Book Review: Sabotage

Sabotage: How to Silence your Inner Critic and Get out of Your Own Way by Emma Gannon

Emma Gannon wears a number of ‘hats’ – she’s a journalist (most notably for the Sunday Times), bestselling business author, podcast host and novelist. I first came across Emma’s work last year when I read her debut novel ‘Olive’, which is an honest, entertaining and sensitive exploration of 30-something women and their relationship with motherhood. As if publishing your first novel wasn’t enough, a couple of months later I spotted on Twitter that Emma had published ‘Sabotage’. I was immediately drawn to it’s subtitle, ‘How to silence your inner critic and get out of your own way’, as my own self critrc is notoriously loud and irritating, so much so that I’ve nick named it the Red Queen (from Alice in Wonderland).

“… most of us are still just kids wearing adult clothes and wandering around doing adult things.”

Sabotage is a nice slim book at only 114 pages, and printed in quite a large text size, which makes it more encouraging to read than a big heavy tome. It’s split up into short chapters with nice clear summaries, bullet points and helpful hints. Emma starts by explaining her own difficulties with self-criticism and the impact which self-sabotage has had on her life. She then goes on to explore what self-sabotage is, why we fall into the trap of self-sabotage, and how we can make meaningful changes.

As a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with an interest in Compassion Focused Therapy, a lot of the material in ‘Sabotage’ was familiar to me, however I liked that it was written by someone who isn’t a mental health specialist. Emma’s honest and human approach to this topic helped to make it relatable.

“Allow yourself to feel fear – its a sign that you’re taking a risk, putting yourself out there in some way. You can’t be brave if you’re not sometimes afraid”

The main messages of the book centre around being aware of how we are feeling and how we talk to ourselves, acknowledging that we are all human and that vulnerability can be a strength rather than a weakness, and that making conscious efforts to act/think differently can enable us to follow our dreams.

Throughout the book Emma makes reference to experts in the field of mental health and self-sabotage, including Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert and Jessamy Hibberd. Unfortunately, ‘Sabotage’ lacks a ‘recommended reading list’ or ‘references’ section so make a note as you go along if you spot something you want to explore further.

“I am the only person in the world who expects as much from me as I do, and I definitely don’t expect the same standards in others.”

Whilst I was reading ‘Sabotage’ I must confess to getting my highlighter out and marking the quotes which felt most important to me and I’ve scattered them throughout this review to give you a little flavour. This is definitely a book that I’ll be referring to in the future and I’d recommend it to anyone out there who’s ever doubted themselves, told themselves they won’t succeed or compared themselves negatively to others –  in other words I’d recommend it to everyone!

“Yes, it is only natural to ask: what if it goes wrong? But you must also ask yourself: what if it goes right?”