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Rick Branch
Author
Becoming Nobody: A Personal Account of One Man's Search for Self-Knowledge
Rick Branch, author

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

In this personal account, I take a long, hard look at the person I believe myself to be. The chapters within chronicle my findings from 2008 to 2018. Most of these "chapters' are the emails I sent to a fellow seeker.

Backing up my conclusions with philosophy, psychology, science, and life experiences, I found that acquiring self-knowledge is not a matter of addition, but subtraction; that finding out who we truly are is not about gain, but loss.

Note: Though I entered "Memoir" as the category of this book, it's more than that. I could just as well have entered, Philosophy, Psychology, Self-Knowledge, or Inspirational.

To see excerpts, go to my website.

Plot/Idea: 6 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 7.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot/Idea: Branch’s self-reflections evolve throughout time, demonstrating his growth and understanding of the philosophies to which he has ascribed. Each chapter is compact and focuses on something Branch has learned from his worldview and life experience.

Prose: In the format of one-way emails, Branch summarizes what he has learned from several philosophers, including George Gurdjieff, Eckhart Tolle, and Socrates, among others, and uses substantial quotations from others’ writings.

Originality: Those familiar with existential philosophy and books on the art of self-reflection will find Branch’s exploration familiar, but the concise format and highly digestible chapters are fresh and accessible.

Character/Execution: Branch’s story, which unfolds over a 10-year span, is brimming with questions, reflections, and meaningful personal development.

Date Submitted: October 08, 2022

Reviews
Melissa Schillinger Amazon review

6/13/2020

5 out of 5 stars    This book is mind-blowing and life-changing!

This is one of those books that I will refer to throughout the rest of my life. I, like Branch and many others, have often wondered, “Who am I?” Yet, when I attempt to answer this question, I always end up feeling like a dog chasing my own tail, just to pick up an interesting scent and run off to another yard to be distracted by that pesky tail again. Eventually, I feel dizzy, confused, and I’m not quite sure how to get back to the yard where I started. Branch’s commitment to using science, psychology, and philosophy, paired with anecdotal evidence highlighting these findings, helped me to better understand who I am and why I feel the way I do. His willingness to reveal his personal journey to self-discovery to his readers is admirable, and his honesty made me feel like I’m not alone in the search. The book was, at times, painfully raw. Branch warns his readers of this, and despite the shocking (and sometimes disturbing) revelations I experienced as I turned his pages, I completed the book feeling more authentic and comfortable in my own skin than I ever have in my life.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite 

4/13/2021

5 out of 5 stars  

Many people pose the question 'Who am I?' and 'What is my life purpose?' Using science, psychology, and philosophy from some of the greatest thinkers in history, this guide aims to unravel the cause that prevents us from remembering our true Essence. Since birth, we have been conditioned to believe that all we are is our personality but this only constitutes a small section of our true self. Holding this belief causes us to live superficially and unconsciously and only use our conscious minds around 5% of the time. Throughout Becoming Nobody by Rick Branch, you will gain a deeper understanding of your true self. Why do some people avoid the uncertainty that will bring them true happiness in exchange for compliance and obedience to rules they were conditioned to obey? You will also learn why we dwell on our mistakes, judge others unreasonably, and worry about situations that have not occurred. The unconscious mind has an enormous amount of control over your thoughts beliefs and actions and this completely falsifies our true self.

Becoming Nobody by Rick Branch is extremely detailed and insightful. I loved how the author used philosophy, science, and psychology throughout. This guide has truly opened my mind to the possibility that we, as humans, are completely out of touch with our authentic selves. There is far more to our existence than just what we see, feel, taste and touch. The messages are so profound you have to take your time to really process the information and ponder its meaning. I loved the chapters on Traditional or Mainstream Psychotherapy and The Ego Tunnel. There is a quote from the book which states, 'This realization makes me look up at the sky at night with a new sense of wonder and awe,' and this is how I truly felt when I had completed the book. The guide is filled with life-changing insights that will truly awaken your spirituality and make you more analytical and conscious of your behaviors, thoughts, and actions.

I have also discovered how judgemental and unforgiving I can be on a subconscious level. The guide also has some very interesting information on our distorted perception of time. One of my favorite quotes from the book by Jed McKenna states, “There is no now, there is only the intersection of past and future, both of which possess the curious charm of not existing.” It has been truly inspiring to learn the power we all hold within but have somehow chosen to allow that power to be replaced with external conditioning and our unconscious mind.

 

Sol Tyler Amazon review

 5/14/2021

5 out of 5 stars         A wonderful read

​Understanding who we are and why we feel and act in a certain way, what difficult tasks! Author Rick Branch puts ourselves on the table in order to make us realise how sometimes we need to “Become nobody” in order to be someone. Sounds strange, right? But this book makes us realise it is not. It is simpler than it sounds.

This book is written in a very original way since, to describe his ideas, Branch has chosen the form of a diary which is a compilation of emails he wrote with chronological dates on them. The emails go from 2008 to 2018. Some excerpts of famous writers are mingled in the chapters, and this adds to the pleasant atmosphere that reading these pages produce. An absolutely creative piece of writing!

A. Cannady Amazon review

 6/2/2021

​5 out of 5 stars        A definite must-read if you're searching for contentment or self-identity.

Wow. Just "wow." In "Becoming Nobody: A Personal Account of One Man's Search for Self-Knowledge," Rick Branch hits a home run about the problem in society today. I'm guilty of it as a parent myself. We have spent so much time raising our kids to tell them they can be anything they want, and they're amazing, and they should shoot for the moon, thinking that by starting them with high standards, we are helping boost their self-esteem. What we're doing, instead, is creating generations of children who grow up into entitled adults who think they are so amazing, they're too good for minimum-wage, blue-collar jobs. It's not that they're bad people. It's that they're confused about who they really are, and then they are unhappy because they're not these amazing adults their parents told them they'd be. To fix this misalignment of "self," one has to become "nobody" to find out who their "somebody" really is. Wow. Read this book.

Reviewed by Jasmine Smith (Onlinebookclub.org) 

9/11/2021​

4 out of 4 stars

 In hopes of discovering the answers to what the purpose of existence is, Rick Branch took a journey deep within the works of several great philosophers and personal writers. Starting with the teachings of Gurdjieff, which he discovered in his teen years, Branch developed an interest in the dual nature of the self. He believed he would find the solution for the peace of mind he sought in this study of viewing the unconscious personality as a separate, false self from the conscious essence that resides at the core of a person.

Branch, after a thirty year hiatus, renews his philosophical interests, and together with a like-minded email correspondent, Ana Hildebrand, delves deeper into the concepts of the self, false I's, ego, and mind-body dualism. Branch pushes forward despite uncertainty as he jumps across philosophies and beliefs, where the search for something becomes an exploration into the nothingness within himself.

Written as a compilation of notes, emails, personal thoughts, and quotes, Becoming Nobody is a wonderful look into the world of philosophy, particularly those concepts pertaining to the self. Branch writes his story in a very comprehensible way, including exemplary examples that allow the reader to visualize how following these teachings can be achieved in a modern life. As well as how they can affect a person while being followed.

There was very little in this book that didn’t captivate. The only part of the book that was difficult to follow was a slight randomness of the chapters. They felt like scattered thoughts in want of organization, but even this was true to the nature of the text and Branch’s internal struggle to understand. He even briefly mentions at the end of the author’s note to just flip through until you come across something that interests you. Which gives an insight to his understanding of the disconnection between his thoughts. Despite this chaotic format, the story still had a recognizable linear progression, which allows the reader to truly feel the progression of his state of mind.

The immense amount of research Branch does over the course of his personal journey allows an insight into multiple angles for each system of belief, and his use of statements from a great variety of figures, from G. I. Gurdjieff, Eckhart Toll, Jed McKenna, and many others, which both corroborate and contradict each other, makes this book a good starting point for anyone with an interest in philosophy. The progression of his journey would also make this a good read for anyone interested in autobiographies or stories of personal development. The amount of information that is packed in this small book makes it highly recommendable, and I found the publication to be well edited. I, therefore, give it 4 out of 4 stars.

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