This book is to modern NLP what the discovery of Jesus' tomb with him, his wife, and his son still in it would be to modern Christianity!
I am not a newcomer to hypnosis or Neuro-linguistic Programming by any stretch of the imagination. I have taken NLP Practitioner, Master Prac, and Trainers Training and have done various other NLP and hypnosis trainings over the past decade. But more than that, I *USE* NLP on a daily basis, with myself, with those close to me, and with everyone I meet. NLP trainings, for some practical reason, are never complete; they tend to leave "holes" in the big picture for those attending the trainings (if they don't render you utterly psychotic in the process--some people just can't tolerate NLP-style training. By the time they find out they're one of those people, it's already too late and irreparable damage can be done. Trainings by the Society of NLP are the worst, by far). You are expected to go out into the "real world" and fill in those holes with actual experience. I still had a lot of holes that I hadn't been able to fill in. Until this book...
Heller studied NLP when it was still new, back in the 1970s. He got the *real skills* back when they were still readily available from the originators. Nowadays, it seems most of the best-known NLP trainers and experts are only interested in selling you on their next seminar rather than actually teaching you something you can use. God forbid you should actually learn something and no longer need them, you know.
I got more practical NLP knowledge from this book than I did from all of the NLP trainings I've attended *put together*. Heller doesn't have a "New Code of NLP" to sell, he's not trying to avoid having the uninitiated learn his "secret recipe," he's sincerely sharing what he has learned in a very entertaining, highly memorable style.
The lack of theory that another reviewer complained so bitterly about is typical of NLP and Erickson-style teaching. He teaches you without overtly teaching you. Instead of dry, boring examples of theoretical dogma, Heller tells you stories about real people with real experiences that make the concepts very easy to understand and apply. Instead of pontificating over the technical and theoretical underpinnings of the etiology of the symptomatic complex, Heller simply says "this works, use this." And he's right. I would rather be able to do a particular skill without knowing exactly why it works than to know intimately why and how it works and not be able to do it at all. Wouldn't you?
If you're looking in other "scientific" tomes for verification of his concepts, you're wasting your time. Hypnosis and NLP in particular are about the qualitative, subjective experience as the individual perceives it. Quite of a necessity, when you generalize those things to a level where they are readily testable and verifiable in a cross section of the population, you lose something vital to the concept. Human beings are all unique. Therapeutic techniques, therefore, must be tailored to the uniqueness of the individual. This book operates from that basis.
Not exactly a book meant for beginners, Monsters and Magical Sticks will give the greatest benefit to those who already have some NLP training and knowledge. Traditional hypnotists or those doing only direct suggestion approaches may not find this book as useful as those doing more creative and naturalistic hypnotic interventions. NLP'ers will find a veritable treasure trove of practical knowledge in this amazing book.
Specifically, Heller talks about cerebral hemispheric specialization and its role in the way people think. He describes hypnotic trance as the naturally-occurring, everyday emotional state that it is. He gives real examples of how and when you go into trance and how to induce them conversationally in others. He talks about the species of conditioned response known as "anchoring" and how to use it. There is so much great material in this book, no simple review could cover it all. At its simplest, Heller has condensed down a vast body of knowledge into an easily-digestible whole that is unparalleled in any other book on NLP and hypnosis. Buy this book only if you want to learn to use effective hypnotic communication naturally in everyday situations.
I wish I had read this book a long time ago! It might have saved me spending the countless thousands of dollars (not to mention the debt I've accumulated) pursuing NLP training. With the average cost of just one NLP training easily reaching the $2,000 mark, the cost of this book is utterly inconsequential compared to the knowledge contained in it. When you learn the skills in this book, nothing will ever be difficult again!