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Book Review of: Cassius Cheong's Positively Quit Manual

The Thinking Person's Guide to Smoking Cessation

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Review of Cassius Cheong's Positively Quit Manual by Cassius Cheong (Softcover, 2010)

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.

As someone who doesn't have a smoking addiction problem, I approached this book not from how it can help me quit smoking but how it can help me with the same kind of self-defeating self-talk that defeats smokers every day. I found the principles actually have wide application, though this book is squarely aimed at the self-selected victims of tobacco companies.

If you are a smoker, it means you are still enslaved by this killer habit. This book probably holds the keys that will set you free. Whatever you've tried thus far hasn't worked, so give this a try.

The principles in this book can help anyone with similar kinds of self-deceptive disorders, including overeating. Cheong helps the reader understand the nature of the self-deception and how to replace it with reality. Many smoking cessation programs merely substitute another form of self-deception, which feels wrong and leads the smoker to go back to the old, more comfortable one of smoking.

This book is thin, so it's no burden to read it. The burden comes in agreeing to let go of rationalizations, self-deception, and just plain dumb excuses. Once you do that, you can walk through the mental realignment process that Cheong provides so you see things clearly. Smoking does more than put a haze in the air, it puts a haze in your mind. When you agree to clear the air in both places, you can begin the process of actually doing so.

Cheong's method doesn't require buying expensive chemicals or getting expensive treatments. It doesn't involve making you and those around you miserable (in fact, he explains how to not do this). It's not about "giving up" smoking. It's about no longer being controlled by it.

If you now smoke, you have many concerns throughout the day. You can't go somewhere without bringing along enough cigarettes, for example. One reason you have these concerns is you see some things exactly backwards. You think smoking makes you feel better, but the reality is it fills a temporary hole created by the nicotine cycle. If you didn't smoke at all, that hole wouldn't exist.

Smoking is the number one cause of male impotence, so it's not a sexy thing for men to do. A woman with smoker's face and that stench filling any room she walks into isn't exactly sexy either. Any reason you can find for smoking is based on delusion. Part of Cheong's approach is to address those "reasons" that people use to continue smoking.

Basically, he provides a fresh perspective from which a smoker can look at smoking and then take positive steps to start breathing fresh air again. If you can think, you can use this approach. And if you use this approach, the chances are good you will no longer be a slave to cigarettes. You'll save yourself hundreds of dollars in purchase costs over the next year and many thousands of dollars in other costs (not just medical, but those too) over the remainder of your (now longer) life.

For the little bit of time and money you'll invest in this book, you really can't go wrong. If you smoke, buy one copy for yourself and another for a friend who smokes. If you don't smoke, get a copy for someone who does. Nobody deserves to die gasping for breath on a ventilator, despite what tobacco company executives seem to think about that.



About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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