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Kathleen McGuinness
Confidence Lost / Confidence Found: How to Reclaim the Unstoppable You

Adult; Self-Help, Sex & Relationships, Psychology, Philosophy, Fashion; (Market)

Confidence Lost / Confidence Found: How to Reclaim the Unstoppable You serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of relatable stories and simple exercises that offer a road map for building and maintaining authentic confidence.

The book guides readers through easy to understand exercises to increase eight attitudes to enlarge their confidence. These attitudes include assertiveness, self-compassion, and authenticity. The author also provides tools to minimize five self-sabotaging behaviors that erode confidence. Readers learn how to defeat the Imposter Syndrome, muzzle their inner critic, tame their perfectionism, and release painful thoughts that cling like ivy.

Using that foundation, McGuinness gives simple, point-by-point instructions to proceed confidently when networking, interviewing for a job, receiving a performance review, public speaking, and even looking in the mirror.

Additionally, fifty-two weekly confidence challenges are included to ensure that the confidence readers build as they work the exercises stays with them.

Real-life examples and road-tested experiential practices guide readers on a path to lasting change. McGuinness inspires women to live with authentic confidence and awaken their sleeping goals. Confidence Lost / Confidence Found will change how readers approach their days and live their lives.

Executive coach McGuinness’s engaging and inspiring guide is based on her own efforts to develop lasting confidence. After she was abruptly fired, got divorced, and suffered financial losses, McGuinness’s sense of self was shattered. Emerging from this desperate time in her life, McGuinness realized that lack of confidence is an all-too-common issue for women and became determined to help others develop and sustain belief in themselves. Her guide outlines ways for women to build resilience and self-acceptance, and to reframe their perceptions of themselves.

McGuinness makes some attempt to invoke neuropsychological and sociological underpinnings for low confidence and self-esteem in women, but readers are unlikely to be persuaded by unscientific-sounding statements such as the assertion that women have more neurons “in the region [of the brain] known as the worrywart center.” (The book’s endnotes give sources, but magazine articles and self-help books outnumber peer-reviewed scientific studies.) However, McGuinness’s exercises are sound. She recommends deliberately taking note of moments of personal success, such as using an achievement as small as fixing a printer’s paper jam to fight back against a critical inner voice that says “I’m bad at mechanical stuff,” and developing confident body language. She skillfully gives depth to commonplace tips on dealing with situations such as interviewing for jobs and speaking in public.

McGuinness’s advice and drills are practical, and she’s always mindful of the issues many women face in their efforts to overcome their own inner doubts. As useful as all the material is, readers might wish for less densely packed pages, as each one sometimes feels full to overflowing with information and suggestions. Readers who recognize their own struggles in these pages will find that many of McGuinness’s methods make upcoming challenges easier to face.

Takeaway: Women who struggle to believe in themselves will discover many useful tips in this practical guide to building and sustaining self-esteem.

Great for fans of Nathaniel Branden’s Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: C
Illustrations: -
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: A