Review of Choice and Illusions by Eldon Taylor

When I was asked to review the New York Times best-selling author Eldon Taylor’s new book Choices and Illusions: How did I get where I am, and how do I get where I want to be?  I didn’t really know what to expect.  Eldon Taylor has an interesting background -- he has made a lifelong study of the human mind and has earned doctoral degrees in psychology and metaphysics. He is a Fellow with the American Psychotherapy Association (APA) and a non-denominational minister. He has served as an expert witness in court cases involving hypnosis and subliminal communication, and he was a practicing criminalist for over ten years specializing in lie detection and forensic hypnosis.  Eldon Taylor certainly sounded like someone well-placed to write about the mind-body link and the way in which our beliefs affect our ability to reach our full potential.

I enjoyed reading Choices and Illusions.  The book carries some very valuable and important messages and the author illustrates them well with stories and personal recollections.  For me, the message that blame paralyses people and prevents them from achieving their potential and from moving on with their lives is an absolutely key one.  My own work with clients has shown me the truth of this and an important step in bringing about the change you want in life is the acceptance of personal responsibility and the letting go of blaming others for our personal situation.  This couples with another of the key messages in Choices and Illusions: the need for forgiveness (of self as well as of others).  Forgiveness releases the one forgiving, enabling them to move forward with their life and achieve success (however that success is defined).  Eldon Taylor likens holding on to blame to being tethered by a thread and allowing it to dictate the confines of our lives, when, in reality, simply breaking or letting go of the thread would lead to freedom.  A very apt analogy in my experience.

In the book Eldon proposes the view that we are all so heavily influenced by our environment that our thoughts are formed from the messages surrounding us – from our families, our friends and from the media.  He provides evidence of the power and preponderance of subliminal messages which, while we remain unaware, influence our behaviours and opinions. In fact he poses what I thought was a very thought-provoking question: What was your last original thought?  He does this to encourage readers to consider just why they think, feel and act the way that they do – challenging them to wonder whether they are really creating their own beliefs and to recognise the influences that have affected them since birth.

He also states: There is no such thing as anger without fear.  I found this quite a profound statement.  It has made me think about anger in a different way – my own anger as well as that of others.  I’ve decided that I think he is right.  The fear might be simply of losing face or it might be a major fear for the safety of our loved ones, but without it there is no need for anger. 

Many of the concepts of the book fit in with other models of personality.  For example, the author’s description of those who attempt to feel better about themselves by denigrating others describes well the I’m not OK, You’re not OK Life Position within Transactional Analysis.  Likewise, his proposal that we are all living in a trance is supported by the writings of Stephen Heller in Monsters and Magical Sticks.  The difference is that Choices and Illusions presents them in a different way to these and to the other books I usually read, touching on the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of these models.  This is what makes the book different from others with similar messages.  Whether or not this is a preferable depends upon one’s personal beliefs about this approach. The power of the messages is just as strong whether you prefer a prosaic perspective or a more spiritual one. 

Overall, I found the book to be enjoyable and thought-provoking.  Its key messages are so important that they should be shared widely.  The more people who realize the power of changing their belief patterns and of letting go of limiting beliefs, including blame, the more will go on to achieve the success and happiness they are looking for. This book will be a good vehicle for many people to start that process.

To find out more visit the promotional page for Choices and Illusions: