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Unlimited Power

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

UNLIMITED POWER is primarily an explication of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), developed in the 1970’s through a study of the techniques of certain outstanding hypnotists and psychotherapists. Essentially, NLP is a modernized form of hypnosis--or self-hypnosis, depending on whether it is used to motivate others or one’s self. According to Robbins, “It teaches us how to direct not only our own states and behaviors, but also the states and behaviors of others. In short, it is the science of how to run your brain in an optimal way to produce the results you desire.”

Robbins emphasizes “modeling” as the secret of success. People always imitate others but rarely in a sustained or systematic way. Robbins maintains that we can develop desired abilities and character traits by scrutinizing people who possess them and imitating their behavior in various imaginative ways. We can also win trust and friendship by a related technique called “mirroring,” which is direct, face-to-face imitation.

Many of the ideas in this book have been utilized by successful people since ancient times. Reading UNLIMITED POWER, one keeps hearing echoes of such self-help classics as Dale Carnegie’s HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, Norman Vincent Peale’s THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, Napoleon Hill’s THINK AND GROW RICH, and Maxwell Maltz’s PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS. Robbins freely acknowledges his indebtedness to these and other thinkers, going all the way back to Virgil, Lao-tzu, and the Old Testament. His contribution is providing a syllabus, “a systematic framework for directing our own brain.”

Robbins explains this eclectic discipline in an easygoing style, but there is much to absorb. Unlike many self-help books, it contains more than a few simple slogans padded with anecdotes; but it is worth rereading. Robbins has received much recent publicity by walking barefoot over hot coals to demonstrate the power of mind over body. He comes across as a dedicated, idealistic, and brilliant young man; it is impossible to read his book without absorbing some of his dynamic enthusiasm.