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The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver    by Robert Biswas-Diener Amazon.com order for
Courage Quotient
by Robert Biswas-Diener
Order:  USA  Can
John Wiley & Sons, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

'Courage contains two primary internal elements: the willingness to act and the ability to control fear,' writes Robert Biswas-Diener. 'When you can successfully curb your fears and boost your ability to take action, you are better able to live a full and virtuous life. You are more likely to face challenges with grace, connect with and inspire others, and be a force for good.'

The display of courage has been the centerpiece of many works of literature and movies. Everyone has an idea of what constitutes a courageous act, yet few, if any, individuals have spent a lot of time mulling over if this is a quality that be actually learned or strengthened.

One misconception that the author tries to dispel is that courage is something you're either born with or you're not. Biswas-Diener believes that courage is more about managing fear rather than not feeling it. In this book he contends that everyone, at one time or another, exhibits bravery.

Drawing on original research and his own interviews with people from various cultures, Biswas-Diener describes different types of bravery. He then discusses how the reader can raise his or her own courage quotient and offers strategies for managing fear and boosting the willingness to act in a stressful or dangerous situation.

Numerous anecdotes coupled with a fluid, conversational tone make this a very readable book. The author follows up his analysis with clear descriptions of the steps needed to learn and strengthen the courage muscle.

Once you have absorbed all Biswas-Diener has to say, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that situations you once dreaded, such as speaking in front of a group or dealing with an obnoxious, dominating work- mate, are no longer stress filled situations.

'You can learn courage,' Biswas-Diener assures the reader. 'You may not be able to transform from a wallflower to a social butterfly, or change from a Nervous Nelly into a Dashing Denice, but you can improve. The notion of personal courage overcoming a private fear reframes bravery.'

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