Friday, February 9, 2024

*Review* The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson


Genre: Self-Help
Published: January 1, 2009
Pages: 162

"For the last 20 years I've dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of self-care by teaching from my own experience," writes Cheryl Richardson. "In the past, I've sacrificed my health and my relationships for work, given to others at the expense of my own needs, and watched my dreams slip through the cracks of a busy life. As a result, I've learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to the madness. . . . From years of personal experience, as well as coaching great men and women, I've come to understand that selfishness leads to selflessness. When we care deeply for ourselves, we naturally begin to care for others - our families, our friends, our greater global community, and the environment - in a healthier and more effective way. We tell the truth. We make choices from love instead of guilt and obligation. And we soon realize that we're all connected and that our individual actions affect a greater whole."

This updated edition of Cheryl's best-selling handbook 
The Art of Extreme Self-Care brings her message home to readers with a new section about forming and running a successful support group, as well as updated resources so readers stay inspired and motivated. Her practical, action-oriented program outlines 12 strategies to transform your life one month at a time, each one challenging you to alter one behavior that's blocking your path. Chapters include "End the Legacy of Deprivation," "Find Your Passion," "The Absolute No List," and "Does That Anger Taste Good?" (Hint: it really doesn't.)

This is one of the rare books that I read for a reason other than winning it through a giveaway or receiving a review copy through Netgalley or the publisher. It was not a book that I picked up just because I wanted to improve myself though. I was considering joining a group of theoretically like-minded people wanting to meet and improve ourselves. The idea sounded intriguing because I'm a hot mess and could definitely use some work. But this book just isn't the one for me. 

A major issue I had with this book is that the advice comes from a place of serious privilege. Many of the suggestions for "extreme self-care" absolutely require disposable income. One of the examples given was a suggestion made to a coaching client to hire a maid service to clean the house once a week for the man's wife so that he could get laid more. And if you have the income to pull things like that off, great, but most of us do not, and there just weren't a lot of suggestions that don't require financial investment. 

Beyond that, a lot of the advice presumes that the reader has a large and reliable social group, a wide array of people to approach for different issues. Because "don't do this all alone!" And that's not bad advice when you have loads of local friends and family you can lean on. But for an introvert with three kind of close friends, I literally can't be leaning on my friends as much as is suggested in this book without becoming a serious burden for someone else. 

I was also bothered by how many of the resources were other works by the same author. It felt very self-serving to me because the idea really seems to be to go out and get those resources too to help with your extreme self-care, which would obviously lead to further lining the author's pockets. 

All that being said, I don't read a lot of self-help books, so I don't know if this is standard for the genre or not. But for me, this book was a 1.4632 out of 5 star read. It's real saving grace is that it was short and quick. - Katie 

Cheryl Richardson is the New York Times best-selling author of several books, including Take Time for Your LifeLife MakeoversStand Up for Your LifeThe Unmistakable Touch of GraceYou Can Create an Exceptional Life with Louise Hay, and Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife. Her work has been covered widely in the media including Good Morning AmericaThe Today ShowCBS This MorningUSA TodayGood Housekeeping, and O Magazine. Cheryl hosts an online community on Facebook at, and on Twitter and Instagram under username coachoncall. Visit her website at:

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