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A Reading List For Recovery


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#1 Rhythm

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 12:24 PM

Here are some books that I have found very helpful:

Becoming Attached
by Robert Karen, PhD.

About 440 pages. This book is about attachment theory, which does have a verified, scientific basis in psychology. The author begins the book with the history of psychoanalysis and brings the reader to the initial research in attachment theory, up to modern scientific studies and applications in psychotherapy.

Them and Us: Cult Thinking and the Terrorist Threat
by Arthur J. Deikman, M.D.

About 240 pages, well written with brilliant and compassionate insights into how cults operate. This is the best book on the subject of cults that I am aware of.

Violent Criminal Acts and Actors Revisited
by Lonnie Athens, PhD.

About 160 pages. Athens' writing style is concise. Athens did a great deal of practical research by interviewing perpetrators of violent crime, all of which is verifiable. The source of violent crime is not "engrams" or "evil purposes".

Virus of the Mind
by Richard Brodie

About 230 pages. Written in a colloquial style for the layman. This book is an introduction to Memetic Psychology and is a cutting edge perspective on a major factor in the behavior of complex life forms. A Meme is a basic cultural idea that is transmitted from one individual to another. The biological analogue of the meme is the gene. The meme construct aligns a great deal of data on thought, emotion and behavior. I would state that memetic psychology obsoletes anything scientology ever had to offer.

#2 Rhythm

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 03:43 PM

Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage, Third Edition
by Paul Ekman, PhD.

386 pages.
I read the second edition of this book and I can state that the technology Ekman and others have developed in deception detection has worked pretty well for me.
In my experience, Hubbard's "Chart of Human Evaluation" is just not factual. One cannot detect the sincerity or honesty of anyone by trying to peg them on Hubbard's tone scale. Likely, that stuff was his own fabrication. Ekman's work is based on real scientific research in the forensic social sciences. It's the real deal and I highly recommend it.

#3 Rhythm

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 06:15 PM

How to Lie with Statistics
by Darrell Huff

144 pages
Statistics, commonly known as "Stats" in scientology, are extremely important. Stats are used to evaluate staff members' productivity and motives. Stats are used to reward or punish staff and public, along with the whims of whoever is in charge.
Not only can statistics portray a false representation of a situation, but the statistics can measure an activity that is irrelevant or ultimately destructive. The trends of reliably established statistics can also be misread. While statistics do have valid and constructive uses, there are many opportunities for statistics to be misused.
Huff's book is written in laymen's language and makes the subject of statistics easy to understand. This is one of the books that helped me see the endemic fraud in scientology that is used to brainwash public and staff, and coerce staff members on a weekly basis. Remember Thursday at 2:00 p.m.?

#4 Rhythm

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 02:02 PM

Without Conscience, the disturbing world of the psychopaths among us
by Robert D. Hare, PhD.

236 pages
Forensic psychologist Robert Hare has done extensive research into an extreme anti-social personality type known as a psychopath. This book, which is written for the layman, explains the characteristics of a psychopath, some real life examples, and how to deal with such people. The characteristics of a psychopath are not the same as Hubbard's "suppressive person", which Hubbard evidently fabricated out of his own mentally disturbed experience.
I have found this book useful in identifying those with anti-social personality characteristics, most of whom are not psychopaths. I have also been able to understand my experience with the very few psychopaths I have known in my own life.

#5 Rhythm

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 09:26 PM

Combatting Cult Mind Control
by Steven Hassan

256 pages
I don't think that this is the first book you should read as you recover from scientology, as some external perspective is necessary to understand the "cult identity" a person can be conditioned into after joining a cult. Even though Steve Hassan's personal experience is from the Unification Church, I think his observations and therapeutic approach are accurate about cults in general. This would explain why he is vilified by OSA, organized scientology's dirty tricks, lawsuit, and propaganda operation.

#6 Rhythm

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 02:30 PM

Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say
by Douglas Rushkoff

304 pages
Coercion is a common and major factor in methods of cult mind control. Rushkoff's work explains coercive methods clearly with many examples from the media and real life. I read this book while I was still in scientology and it helped me to look outside the cult perspective. Douglas Rushkoff is one of the folks I credit with freeing my mind from Hubbardian brainwashing.

#7 Rhythm

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 08:14 PM

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely

Revised and Expanded Edition
329 pages

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of behavioral economics at Duke University. This book is based on published, peer-reviewed research in the social sciences, and was written while he was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton University.
The book subtitle makes a statement of the content of this book from the perspective of behavioral economics (BE). BE is an interdisciplinary subject that brings together economics, sociology, psychology, and philosophy.
How is this relevant to cults in general or scientology in particular?
Our thoughts and actions are not always rational, thus, our irrationalities can be exploited if those are predictable.
And they often are. It seems that L. Ron Hubbard had an intuitive knowledge of many common irrationalities, such as, how demand can be created by a high price, how "free" can be a trap, how social and market norms can be used to manipulate, how we overvalue what is ours, and how expectations can be used to manipulate.
The appendices have a very enlightening chapter on the causes of the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
I highly recommend this book. It is helpful for understanding scientology, but even more importantly, it illuminates why we make irrational decisions in both social and commercial situations.
If we better understand our irrationalities, we can overcome them.

#8 Rhythm

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 08:52 PM

Language Thought and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf
edited by John B. Carroll, MIT Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 276 pages

I found several of the articles in this book as very helpful in understanding the role that a particular language plays in constraining and directing thought.
Whorf and his mentor, Edward Sapir, began the modern school of "Linguistic Relativity", a contrast to Noam Chomsky's school of linguistic universalism.
While Whorf may have taken his beliefs in linguistic relativity beyond where those were factually applicable, many of his ideas received confirmation in the 1980's and 1990's, summarized in several books by John A. Lucy.
Our analysis and evaluation of perceptions become shaped by the language we use on those perceptions, for better or worse.

#9 Rhythm

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:21 PM

The Lucifer Effect
by Philip Zimbardo, PhD
The paperback is published by Random House and is 488 pages long less the index. Some may attribute gullibility to cult members for their involvement in totalitarian groups. In fact, often there does not exist evidence to support that accusation. Zimbardo, who is a prominent social psychologist, shows that systemic and situational forces can overrule individual predispositions that result in decent people doing bad things. Read this book and find out his track on this research beginning with the Stanford Prison Experiment. After reading this, I take a much broader view on influence knowing that situations and systems can profoundly influence behavior, emotions and attitudes for better or worse.

#10 Rhythm

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:05 PM

The Time Paradox
By Philip Zimbardo, Phd. and John Boyd, Phd.

Published by the Free Press in softcover at about 330 pages. This book is based on published, peer-reviewed research in the field of social psychology into the relationship between a person's perspectives on time and their thoughts and behaviors. Six time perspectives have been identified in Western culture: Past, negative and positive. Present, fatalistic and hedonistic. Future and Transcendental Future. Every person has particular attitudes of time that indicate particular focuses on those time perspectives. That profile indicates how we view ourselves, others and how we treat ourselves and others accordingly.
The authors have developed two time perspective surveys: The Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory and the Transcendental Time Perspective Inventory which you can do online at http://www.thetimeparadox.com/surveys/
I suggest you do both and record your scores before reading the book. Then, after you have read the book and done the suggested improvement exercises, do those surveys again and compare your scores.
Highly recommended for recovery from scientology.

#11 Rhythm

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:48 PM

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition
by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD.
280 pages, Harper-Collins Business

Cialdini originally published this book 2 years prior to Hubbard's death, but in 1984, L. Ron the O.T. was busy taking drugs and hollering at "body thetans". He did not have sufficient mental faculties to study this book. Hubbard did have knowledge of how to manipulate groups of people, all of which Cialdini documents in his very well-written and researched book. Whether you want to deconstruct your experiences in scientology or you just want to immunize yourself against future attempts at manipulation, I strongly recommend reading this book.

#12 Rhythm

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 08:01 PM

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
by David D. Burns, M.D.
691 pages, Harper Health

First of all, the author of this book is, in Hubbard's parlance, "a psych", that is, a psychiatrist. Scientologists have been conditioned to regard psychiatrists as evil and view them contemptuously. One of the advantages of not being a scientologist is that you do not have to condescend and deny that literature by psychologists and psychiatrists have value. The author wrote this book in a style for the general public with lots of clinically proven information on how to think logically and improve your level of happiness.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT, was developed in the 1970's by a merger of Cognitive Therapy and Behavioral Therapy. Cognitions precede emotions and behavior, thus if you think with cognitive errors, you will create inappropriate emotions and behavior. In CBT, the client recognizes their cognitive distortions and corrects them. By doing this, erroneous thoughts become less and less frequent, resulting in less illogical emotions and behaviors. Therapists have used CBT for successfully treating depression (which Hubbard never recognized as a mental illness), anxiety disorders, psychosis, personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse disorders. The author used CBT extensively and successfully in his practice, which he advocates for self-help in this book. I think that is an excellent feature of CBT in that you can learn to use the process on yourself.
David Burns discusses some experiences with anonymized patients in this book. I gained an appreciation for the work of psychiatrists in treating those who are severely mentally disturbed, which requires tolerance, patience, and perseverance far beyond what Hubbard allowed in his organizations. Indeed, Hubbard's policies forbid a scientology organization to audit those whose mental illness made other people uncomfortable. His concern seemed to be that such people would get worse or could not be helped by dianetics and scientology. I find it ironic that Hubbard promoted scientology as the exclusive answer to life's upsets, but prohibited its use to help those most badly afflicted. (If the real success rates of Narconon indicate its use on those with substance abuse disorders, then it fails to cure addictions most of the time.)
I found CBT methods described in this book improved my own decisions and emotions. If there is one self-help book I would recommend to an ex-scientologist, it is this one.

#13 Alanzo

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:21 PM

I find it ironic that Hubbard promoted scientology as the exclusive answer to life's upsets, but prohibited its use to help those most badly afflicted.

I find it more than ironic, I find it telling.

I have ordered this book and will comment on what I find as a I read it,

Thanks for the recommendation.




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