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Book Review: The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels

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The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels teaches us how to transcend our comfort zones by changing behavior and not just attitude. A main aspect of this book emphasizes the need to interact with the world outside your periphery by transcending traditional comfort zones. That means foregoing analysis paralysis and the fight/flight phenomena in favor of action orientation.

Our safe space is the psychological crutch or comfort zone. Each of us tends to organize life around the avoidance of undermining the comfort zone in favor of perfect predictability, a static existence, and resistance to change.

Stutz and Michels teach that the only real way to move forward is to venture out of the classic comfort zone to experience new possibilities, people, and ways of doing things. Sometimes this means forcing yourself to eat right, exercise, organize your life, or even change careers.

The authors advise that we should turn fear into empowerment, the courage to overcome phobias, and the fear of leading or talking to people face to face. All of these proactive skills require a long term commitment to change behavior to a higher level of learning based upon venturing out into the unknown.

The authors employ a technique known as “the reversal of desire” when action is contemplated on an issue which has been avoided for a long period of time. In practice, each of us has to do something uncomfortable in order to proceed to a higher level of conquering a specific unfounded fear. The authors provide a specific example: Fear of audiences can be conquered by talking to an intermediary or your shadow in preparation to addressing a real audience.

The Tools is an excellent book which teaches contrary to traditional psychiatry which emphasizes probing past history to cure ills. The authors basically toss previous history and get to the root of the problem of avoidance right away. In essence, they advise to just do it!

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.