Book Review: The Tools—5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower

The tools book

The past year has held immeasurable change. At least that's the case for me and for many of my friends and family. I've alluded to my transition here on the blog but haven't delved into specifics, largely because I'm still processing things in my head and deciding what I feel comfortable sharing. But one aspect I definitely feel okay talking about? Resources that have helped me, including The Tools—an accessible, remarkable book that two wise and witty therapists wrote after years of client practice.     

Photo memories

I first became aware of authors Phil Stutz and Barry Michels a year ago and was struck by how useful and actionable the information in their book is. This isn't vague psychology. This is down and dirty 'do this to get out of your rut' stuff. When they asked me recently participate in their series of podcasts, I enthusiastically did so. The guys talked with me about managing anxiety and about asking the big questions. It was scary to open up, especially as I knew I was being recorded, but it felt good too. After all, The Tools is about moving forward, and that's all any of us can keep doing, right?   

P.S. Any reads you recommend for challenging times? Some other books that I've turned to this year include Daring Greatly, When Things Fall Apart, and pretty much anything by Harriet Lerner

  • Lynn Byrne

    Hi Anne,
    I am currently reading The Creativity Cure by Drs. Carrie and Aalton Barron.
    It also has sound advice to help overcome obstacles and improving daily life.
    Look for a complete review on my blog this summer,
    Happy 4th!
    Kind regards,

  • Uncle Beefy

    I just got this book, Anne, and hoping for a little light to shine in my own transition processing. Glad to hear your take and personal recommendation. Will be sure to check out the podcasts, too.
    Curious about “Daring Greatly” also but papa gotta pace himself.

  • Pat Schneider

    I wasn’t aware of this book and will look at it the next time I’m in a bookstore. However, after reading your blog, I think you halready have the “tools” to achieve what you want. Obviously, I don’t know what has been happening in your life and I don’t need to know. What I do know, as a 64 year-old retiree, is that we are mistaken when we think there are certain “paths” we should take. Life is meant to be surprising and we generally know what we want if we only listen to ourselves.

  • FanDeMode

    Ditto on a year of changes. Thanks for the tip- I’ll definitely add this to the book list!

  • Liesl Morris

    Thanks for the recommendation. I marched (virtually) straight over to the iTunes store and bought myself an iPad copy. Always nice to get inspiration/motivation tips from the blogs I read daily.

  • Becky

    Good luck on your journey through this transition in your life. I went through my transition two years, which was just like yours. Two books that greatly helped me were “Inspiration: Your Greatest Calling” by Wayne Dyer and “Finding Your Way in The Wild New World” by Martha Beck. You are obviously a strong woman. Like Richard Dreyfus says in “What About Bob”… “baby steps”.!!!

  • Viv

    Thanks for the book recommendations! I wish I had known about this when I was going through some major life upheaval a few years ago (AKA my Saturn return.) But I know life is always throwing curve balls, so any helpful voices of guidance are always welcome along the way. :)

  • Rebecca

    I just finished Daring Greatly, and am constantly reminding myself that vulnerability = strength. Great book. I’m eager to read The Tools! Thanks for the recommendation, adding it to my shopping cart now.

  • Rebcah

    Since reading this post, I have started the book and listened to almost all of the podcast episodes.
    I’m hopeful I’ll be able to use the tools to distance myself from the constant worry and fear that absolutely permeates (and mostly kills) my work as an artist.
    Thank you so much for opening up — and for the recommendation!