Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method For Getting Out Of Your Own Way by Rick Carson

Book Review Aug 10, 2020

My review

4/5 stars

I downloaded this book to help with my anxiety, but what I found was something that applies to a much-wider remit - day-to-day life. It's based on the premise that the best way to learn to deal with the inner critic in your head is to give it a personality and an identity.

What I enjoyed most about the book was the emphasis that was placed on not engaging with the Gremlin in your head. The repetition of the "simply notice" mantra really struck a chord with me. The book has a gentle tone - it never feels like a lecture, just a nice chat with someone who knows what they're talking about; the use of second person throughout really helps make it feel personal and cosy. The humour throughout helps give a little insight into one of the main takeaways from the book - don't take any of it too seriously.

I've done a fair bit of reading in this area, but this book has helped me to understand how better to put some distance between me and the thoughts in my head. It's no big secret - the answer is mindfulness - by the author has described it in a way that strips back the big scary labels and makes it feel more accessible (thus avoiding another chance for the Gremlin to jump in with something counterproductive). I also appreciate the honesty of this book - this isn't a quick-fix methodology, but something that you have to spend a lifetime practicing.
The pictures in the book helped to give a sense of the author's approach to the topic - lighthearted and slightly sarcastic - but the fact that they didn't match up with anything I had ever envisaged my inner voice to look like, I found them a little distracting from the message of the book.

I like the simplicity of how the message was communicated and this is a book that I'll be revisiting for helpful tips over the years I'm sure.

Book blurb

This is a completely updated edition of the 1983 classic that introduced a powerful method for gaining freedom from self-defeating behaviors and beliefs. Rick Carson, creator of the renowned Gremlin-Taming™ Method, has revised the book to include fresh interactive activities, real-life vignettes we can all identify with, and new loathsome gremlins ripe for taming. Carson blends his laid-back style, Taoist wisdom, the Zen Theory of Change, and sound psychology in an easy-to-understand, unique, and practical system for banishing the nemesis within. Among the things you will learn are:

  • Techniques for getting a sliver of light between the natural you and the monster of your mind.
  • The extraordinary power of simply noticing and playing with options.
  • Six keys to maintaining emotional balance amid upheaval.


You can buy the book here now. It was reissued by William Morrow Paperbacks.

If you want to find out more about Gremlin Taming or learn more about the author, you can check out his website, his Twitter or his Goodreads page.