The Thing You Think You Cannot Do: Thirty Truths You Need to Know Now About Fear and Courage

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Gordon Livingston

Narrated By: Sean Runnette

Publisher: Oasis Audio

Date: April 2012

Duration: 4 hours 46 minutes


“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”—Eleanor Roosevelt. What are we afraid of and what can we do about it? Fear—of change, of intimacy, of loss, of the unknown—has become a corrosive influence in modern life, eroding our ability to think clearly. Exploited for power by politicians and for money by the media, it has become embedded in the way we think about our lives. Overcoming our fear, says Gordon Livingston, constitutes the most difficult struggle we face. Dr. Livingston, a psychiatrist, has increasingly found himself prescribing virtues like courage to his patients instead of tranquilizers or antidepressants. Here, he presents us with thirty truths that tell us all what we need to do to develop personal virtues in the face of societal and our own individual fears. And he does this with the crystalline prose and leavening wit that have made him an internationally bestselling author. As the celebrated novelist Mark Helprin has said of Dr. Livingston: “To read him is to trust him and to learn, for his life has been touched by fire, and his motives are absolutely pure.”


  • Alex Lessard

    Don't listen to this, as I did, because of the Helprin reference. It couldn't have been said about this book, if it was said at all. The book is a big disappointment by an author who has a little learning and a lot of opinions -- a number of which contradict the implications of his 30 truths about courage and his repeated appeal to the scientific method as the only path to truth. I learned nothing about courage from this book. I don't know that anyone would. It is not the practical work one would expect from the description, but is more a collection of the author's thoughts about war and the expression of his liberal politics. As an adopted child in search of my birth mother, I was touched by his letter to his found birth mother after her death, but saddened that, despite his near-abortion, he seems to have drawn an opposing conclusion about protecting the most vulnerable lives among us. To me, this is the primary example that shows the limits of his grasp of courage. It's easy to speak of the courage shown in the civil rights movement in the past. It takes courage today to honestly face the greatest civil rights tragedy of our time. There are other sad elements too, in the limits of his understanding or even desire to understand religion and higher theological thought. His bitterness gets in the way of a real examination of what has become 'non-scientific magic' to him. I would encourage him to dig deeper into the scientific method as a special formulation of the theological method. This is a book full of conventional wisdom, even as it rails on conventional wisdom. It is unscientific, even as it calls stupid anything outside a narrow grasp of the scientific method. Pontifications abound and illumination is absent.

Thing You Think You Cannot Do: Thirty Truths You Need to Know Now About Fear and Courage

by Gordon Livingston

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Thing You Think You Cannot Do: Thirty Truths You Need to Know Now About Fear and Courage, Gordon Livingston