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Understanding Ourselves and Others: Book Review

By Greg Cary - posted Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Recently, in the space of two days, Matthew Hayden and Jason Akermanis visited my Radio Program talking about their new books.

Two more different personalities would be hard to find but amongst their many differences they had one thing in common: a profound, abiding and enduring respect for Dr Phil Jauncey.

In his book, Jason (as is his way) talks candidly about his well-documented public and private dramas. He credits Dr Phil with helping him get through it all. Matthew did the same, acknowledging that, without Phil's understanding of who he was, a man and an athlete, his distinguished career could have been curtailed any number of times.


Those of us lucky enough to have followed Hayden's career at close quarters will recall the seemingly cavalier (but actually quite calculated and brilliant) attitude that initially demanded his selection in the Test team. We remember as well that in his early days at that level he went into his shell and was subsequently dropped. It was Jauncey who reminded Matty then - and throughout his career - of the qualities, physical and mental, that allowed him to reach the top level. These "flags" belong not just to the elite and it is here that Dr Phil Jauncey has a contribution to make in all our lives.

His two books - Managing yourself and others and Understanding ourselves and others - are powerful and effective companion pieces for anyone keen to better understand themselves, others … and the link between the two.

Moreover, they help us to make sense of why we do what we do, why others do what they do and how we might better chart our way through life's daily challenges.

I have known Phil many years and can speak personally of his gentle manner and wise counsel.  His talents have been accessed by most of our elite sports teams (and many leading businesses) over the last few decades and there is not a team, group or individual he has worked with that has not benefited from the experience.

In simple terms the likes of Leigh Matthews, Wayne Bennett and John Buchanan (to name a trio from a very long list) have all sung Phil's praises and benefited from his association with their teams.

In his own words, Phil explains that in Understanding ourselves and others "I focus on ways various experts have looked at our character development and reaction strategies. I also examine how we take in and retain information".


Phil covers plenty of fascinating territory here, ranging from what defines winners and losers' to the compelling chapters on "actions and reactions", "communication" and "how do we learn?".

Phil expands on his simple but profound theory based on "The power of Positive Doing". Norman Vincent Peale gave us The Power of Positive Thinking but Dr Phil has taken that initial idea into new territory, with powerful impact.

"I am convinced" he says "that thinking can be very hollow. I cannot stress enough the fact that successful people accept responsibility for their failure. The pain of failure must not be ignored because it stimulates change, which in turn lessens future discomfort"

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This review was prompted by the recent release of a completely revised edition of Understanding ourselves and others available through the publishers, CopyRight Publishing (Dr Phil is on the celebrity speaking circuit). A quick Google of his name brings up an impressive list of his activities and achievements - a living tribute to "the power of positive doing".

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About the Author

Greg Cary is one of Australia's most experienced and respected Talk broadcasters. His program is heard between 9-12 daily on 4BC Brisbane and stations all around Qld.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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