O'Connor and Ian McDermott
Publisher: Thorsons First Directions, 2001
ISBN: 0007110375
Price: £5.99 Hardback, 90 pages

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Even for only £5.99 this looks like a small volume at first glance, and you might think that there is little to detain you here. In fact this introduction to Neuro-Linguistic Programming is effective and informative. It is just a basic introduction, so it's not for people already familiar with NLP, but if you are one of those who has missed the explanation so far and is wondering what everyone is talking (and arguing) about when they cite NLP terms, this could be just the explanation you need.

Although the authors are concerned with advancing the claims of NLP and what it might be able to do for you, they don't push too much, and the main aim is a clear explanation of analyses and principles. So you get a page on a definition of NLP, a page on its history, then on to the main presuppositions upon which NLP operates. The reader is led gently through the ways and means, with no great pressure to take it all as gospel. As you read on, some potentially more contentious propositions (eye-accessing cues) are laid before you, but, again, this is done quite gently and without detailed explanation or justification.

The book is filled with pretty but bland pictures of trees, flowers, sand-dunes, sunsets and similar, which are probably intended to suggest calm reflection or profundity. For me they were a little too facile and vague, tending to dilute the more interesting propositions. Towards the end the text becomes overblown: the more sweeping the claims and the more universal the concerns, the more the blandness starts to grate. I'm not sure Gertrude Stein or T S Eliot were particularly appropriate or necessary for quotation and name-checking at the conclusion. But even the pretentious touches are effective (intentionally?) in that they make you want to move beyond the generalisations and get to grips with the particular details of the subject. I'm not persuaded of the virtues of NLP by this book, but I am interested, and now I want to read something that tells me more about it.


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