Self-Help Advice Books How to Be Your Own Best Friend Part 1

About the self-help book How to be Your Own Best Friend by Bernard Berkowitz and Mildred Newman, history and advice from the book.

HELP YOURSELF TO THE BEST SELF-HELP

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND (1971)

The Head People: Fatherly Bernard Berkowitz and earth mother Mildred Newman (who lets her patients raid her refrigerator and buys them birthday presents) are a husband-and-wife team of psychoanalysts who practice in New York's Greenwich Village. They are the darlings of the celebrity set, including actress Paula Prentiss (cured of an urge to kill herself); her husband, actor Richard Benjamin (cured of opening-night anxiety); actor Tony Perkins (cured of chronic bachelorhood); and movie director Frank Perry (cured of overeating). Success stories, all. A patient quoted in an August, 1977, article in Esquire says: "It's like they [Bernie and Mildred] go zap! and all of a sudden people who go to them are translated into successes."

Mildred, the dominant member of the team, studied for 10 years under Theodor Reik, a dropout from the Freudian school; she has an M.A. from Hunter College. Bernie has a Ph.D. from New York University. Both are certified psychologists.

Their patients adore them. They invite the psychoanalysts to movie screenings, openings, and parties and are undoubtedly responsible for the popularity of their 56-page book. For example, writer Nora Ephron, a patient, gave it to a top literary agent and editor at Random House, which picked up the hard-cover rights. Endorsements by patients cited in a New York Times book review ad (June 13, 1973) brought a spate of orders from booksellers.

Overview: The book is the result of a long-weekend interview of Mildred and Bernie by free-lance writer Jean Owen; it is written in question-and-answer form. The main idea is communicated in the title: Be your own best friend, accepting responsibility for your choices and freedom. You can "lift yourself up or put yourself down"--be either a friend or an enemy to yourself.

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