Recommended Books and Movies

Mark Zelig, Ph.D., ABPP:

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Dr. Zelig’s Favorite Self-Help and Recommended Books

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Hollowell, E. M. & Ratley, J. J. (1994). Driven to distraction. New York: Touchstone. ISBN 0-684-80128-0 $14.00.  The book, reportedly written by a psychiatrist who suffers from attention deficit, offers useful suggestions for other adults who have the same disorder.


Burns, David D (1999).  Feeling Good (Revised edition). New York:  Avon. $14.00  Initially published in 1980, this is one of the first popular book on cognitive therapy for depression.  Cognitive therapy views depression and anxiety as a thinking disorder with emotional symptoms.  The book instructs the reader to identify thinking errors that lead to depression.

Ellis, A. & Harper, R. A. (1997). A guide to rational living (3rd Ed.).  North Hollywood, CA:  Melvin Powers Wilshire Book Company.  One of my favorite books on anxiety, because it causes the reader to identify automatic “irrational thoughts” that lead to anxiety and distress.

Irwin, Cait (1998). Conquering the beast within: How I fought depression and won.


Alberti, R. & Emmons, M. (2001).  Your perfect right (8th Ed).  Impact:  Atascadero, CA. IBN-13: 978-1-886230-28-6.  This book has sold over a millon copies.  It is an excellent guide for people who need to develop or sharpen their assertiveness skills.

Argov, S. (2000).  Why men love bitches: From doormat to dreamgirl – A woman’s guide to holding her own in a relationship.  This is really a book on how to be assertive, kind, and not a bitch.  I have read it, and so have all my daughters.  The book outlines a number of “rules of attraction,” which is a good read for either men or women.


Fisher, B. & Alberti, R. (2000).  Rebuilding: When your relationship ends.  Atascadero: Impact Publishers.  Isbn 1-886230-17-x.

Warshak, R. A. (2001).  Divorce poison.  New York: Reganbooks.  ISBN 978-0-06-093457-6

Unhealthy Personality Patterns

Golomb, Elan (1992). Trapped in the mirror: Adult children of narcissists in their struggle for self.  New York: William Morrow ISBN 0-688-14017-8.

Kreisman, Jerold J. & Straus, H (1989). I Hate you– Don’t Leave Me.  New York: Avon Books.  People who have “borderline personality” patterns have difficulty with intimacy because they feel smothered when they get too close.  They may create distance to decrease this anxiety, but then and panic when fears of abandonment are activated.  They then make a desperate attempt to obtain intimacy to decrease abandonment fear, thus perpetuating the cycle.  This is a good book on Borderline Personality pattern.

Miller, J. K. (1992). Compelled to control.  Dearfield Beach, FL: Health Communications.  ISBN: 1558744614.   This book is for you compulsive folks out there who thrive on the fruits of control in the workplace, and find that the same strategy does not work in your relationships.

Young, Jeffrey E. & Klosko, Janet S. (1994).  Reinventing your life: How to break free from negative life patterns and feel good again. New York: Plume. isbn 0452272041

General self help and family issues.

Bergman, J. S. (1985).  Fishing for barracuda: Pragmatics of brief systemic therapy.  New York:  Norton.  ISBN: 0393700054.  The book, now somewhat dated, is excellent.  The intended audience of this easy-read humorous book are therapists.  However, I believe that anyone who finds themself in a family where every intervention they introduce is met with resistance, will find the ideas and anecdotes of this book instructive. This book is out of print, but you still can get copies if you to, and seek a used copy (for cheap).

Boyd, A. (2002).  Daily afflictions.  New York: Norton.  ISBN 978-0-393-32281-1. $11.95.  This is a great book that focuses on our irrational notions about relationships, commitment, and life goals

Covey, S. (1989). The 7 habits of highly effective people.  New York: Simon & Shuster.

Listening skills

Gordon, Thomas.  Parent effectiveness training.  This book, aimed at improving parenting skills,  is out of date in terms of parenting techniques, but is one of the best volumes on listening skills.  The chapters that discuss how to talk and listen to children are very useful in speaking to partners, kids, bosses, and everyone else.

Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder)

Duke, Patty & Turan, Kenneth (1987).  Call me Anna.  New York: Bantam 22.95.  Patty Duke, the childhood television star, has suffered from this disease for most of her life.  This book talks about bipolar disorder, and the benefits of Electrical convulsive therapy.

Duke, Patty & Hochman, Gloria (1992).  A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness.  New York: Bantam. $22.50.

Jamison, Kay Redfield (1993).  Touched with Fire:  Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.  New York:  Free Press.  Dr. Jamison is the world’s foremost authority on this disease (she also suffers from it).  This book discusses the creative contributions of people who have suffered from this disease.

Steel, Danielle (1998). His bright light:  The story of Nick Traina.  New York: Delacorte Press, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Incorporated.  In this book, Danielle Steel discusses her struggles dealing with her son, who was afflicted with bipolar disorder.  Her son recently committed suicide.

Men’s Issues

Bly, Robert (1990).  Iron John: A book about men.  New York: Vintage Books.  Call number 305.31 BLY

Movies, independent films.

Brigham City (2001).  In this dramatic murder mystery,  writer – director, Richard Dutcher artfully reminds us of the brilliance of Alfred Hitchcock.  Using Hitchcock’ style of direction, Dutcher portrays Wes Clayton, a sheriff who is also the LDS bishop of a small town in Utah.  During the pursuit of a serial killer who has perpetrated the first murder in the community’s history, he finds that the most formidable obstacles are denial, both within the community and himself, as well the imprisoning nature of judging others based on stereotypes. The New York Times rated this as one of the best independent films in 2001, and I highly concur.

New York Doll (2005) Video Starring: Nina Antonia, Bishop Bragg Director: Greg Whiteley.  An independent, low budget film, depicts a  recovering alcoholic and recently converted Mormon, Arthur “Killer” Kane, of the rock band The New York Dolls, is given a chance at reuniting with his band after 30 years.   This movie is rated as 5 stars on Amazon.  Great film!


Cline, Foster & Fay, Jim (1990).  Parenting with love and logic.  Colorado Springs: Pinon Press.  ISBN 0-89109-311-7.

Patterson, G. R. & Forgatch, M. S. (2005) Parents and adolescents living together:  Part 1: The basics (2nd Ed.) Champaign, IL: Research Press Publishers.  ISBN: 978-0-87822-516-3; $18.95.

Personnel/ business management

Blanchard, K. & Shula, D. (1995).  Everyone’s a coach:  Five business secrets for high-performance coaching. Grand Rapids, MI:HarperBusiness  ZondervanPublishingHouse.  Yes, the principles that lead the Miami Dolphins to championships can work in your organization.

Relationships, Dating, Sex, and couples

Behrendt, G., & Tuccillo, L. () He’s just not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys (The Newly Expanded Edition).

Bilicki, Bettie, Y. & Goetz, Masa (1990).  Getting back together.  Hollbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation.  ISBN 1558508627.  Book is strong on making the most of separations.

Chopra, Deepak (1997). The path to love: Spiritual strategies for healing. New York: Three Rivers Press.  ISBN 0-609-80135-X.  One of the best books on reaching spiritual highs in your relationship.

Gray, John (1992). Men are from mars, women are from Venus.  New York:  Harper Collins.  Gray’s main contribution is on giving people models to communicate with their partners.

Gray, John (2002).  Mars and Venus starting over.  New York: Quill.  ISBN 0-06-093027-6.  Great book in helping one to have a healthy perspective after the loss of a significant other.

Kerner, Ian (2006).  DSI: Date scene investigation: Diagnostic manual of dating disorders.  New York: Harper Collins (also available in unabridged audio).  A great dating book, satirically written from the perspective of a make-believe federal agency (Federal Bureau of Intimacy) that investigates serial bad daters and the impact of these “crimes” on their victims.

Kirschman, E. (2006).  I love a cop: What police families need to know.  New York: Guilford. ISBN 159385353X, 9781593853532

McKnight, T. W. & Phillips, R. H. (1988).  Love tactics: How to win the one you want.  Garden City Park NY: Square One Publishers.  ISBN 0-7570-0037-1.  Want someone for a partner?  The formulae in this book are amongst the best I have reviewed in helping a person to gain romantic interest in you.  While you do not have to be a player, you do have to play games to reasonable extent.  This is one of the best books on the rules of that game. These authors have a web site:

Ruiz, D. M. (1999).  The mastery of love.  Amber-Allen Publishing.

Vanzant, L. ( ).  In the meantime: Finding yourself and the love you want.  Beacon Street

Westheimer, Ruth (1995). Sex for dummies.  Foster City, CA:  IDG Books.  There is a lot of information in this book that even non-dummies do not know.

Sexual addiction

Carnes, P. (2001).  Out of the shadows: Understanding sexual addiction (3rd Ed.). Center City, MN: Hazeldten.  ISBN1-56838-621-4.  About $16.00.

Religious books

Kushner, H. S. (1981). When bad things happen to good people.  New York: Harper-Collins.  ISBN 0-380-60392-6

Robinson, S. E. (1992).  Believing Christ:  The parable of the bicycle and other good news.  Salt Lake City:  Deseret Book. 14.95 hardback

Value Clarification

Covey, Stephen, R. (1989) Seven habits of highly effective people.  New York: Free Press.   This volume has sold over 25 million copies and is published in 38 languages. It resides on Time magazine’s list of the 25 most influential business books.   While touted as an excellent leadership/ business book, it stresses the importance of clarifying one’s values, and the power one can derive from accomplishing this.  The foundation for the 7 habits is having a game plan of what one wants to accomplish in life.   When I read the book, I found the “eulogy” exercise to be spot-on in terms of helping one identify what is important in life.

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