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Summary

Legions of self-help authors rightly urge personal development as the key to happiness, but they typically fail to focus on its most important objective: hardiness. Though that which doesn't kill us can make us stronger, as Nietzsche tells us, few authors today offer any insight into just how to springboard from adversity to strength.

It doesn't just happen automatically, and it takes practice. New scientific research suggests that resilience isn't something with which only a fortunate few of us have been born, but rather something we can all take specific action to develop. To build strength out of adversity, we need a catalyst. What we need, according to Dr. Alex Lickerman, is wisdom - wisdom that adversity has the potential to teach us.

Lickerman's underlying premise is that our ability to control what happens to us in life may be limited, but we have the ability to establish a life-state to surmount the suffering life brings us. The Undefeated Mind distills the wisdom we need to create true resilience into nine core principles, including:

  • A new definition of victory and its relevance to happiness
  • The concept of the changing of poison into medicine
  • A way to view prayer as a vow we make to ourselves.
  • A method of setting expectations that enhances our ability to endure disappointment and minimizes the likelihood of quitting
  • An approach to taking personal responsibility and moral action that enhances resilience
  • A process for managing pain - both physical and emotional - that enables us to push through obstacles that might otherwise prevent us from attaining our goals
  • A method of leveraging our relationships with others that helps us manifest our strongest selves

Through stories of patients who have used these principles to overcome suffering caused by unemployment, unwanted weight gain, addiction, rejection, chronic pain, retirement, illness, loss, and even death, Dr. Lickerman shows how we too can make these principles function within our own lives, enabling us to develop for ourselves the resilience we need to achieve indestructible happiness. At its core, The Undefeated Mind urges us to stop hoping for easy lives and focus instead on cultivating the inner strength we need to enjoy the difficult lives we all have.

©2012 Alex Lickerman (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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The Latest Neuropsychology in Well Told Tales

Well this book proved to be a delight and a surprise. I live with a bunch of chronic health conditions and enjoy listening to quite a few Buddhist teachers - I basically have to keep re-selling myself the value in sticking with mindfulness. Not being able to get out to practice with others, books are great - and they are a warm hearted alternative to the news while cooking or otherwise stuck in the house.

The author of this book is a Nichiren Buddhist and they chant, rather than do the mindfulness and compassion exercises that I practice. I initially thought, oh, this won't be so helpful in terms of keeping me motivated. Boy was I wrong. I'm really glad I gave the book a chance and kept listening. The guy is also an excellent doctor and a fantastic story teller.

Each chapter outlines a type of challenge and a 'solution' to the challenge. The stories are told as vignettes - a patient comes in and we get into a good story about what ails him and how the author and patient move towards a resolution. The stories are peppered with the latest in evidence based psychology research as well as the latest physical treatments. The author tells a good tale against himself when it's relevant, as in admitting to subconsciously withdrawing from a patient when chronic pain treatment failed.

Although the themes for resilience are as old as time, such as grieving, acceptance, reframing, this book provides a fresh take. Combining the latest science with nichiren philosophy and personal warmth and honesty creates an engaging listen, and real hope and encouragement from the stories of success as other people overcome hardship and despair. I really value this book as I've already had new information, from the professionals treating someone with chronic pain, that are entirely original to me and have helped give me confidence and energy to move forward.

I have found the narration a little too fast at times and have had to use the rewind button a lot. Not too much of a problem though, and common to me in books heavy on fact.

This book is worth it's weight in gold to me, the style and the telling really suit and facts bound up in stories are really helping me to absorb the material. This is one that I'll keep coming back to.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 15-07-15

Highly recommend

Really well put together and thought out audiobook. Fantastic examples of potential obstacles that life can sometimes throw our way and how we can turn experiences into strengths or "poison into medicine". Having had a pretty rough year having dealt with several issues all at once I have found this book really helpful

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Stick with it!

The 2nd half of the book has some gems of information but you have to get there. The narrator was not my cup of tea but I got some really good insights from this book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Practical and powerful!

Really great perspective of view from the author about life and problems that we as humans face. I like the stories and as well his insight.

I would recommend this book.

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  • Sigurd
  • 05-08-14

Excellent Book

Would you listen to The Undefeated Mind again? Why?

Yes. The book contains many Gold Nuggets based on scientific research as well as best therapeutic practice. I am a psychologist and hypnotherapist and many of the techniques and theories Dr. Lickerman uses in his practice is very relevant to my private practice as well. Thank you Dr. Alex Lickerman for writing this book. Cand Psychol Sigurd Stubsjøen

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin McConnell
  • 26-08-15

Should have actually read it!

Interesting information and certainly inspiring. Narrator clearly was not inspired. Monotone droning. Was difficult to listen to.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Oso Harris
  • 29-06-13

Practical ideas for overcoming life's difficulties

What did you love best about The Undefeated Mind?

The practical, non-dogmatic approach based on Buddhist principles and current scientific understanding of the mind.

What other book might you compare The Undefeated Mind to and why?

I was motivated to read the works of Frankl cited by this book.

What about Phil Holland’s performance did you like?

Timing and voice were very nice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, and over and over again.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • kisa
  • 23-04-13

Not what I expected but...

If you could sum up The Undefeated Mind in three words, what would they be?

I downloaded this book because after ordering a bunch of books on amazon on fitness and crossfit this book was recommended to me. So I guess I was expecting it to be a book about learning how to condition your mind to be tuff, in the sense of pushing your self towards goals and through really hard work outs or even pain or injury. Instead it ended up being a book more broad in nature, focused more on everyday problems and a few life changing type events.

What did you like best about this story?

There was a section on "finding your mission" that I liked and also a section on "negative thoughts" that have stuck with me on almost a daily basis.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The narrator delivery is a bit...i dont know how to explain it...it seems to lack almost any emotion. Not as bad as a computerized voice...but sometimes it seemed close.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to this book on my lunch hours while taking walks.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • "Susan"
  • 16-09-15

Exceptional book!

The content of this book is exceptional. The author blends his own wisdom, a firm grasp of psychology as well as his philosophical roots in Buddhist thought to produce a truly helpful self help book. I have listened to hundreds of these books, yet this is the first review I've felt moved to write. If you are a sensitive person, relate to Buddhist thinking, and are looking for a way to increase your own resilience, I recommend this book. While the narrator does a very nice job, I would have preferred a female voice.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve Houghton
  • 23-02-15

Outstanding in every way

I have now listened to this twice. Both times I have drawn inspiration and courage to persevere. Even more important I have found concrete actions I can implement. Thank you Dr. Lickerman!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-08-17

Title is a bit misleading

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

A Buddhist or someone in search of religion.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Undefeated Mind?

None because I could not read all of it

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Its not the narrator but the author.

Any additional comments?

The science in this book is based on nicheren buddhism. I am not against religion but readers should have been forewarned that this book is about Buddhism.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jimmy eady
  • 10-02-16

great audio

This is great audio book and very inspiring! I would definitely recommend this to anyone struggling to overcome a personal challenge.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • none
  • 14-07-15

Thoroughly enjoyable with helpful suggestions that I will or have already tried

Highly recommend this book for entertainment and practical advice. Narration is impeccable. Worthwhile read for those who examine their lives to become enlightened

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua M.
  • 27-06-15

Never be defeated.

Great ideas and stories on how and why people overcome adversity. It was a moving, rewarding, and eye opening book. I would recommend this to anyone feeling down and out in or with their lives. We have the ability to change and find happiness even in the most difficult circumstances. Will definitely listen to again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful