It is a curious fate of the human condition that we allow our confidence to be undermined by other people. It happens to us all at various stages of our lives and some of us never manage it or overcome it. Author Matthew Syed draws on his own life experience, examining key events from his teenage years and investigating better coping strategies and techniques, passing on advice to teens and tweens to inspire them to dare to be themselves, defy self-doubt and confidently make their own path in the world.
This is the book that every adult wishes they’d been given when they were starting to feel peer pressure and social norms closing in. It’s full of solid advice, tips, wisdom and mental exercises that are usable at any age. This book targets children aged 10+ with on-trend illustrations and break out boxes that sort the information into easily digestible chunks. There are nine clear chapter themes: self-doubt, individuality, difference, discovering your uniqueness, curiosity, taking action, kindness, roadblocks and making your own path. There is also an index for quick reference, as this book will undoubtedly be referred to many times over.
There are many real-life examples of successful people from the worlds of sport, science, the arts, and business who dared to be themselves, following their own unique path and forging ahead to find happiness and fulfilment. He includes well-known young adults such as Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg, as well as many that don’t have such huge profiles but have nevertheless made a big impact in their countries or community when they dared to be different, took action and overcame roadblocks. These examples, and the tools he provides, should prove to be inspirational for young readers, as well as for adults.
This book would make a great gift for any tween or teen, and I imagine parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will be the purchasers. It will be a powerful tool if adults embrace it and read it so that the language and messages can be utilised in casual conversation or more serious discussions. Look for the journal that accompanies it, especially if you know the recipient enjoys journaling and creativity. It also has a place in school libraries and classrooms and many of the activities in the book can be adapted for a school setting.
With worldwide problems looming large in their lives, there has never been a tougher time for tweens and teens to navigate self-doubt and conquer the anguish of fitting in while trying to find their own path and discover their unique identity. This entertaining book might just be the inspiration for a new generation that is more confident, more assured and more compassionate.