Radical Honesty Book Summary - Radical Honesty Book explained in key points
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Radical Honesty summary

Brad Blanton

How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth

3.3 (334 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton is a book that advocates for speaking the truth at all times and living an authentic life. It challenges readers to drop their masks and embrace vulnerability for a more fulfilling existence.

Table of Contents

    Radical Honesty
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Moralism means that your mind dominates your being.

    Let’s start at the very beginning: the womb.

    A few months after conception, consciousness dawns, and that’s when you experience experience itself for the first time. Everything seems to be eternal, timeless.

    You may not consciously remember this experience, but, on some level, it remains with you. It’s this experience of eternity that you, like everyone else, long to go back to.

    But you can’t. Because once you’re born, you learn how you’re expected to behave in the world around you. As the author puts it, the mind takes over from the being. And that clarity you had in the womb is lost forever. That’s what religion and philosophy are about – they’re efforts to recapture that lost purity.

    It’s like a disease, the author says, and it slowly kills us all. He calls it moralism.

    The key message here is: Moralism means that your mind dominates your being.

    In trying to do the best for their children, parents teach them morals. These lessons learned from past behavior help keep them safe and teach them how to behave. But children also learn negative behaviors from their parents’ lessons.

    The author tells the story of Stephen, a young boy who made a mess while secretly making lemonade in the kitchen. When his parents found out, they were angry and punished him. In response, he got angry, blaming his parents and saying he hated them.

    This was only natural. In fact, it was a survival mechanism. In apportioning blame and getting angry, Stephen was imitating his parents.

    The problem lies in trying to apply a fixed set of rules to the fluid and complex world around us. Lawyers do this when they try to apply the rigid dictates of law to nuanced real-life cases. They’re what’s called field dependent.

    To understand that idea, picture a rod inside a square frame. The rod and frame turn independent of one another, like hands on a clock. The room you’re in is dark, so the rod and frame are the only things you can see. Suddenly, the frame stops moving but the rod continues. So when is the rod vertical?

    According to field dependent people, it’s when it’s parallel with the frame. Field independent people, on the other hand, realize the frame isn’t a reliable reference point and instead use their own bodies to work out when the rod is vertical.

    Moralists are field dependent. But there’s a very basic problem with field dependence: it’s a lie.

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    What is Radical Honesty about?

    Radical Honesty (first published 1993, this edition 2004) is a guide to help you tell the truth. We all lie, all the time, and it’s only through extreme honesty that we can escape from the moralism that surrounds us and truly be ourselves.

    Radical Honesty Review

    Radical Honesty (1994) is a thought-provoking book that challenges conventional ideas about honesty and encourages readers to embrace radical transparency. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents a refreshing perspective on honesty, showing how embracing radical honesty can lead to deeper connections and personal growth.
    • With real-life examples and relatable stories, the book brings the concept of radical honesty to life, making it relatable and applicable to everyday situations.
    • The book explores the ethical implications of honesty, sparking meaningful discussions about the importance of authenticity and integrity in our relationships and society.

    Who should read Radical Honesty?

    • People who want to express themselves more clearly
    • Couples struggling to communicate
    • Self-improvement fans

    About the Author

    Dr. Brad Blanton was trained in Gestalt Therapy and practiced psychotherapy for many years. Alongside Radical Honesty, his books include Practicing Radical Honesty, Radical Parenting, and The Truthtellers. He also conducts workshops on radical honesty in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.

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    Radical Honesty FAQs 

    What is the main message of Radical Honesty?

    Radical Honesty encourages embracing radical truthfulness and authenticity in all aspects of life.

    How long does it take to read Radical Honesty?

    The estimated reading time for Radical Honesty is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Radical Honesty a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Radical Honesty is worth reading for its powerful message on the importance of truthful communication and living authentically.

    Who is the author of Radical Honesty?

    The author of Radical Honesty is Brad Blanton.

    What to read after Radical Honesty?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Radical Honesty, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay
    • Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner
    • Speed Reading by Kam Knight
    • No Bad Parts by Richard C. Schwartz
    • Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung
    • Zero Sugar / One Month by Becky Gillaspy
    • Untangle Your Emotions by Jennie Allen