The End of Self Help by Gail Brenner ~ Book Review and Author Interview

00051_FCA_02“Discovering Peace and Happiness right at the heart of your messy,scary, brilliant life.”

We are all looking for peace and happiness aren’t we? In search of the said peace and happiness we knock many doors, climb through many windows too and find a few answers that might or might not resonate with our truest self. While self help is NOT about knocking doors and climbing through windows, that is what we are led to believe. Self help is actually about looking within. Its sometimes very difficult to sift through the new age mantras and find good advice that resonates with our heart. Gail Brenner’s book The End of Self Help is that GOOD advice we NEED to absorb.

I’ve knows Gail and her writing for a long time now and since she is a fellow Psychologist I ‘feel’ her passion to really help in every thought she shares. She is a beautiful soul and her book is nothing short of Amazing. I read it cover to cover and then once again. The myths of self help have been positively broken here and she gives solid advice through her own journey of transformation. Eye opening and heart touching!

Here is an interview with Gail Brenner about her book The End of Self Help. Enjoy!-

1. What sparked the thought of writing this highly insightful book?

The book comes directly from my own experience of discovering that it’s possible to find our way to happiness and peace in any moment. This is what I know to be true, and I’d love everyone else to know it, too.

I’ve called the book, “The End of Self-Help” because, in truth, we are not broken and damaged selves who need to be fixed. This belief that we’re missing what we need to be happy is so painful. It keeps us searching outside ourselves, hoping we’ll find just what we need to finally feel whole. And it keeps us waiting for happiness rather than living it.

But in any moment, we can shift our attention away from the unhappy stories we live by and realize we’re fully here—living, breathing, being, experiencing life right now—and we’re peaceful.

I’m excited for everyone to know that suffering is truly optional and that peace and happiness are right here, available always.

2.While writing your book, what was the most challenging part? Was there a time you wanted to just give up?

Writing this book took much longer than I expected because so many life events happened along the way. When I started writing it, I had just gotten married, then we got a new puppy and moved to a new home. And there were travels for both work and pleasure.

Even with all these potential obstacles, I never considered giving up. My mantra became, “Keep going.” When I procrastinated or lost confidence in myself, I always said in my mind, “Keep going.” Then I would take the next tiny step, and things moved forward.

I also pictured the lovely people who would eventually be helped by reading the book, which was a great support in keeping me focused.

3.How much research went into writing the book?

My primary source of research for this book was my own experience, and what I write about is the culmination of a 15-year search for happiness. Many years ago, I started reading about the Buddha’s claim that freedom from suffering was possible. I didn’t understand how that could be, but something in me just knew that it was true.

A fire lit up inside me to know this freedom in my own experience. I meditated, read spiritual books, went to retreats with beautiful teachers, and finally the lightbulb went off. I didn’t need to get anything or become something better to be free.

When I looked at any moment with the eyes of truth, the end to suffering was always right here by not believing thoughts and shifting my attention to the space of presence. I experimented with applying this insight to every moment in my daily life.

Conditioning dropped away, and life became so incredibly sweet. This is what I have tried to communicate in the book, right from my heart to the heart of everyone who reads it.

4.Which is your most favorite chapter from your book and Why?

What a hard question—it’s like asking me to choose my favorite child! But here’s my answer: Chapter 3, which is called “Showing Up Ripe and Ready.”

Our conditioned programming is very powerful and easily hijacks our happiness. This chapter describes six essential qualities that help us to fully live the truth of who we really are.

Here are the qualities along with some questions for reflection to deepen our experience of them.

1. Openness —“I don’t know anything. I am open to things exactly as they are.”
2. Curiosity—Taking nothing for granted, ask, “What am I experiencing right now?” “What are these experiences made of exactly?”
3. Receptivity—“I receive what is without avoiding, defending, or needing to control. ”
4. Dedication—“I stay dedicated to seeing through conditioning to discover peace and happiness.”
5. Compassion—“I am infinitely kind to myself.”
6. Humility—“I surrender my need to control, to have things be the way I want them to be.”

These qualities reveal our loving, spacious, open presence. I encourage everyone to experiment with living from here.

5.Who would benefit from this amazing book?

This book is for anyone who is suffering and wants to be truly happy in any moment. It’s for people tired of searching for answers and not finding them.

You don’t need any special knowledge to be happy; you don’t need commit to any practices. You only need to be willing to abandon false ideas about yourself and live in harmony with the unfolding of this precious life. And if you’re not sure how to do that, I explain it in great detail so you can easily understand.

Many people who have read the book have told me that it helps them greatly in practical ways to find peace in the midst of their daily life.

6.Do you have a message for the readers of your book?

Yes! No matter what your mind tells you, you are not broken or damaged, and you don’t need to be fixed. Be diligent about looking within to discover your essence, which is boundless, unlimited by any ideas, luminous, and infinitely peaceful. Then go out there and enjoy your life!


About Gail Brenner author of The End of Self Help:

Gail BrennerGail Brenner, Ph.D. is a psychologist who joyfully shares insights about discovering that suffering is optional.

She is the author of, “The End of Self-Help: Discovering Peace and Happiness Right at the Heart of Your Messy, Scary, Brilliant Life.” Find Gail on FacebookTwitter, and at her blog,, where she offers articles, conversation, and a free ebook. Gail has special expertise working with older adults and their families, bringing clear seeing and compassion to the transitions of aging, death, and dying. Her work offers a bridge between psychology and the deepest spiritual understanding and weaves heart-based clarity into everyday human challenges.

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With Immense Love & Gratitude,

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