In the first chapter of this extraordinary book, Drs. Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper express the hope that readers of A New Guide to Rational Living—because the English language has limitations—will not “jump to the conclusion that we hand out the same old hackneyed, Pollyannaish message that you may have long ago considered and rejected as having no practical value.”
Because they use such words as “creativity,” “happiness,” “love,” “maturity,” and “problem-solving” (all terms used superficially by “positive thinking” and other “utopian” credos), they feel alarmed that people will accuse them of adding one more book to the already superfluous list of those promised to make everyone rich, happy, and powerful, to say nothing of emotionally mature.
They need not worry. Drs. Ellis and Harper have refreshing humility in this era of dogmatic formulas for living, and they see that constant happiness remains as elusive as moonbeams. As proof of this conviction, they have termed the chapter dealing with happiness “Refusing to Feel Desperately Unhappy.” What a far cry from the super-positive pseudo-philosophies of the “inspirational” books!
Actually, their associates had to talk these two prominent psychologists into doing a book about the “rational-emotive psychotherapy” they practice, and they had to feel it would truly help others before they wrote a word. They still believe intensive individual therapy desirable in serious cases, but they have come to believe a book can help a certain percentage of people who have the capacity for honest self-evaluation.
This book, like no other you have read, employs none of the jargon usually associated with psychology or psychiatry, and it may well prove the best book on psychotherapy for laymen ever written. It can provide emotionally disturbed individuals with many answers they seek.