book reviews

Book review: Choices and Illusions

Choices & Illusions coverI’ve read a lot of books on personal improvement, changing your life, and choosing happiness, but I have to say I’ve never read one quite like Eldon Taylor’s Choices and Illusions.

After turning the last page, I felt like I’d had a crash course in psychology, parapsychology, the subconscious, spirituality, and more. It’s definitely the sort of book that packs a lot, for people with all sorts of interests.

The basics

As the title implies, the book’s main goal is to explore why we make the choices we make…how our minds (consciously and subconsciously) influence those choices, and how our thoughts and entire life perspective can be influenced by factors we’re not even aware of.

The book covers a wide variety of topics, from subliminal messaging to information processing to flaws and failures in our perception (both of the world, and of ourselves). There are tons of scientific studies and anecdotes to illustrate all the ways our conscious thoughts and actions can be controlled or affected. You may be unnerved to realize how much things like negative inner thoughts or outside expectations play a role in your every decision, but it’s also eye-opening. And learning how much of our thought process depends on things we don’t even realize is the first step to making things better.

You can’t fix what isn’t broken, as they say…and you also can’t fix things you don’t even realize are broken. So knowing how these things are affecting our thoughts can help us break free from them by learning to change our thought patterns to a more positive, deliberate strain.

The author

The extensive and varied topics covered in the book are a result of Eldon Taylor’s extensive and varied background. He’s New York Times bestseller with a background in psychology, ministry, and over 300 books and audio programs in the self-help/self-improvement category. He’s been featured in everything from TV and print to being called as an expert witness on hypnosis and subliminal messaging in (sometimes very famous) court cases.

In other words, this isn’t just another fluffy self-help book based on mantras and feel-good affirmations. There’s some real science behind it, and years of analysis and thought. You can definitely tell.

My take

While I really enjoyed this book, I also have to say I don’t think it’s for everyone. It’s the kind of book you need to be open to, and it does really make you think.

If you’re looking for a light read you can breeze through on the beach, you’re better off with books like The Tao of Pooh or The Happiness Project. (Not to knock either book, which I love.) This book will challenge you, make you think, and force you to look at your mind in a way you might not have thought to look at it since Psychology class in college.

And I think that’s a great thing. I walked away from this book with a new understanding of my mind that makes me want to read even more on the subject, both because it’s fascinating and in order to learn more about how our thoughts affect our happiness and our choices.

It’s also not for people who are turned off by anything spiritual. It’s not one of those fluffy “woo woo” new age books like The Secret (don’t even get me started on that one!), but there’s definitely a strong theme of spirituality in it…whatever that means to you. Whether you’re Christian, agnostic, Buddhist, Universalist, or anything in between, this book can be read in a way that connects with your beliefs. It’s more about tapping into the larger world around you and the idea that there are things out there larger than us. But like I said, if you’re the sort who hates anything even slightly spiritual, talk of miracles and divine intervention might not be your cup of tea.

Overall, though, it’s an extremely interesting read and sheds a lot of light into the way we human operate. As a bonus, it comes with one of Taylor’s “InnerTalk” CDs, which are said to contain subliminal messages (of the good kind) that leave you more positive and empowered. (This CD’s title is “Unlimited Personal Power.”) I’m curious to see if it works, but a little skeptical at the same time.

What do you guys think? Should I try the CD? I could use some unlimited power! 🙂




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