“Choices and Illusions” by Eldon Taylor

An Infomercial Posing as a Self-Help Book

I was given a free copy of this book so that I could write this review. Yeah, I know people usually tack that disclaimer on at the bottom. But I’m starting out with it to demonstrate that I was approached by the usual channels to do a legitimate review of what I assumed was a legitimate book. It turns out such is not the case. And that’s too bad, because for the first bit, it is a pretty good self-help book.

Eldon Taylor goes to a great deal of time and trouble to prove to us that what we think we see and know is not what is real. Subliminal perception gives us information we don’t know we‘re getting, and defence mechanisms cause us to reinterpret that information in non-rational ways. Fair enough.

We have been receiving this information since we were born, and our subconscious minds have been tabulating it. So we are living our lives based on a huge store of information that our conscious mind isn’t aware of. Which keeps us neatly in our little boxes, inhibits success and keeps us from making truly rational decisions. So far I am agreeing.

For a lot of the book Taylor treads the line between science and pseudo-science, but it’s interesting stuff, and what I enjoyed most about the read. The problem is that the information is not organized with very clear objectives, jumping from digression to digression until we’re not sure where we are, leaving us without a clear idea of why the author is giving us this information. It also has an exceptionally high vocabulary level, with a great deal of scientific jargon. Later I was to find out why:

He Doesn’t Really Care.

Because we get all the way to Chapter 12 before the gloves come off. This chapter is basically an infomercial disguised as an interview, complete with case histories and claims (including breast enlargement and a cure for Multiple Sclerosis), with a bobble-head interviewer asking tough questions like, “And how did our program help your patients have success, Doctor?” This rapidly segues into a list of blatant testimonials. Not what I signed up for.

This book contains some good ideas, most of them basic Christian beliefs you could get at your local church on Sunday. I particularly noted the concept that forgiving people means you stop blaming them, so you can take responsibility for your own life and get on with it. Good stuff.

Unfortunately the book’s main objective is to sell Dr. Taylor’s subliminal teaching programs. Which leads me to the suspicion that the text is riddled with subliminals. How do I know? They’re subliminal. As the Escher drawing illustrates, Taylor is using the techniques he talks about to persuade us to not fall for the manipulations he talks about, and at the end he is asking us to do exactly the opposite, and buy his sales pitch. One point for great irony, anyway.

I am giving this work two stars because it has good information that we can use to improve our lives. It’s just that if you’re already strong enough to resist Dr.Taylor’s hard sell in Chapter 12, you probably don’t need the book.

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)


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