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Mastering Your Mind: A Guide to Rational Living


Mastering Your Mind: A Guide to Rational Living

By : Albert Ellis and Robert Harper

Reviewed by

Geoffrey W. Sutton PhD

I was introduced to Albert Ellis’ theory of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy as a graduate student in 1974 by Professor Robert Dolliver III (1934 - 2021) at the University of Missouri. I had accumulated a number of courses in philosophy along with my focus on psychology thus, Ellis’ approach made a lot of sense to me. In my clinical practice, I found that many of my highly educated patients found the New Guide to Rational Living helpful. Following is a summary of the book.

A New Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis and Robert Harper introduces the concepts of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) to the general public. In this self-help manual, Ellis provides strategies for thought balancing, also known as cognitive reframing. The book aims to help individuals overcome negative thoughts and emotions that hold them back in life. Here are the key concepts:


1. Irrational Thoughts and Beliefs: Ellis argues that irrational thoughts and beliefs are at the root of most emotional disturbances. By identifying and challenging these irrational ideas, individuals can improve their emotional well-being.


2. REBT Approach: The book outlines the principles of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, emphasizing self-analysis and self-questioning. It encourages readers to modify maladaptive behavioral patterns.


3. Emotional Strength: Rational living isn't about constant happiness but rather straightening out one's thinking to be chronically less unhappy. The goal is emotional strength and resilience.


4. Practical Problem-Solving: The book provides practical techniques for overcoming fears of failure, conquering anxiety, and solving both emotional and practical problems.



Ellis, A., & Harper, R. A. (1975). A new guide to rational living. New York: Prentice-Hall.

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Cite This post

Sutton, G. W. (2024, April 24). Mastering your mind: A guide to rational living. Interdisciplinary Book and Film Reviews. Retrieved from

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Geoffrey W. Sutton, PhD is Emeritus Professor of Psychology. He retired from a clinical practice and was credentialed in clinical neuropsychology and psychopharmacology. His website is


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