Rating: really liked it
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication date: March 23, 2021
A “high functioning” person, according to Dr. Chloe Carmichael, is “someone who goes beyond the basics of taking care of their physical and mental self, is able to take care of their basic needs and can sustain meaningful relationships with friends and family”. Furthermore, a “highly functioning person” is usually an overachieving Type –A personality, who is driven to succeed, has personal and occupational goals, and strives to perform well. It is to these people that she targets in her novel, “Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of your Anxiety”. Carmichael believes that these types of people benefit from anxiety, and that oftentimes their anxiety has led them to multiple paths of success, but they can also suffer detrimentally from this same anxiety, and she aims to explore this.
I have read a few self-help books (I try to avoid them for the most part, as I find them oftentimes to be preachy and condescending), but the ones I do read focus on anxiety and depression. To use Carmichael’s phrasing, I am a “consumer” of therapy, and have had a few therapists (Carmichael explains that high functioning people find it difficult to match with a therapist because they have more complex needs) , so I am too familiar with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and have probably tried each and every therapeutic activity for anxiety that there is. It is hard for me to read a book on anxiety and be totally blown away by the author’s new and novel therapeutic suggestions (I am also a skeptic, so it takes a lot to get me to “buy in” to a lot of therapy techniques….did I mention I have a BA in psychology?) but Carmichael provided a few more techniques that I hadn’t tried before, and I might even be willing to give them a shot.
Carmichael highlights her nine-step approach through examples from her client base (honestly, one of them was so relatable I worried Carmichael had somehow been spying on me), and then breaks them down to make them relevant and usable to just about anyone who suffers from anxiety (and, of course, is “highly functioning”) . Unlike most therapy approaches that suggest a person with a Type-A, “almost OCD” personality alter their ways of thinking and behaviour, Carmichael highlights the positives of these personality types, and instead targets the negative thought patterns that these types may suffer from. It was refreshing to see this type of attitude portrayed in a self-help novel.
Some of these approaches are new (to me) and some seem to be just more detailed examples of things I’ve seen before, but either way, Carmichael definitely has a creative way of addressing the “anxiety-driven person”. Although Carmichael touts the benefits of therapy (and encourages her readers over and over again to ‘review’ the activities and tools with a trusted therapist), but her suggestions are also good starting points for those who aren’t quite ready to make that jump.
“Nervous Energy” has good flow, uses easy-to-understand language, and actually provides a bit of insight and new therapeutic techniques, which is great for anyone who is tired of trying the same therapeutic activities over and over and having no success.
Rating: did not like it
To be honest, when I started reading this book I actually double-checked the title page because I was sure I must have accidentally opened the wrong book. I expected the focus to be on managing anxiety but it is specifically written for "high functioning" people to manage their anxiety. Huh, it turns out that I've been a "low functioning" person all my life and never knew it.
The start of the book is so pompous and pretentious about the clients she chooses to work with (only "high functioning" overachievers like herself) that I stopped reading it fairly early on. This is rare for me since I'll generally even hate-read a book to finish it, but this just made me feel bad and I'm not giving that many hours of my life to something this annoying.
I identify as someone who has nervous energy and anxiety, and I actually think I achieve quite a lot in my life. I do not at all relate to her high achiever profile though -- perfectionists who manage to do everything better than everybody else and get tons accomplished in the blink of an eye (join everything and run it, host perfect parties, have perfectly dressed and coiffed children, etc.). Nope, I'm the scatterbrained artist intellectual mama type who has a million projects and aims for "good enough" in lots of it in order to get things done. I do have nervous energy and I have had anxiety since I was a little girl, but I am not a type A person and I honestly felt like I was a failure reading her definition of the people she works with and wrote this book for.
If you are a super successful overachiever with anxiety, then this will probably serve you well -- and stroke your ego, since she's all about fawning over you (and herself). I'm now going to go do a dozen things with slightly better than mediocre aspirations since that's how I manage to juggle all that I do without even more anxiety, and go find a book that makes me feel slightly less stabby. 😉
I read a digital ARC of this book for review.
Rating: really liked it
brief synopsis: a guide how to work through mental health issues as an already high-functioning person. NERVOUS ENERGY is full of engaging writing and specific examples that are fun & illustrative. I enjoyed it overall & will seek out a physical copy and/or audio in the future. my concern, however, is the fat-shaming sprinkled throughout the book. while exercise & fitness are important, body size is not. I worry that this weakness could make many high-functioning readers — including those with eating disorders — feel excluded. otherwise, NERVOUS ENERGY seems pretty current regarding technology, social media, & problems that high-functioning people realistically face in daily life. as a high-functioning person w/ anxiety myself, I found NERVOUS ENERGY useful & already recommended it to my therapist!
Rating: it was ok
When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books?? BTW - stay home and save lives!!!!!!!! No tan is worth dying for.
I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.
A roadmap for high achievers to harness restlessness, roadblocks, and distractions into a productive drive towards personal and professional fulfillment.
Oftentimes, young adults reach success by deliberately being their own worst critic and obsessively double-checking their work; or by pushing their feelings aside. This strategy is seductive because it does work, at least up to a certain point. The problems arise once you advance beyond school and early career stages. The higher you climb, the more complex projects and issues in your life become. Meanwhile, you may have become so good at putting your emotions aside in certain situations that it’s hard to reconnect with them. This is when the old tools no longer suffice.
The "somewhat OCD" tendencies we pride ourselves on, or rather, the “Nervous Energy” we possess, can become mismanaged, and lead us down a rabbit hole of excessive self-criticism, anxiety, and pessimism. In Nervous Energy, Dr. Chloe Carmichael outlines nine tools with step-by-step instructions that can help you harness your Nervous Energy in order to live a more productive and fulfilling life. If managed correctly, the nervous energy that some people label as anxiety can actually be a source of stimulation, productivity, and fulfillment—and Dr. Chloe Carmichael has tried and tested methods for making this happen.
If you've ever felt a sense of excess energy that you didn't quite know how to direct or felt that your creativity and motivation was being drained by constant analysis paralysis, Nervous Energy is for you.
My husband is currently making me NUTS over our "celebrate his retirement" vacation - we have changed the destination five times now due to border closures and COVID19 hotspots. Or should I say I HAVE CHANGED the vacation five times and he is stressing when there are still weeks and weeks before we go about what/where/when/why/who AND how. (I keep saying "I am not taking on your stress!"). But by reading this book I kind of understand his quirks - but I am not sure if the suggestions here would work for him. At all or ever.
This is more of a book for millennials and said ilk - people who constantly analyze themselves and forget to live their lives. (my one sister would throw in the word "Aquarians" as they tend to spend so much time analyzing themselves that they forget to live their lives!) It really annoyed me that the repetition of "Dr. Chloe Carmichael" was used twice in the description - I would have had more respect if it was just "Dr. Carmichael", if she was an MD, if she did not have a website named drchloe.com and if she spent less time on camera on TV.
If the description of the book appeals to you, by all means, read it - it just didn't appeal to the grown-up woman who prefers people who don't go as far as saying she "works with New York City’s top executives," and then lists diets two paragraphs later along with all her social media channels on a webpage. (I cannot possibly take her seriously!)
As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🌪️🌪️
Rating: it was ok
I was very excited to start this book and was thoroughly engrossed in the first 39 pages. Finally, I thought, a self-help book that really understands me. I am a high functioning person who, like everybody else, has my own mental and emotional challenges. Those challenges act as both my strength and my weakness.
The pitfall I find with many self-help books is that they would be better off as a 1000 word article. In most books in this genre, the author has a very succinct point to make or process to describe, but for the sake of creating a book they belabor the description so much it makes me want to poke my eyes out.
The fact that it’s also done in this book made me take a 180 after the first thirty pages. At third I thought the author new her audience. And then as I got into the endless description of slow mindful breathing, I realized that either the author didn’t know the audience (high functioning people don’t need 30 pages to understand mindful breathing) or I’m not the audience.
The book has really good points and I admire Dr. Chloe for all she has done, but the book just got more frustrating to me the longer it went on.
Does that mean her techniques are bad and her information does not have value? Heck no! She’s got good ideas on how driven, high functioning people can quiet their minds and focus on the goals. All I’m saying is that the presentation of these techniques is probably better in a different format than a book. Webinars might be good. White papers.
But alas, Dr Chloe is a very smart and very driven person. The book, as a result, seems more a tool for her than one for me.
Rating: liked it
I chose this bool because I recognized myself in the author's description of high-functioning people who acknowledge that their anxiety leads to a declining life quality, and they wish to do something about it. I appreciated how the author gives several techniques right off the bat to help readers gain control of their anxiety and the nervous energy that often results. However, I eventually found the writing very repetitive and thought this might have been better as an article than a book.
My other qualm about this book was how much bold print there was. The author seemed to want to hammer home what they wanted the reader to pay attention to instead of letting the reader draw their own conclusions based on what they personally needed to get out of the book. When multiple lines per page are bolded, it takes me out of the flow of reading. When everything is important, nothing is important.
Rating: liked it
Thank you NetGalley for an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Nervous Energy is a practical guide to dealing with anxiety for high functioning people. Dr. Chloe Carmichael provides nine tools to help deal with anxiety and nervous energy for the over-thinkers of the world. These nine tools make it so you can use that excess energy to harness it and use it for good. Each tool has its own chapter that contains a step-by-step guide to help you practice the tool and then a short vignette about one of her patients who found success with this tool.
Dr. Carmicheal's patients are high functioning, successful people in New York. They have immense privilege and might have lives/situations that the average reader just can't relate to but with the guides, it's fairly easy to find ways to utilize the tools in your own life.
Rating: really liked it
I felt this book got a lot right, and I love the use of bold font for the important points. This book actually covers a lot of topics, many of which have whole books devoted to them.The intro makes it seem like the book is for people who struggle to plan or handle open-ended problems, but I decided it's also for people who just tend to over-correct. Though not every statement will apply to you, there were enough that I felt, "yes, that is me". The situation that most spoke to me was the story of a person who kept waffling between two strategies for dating, trying to find the right balance between being flexible and open and being firm in her desires and values. I identified with this rush to find the right strategy from the get go and worrying more about whether someone likes me than whether I like them.
I've read a lot of self-help books and engaged in different behavioral therapies, and was surprised to find some new techniques here. Techniques that weren't new to me were techniques that helped me in the past, such as metacognition, perfectionism and cognitive re-framing. Chapter 5 deals with perfectionism and provides suggestions that are reminiscent of self-compassion - don't skip it!
I like that the author presents the book and techniques more as a reference from which you choose what works best for you in that moment. In chapter 3, she introduces a menu of techniques that she provides to her clients, and in chapter 4, she provides three example people and which techniques they might select.
The three example people and their recommended technique "starting points" were useful to help me think through which techniques to apply. None of the people were a perfect fit. Reading the examples, I was able to see which techniques were a fit and why and say yes, that makes sense for me, or no, that isn't my issue. For example, mind maps, I love mind maps and use them all the time because they just fit the way I already think.
My personality is more of the endless planner, always looking to increase efficiency, making this faster and more effective, getting to the essence of the problem and continuously improving. I make a good plan and I love planning and organizing and strategizing whether it's studying a language, playing a game, or completing a project. However, I am always second-guessing my plan, and I haven't gotten used to waiting years for fruition. One could brush that off as being a millennial, but women and minorities often are criticized for not having results or their results not being enough. So, I've absorbed that criticism over time.
I started with the zone of control, the mental short-list, the to-do list with emotions, and worry time. I've created a worry-agenda before (really a parking lot of negative thoughts to make myself not get distracted at work), and I can tell you it is fabulous. However, I'd never made worry time before. The to do list with emotions is also very helpful for thinking through procrastination or breaking up a task, but I can also see it feeding endless revisions of plans.
The author also welcomed readers to contact her at the end. I'm curious to see what happens.
My only criticisms are that there is maybe a little too much personal exposition and I didn't like the use of generalizations, especially in the first two chapters. However, this type of book is more about the demonstrations and the techniques.
It is also very very easy to navigate and to skim or skip sections or anecdotes.
I received an advanced copy via Netgalley in return for my honest review and feedback.
Rating: it was amazing
First of all, thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Publishing Group and author Dr. Chloe Carmichael for an ARC of this book. I am grateful!
I have to come out front that this book is very deep and triggering. Not in a bad way but in an incisive manner. It took me almost a month to read because it definitely did hit some sore areas within me. Maybe those areas needed hitting?
The author makes good use of her therapist training and vignettes of her (mostly) real patients and how their experiences relate to this book. "Sarah" was especially memorable as was Appalachian Jack. I'm sure each of the characters she places strategically in this book will hit on one or more issues for the reader, hence probably a warning that this book could be triggering.
At the end of the day, Dr. Carmichael does state that you take what you need from this book and leave the rest. She comes to you with the full knowledge that some parts might help you and others might not. Also, she gives helpful advice on how to choose the right therapist that suits your needs or quirks. That type of voice is unique amongst authors.
Again, it would have been a faster read if it wasn't so personal, but this book definitely is. Kudos for a fine book delving into so much more than just one's "Nervous Energy."
Rating: really liked it
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s press for this free electronic ARC in exchange for my honest review.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️If you are a type "A" person, a perfectionist, or someone in a leadership position who experiences anxiety, then Nervous Energy by Dr. Chloe Carmichael might a good fit book for you. As a type "A" person myself, I found many of the anecdotes and the methods for calming my anxiety to be novel, yet attainable. I even found myself taking notes, so I could remember and practice some of technique that are shared by Dr. Carmichael. (I shared a few tips with my educator colleague and both agreed they were great methods for dealing with stress). We often don't realize that someone who is high functioning can feel deep anxiety. Some of the focused material delved on managing your breathing, narrowing your "Zone of Control," and looking at patterns that can cause hiccups in your daily life routines. I think the addition of graphics or small images to illustrate the methods would enhance the material even more. Overall, I enjoyed this selection and would definitely recommend to others.
Rating: it was amazing
This ARC came along at just the right time for me! The book isn't out till March, but if you have access to Edelweiss, I highly recommend checking it out. This will be a must-buy for my home collection and for my library. Carmichael focuses specifically on high-functioning people (she explains the terminology of "functioning" more effectively than I can - essentially, people who are goal-oriented with a growth mindset). The techniques for dealing with anxiety in a very specific way were so helpful. Also, as a mindfulness practitioner, I appreciated the use of mindfulness techniques integrated into the book. I took plenty of notes and will be practicing these to manage my anxiety.
Rating: it was amazing
This is a great guide for so many in this age of anxiety. I love the approach Carmichael has outlined and feel like this could be beneficial to those who struggle with their anxiety, as well as those who are "high-functioning" but still know their anxiety is holding them back ,
Many thanks to St. Martin's Essentials and NetGalley for the advance copy.
Rating: really liked it
I think that if people read this book, they should read the description along with it. I couldn't follow this book. i did try though,m but after going to chapter 5 i gave up . This book wasn't for me, I couldn't follow it for some reason. I am grateful that Netgalley let me read this in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: really liked it
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced e-copy of Nervous Energy by Chloe Carmichael!!!
This is a good read for someone that has high functioning anxiety. Lots of tips and ways to try and help deal with it. A good read for anyone with or without anxiety.
Rating: it was amazing
I really liked this book. Full review will be up later this week on my blog, www.therapybooknook.com/blog.