Don’t be Shy!

coping with shyness cover

Coping With Shyness

This title is bothersome. Shyness, according to the author, is a problem that needs treating. Throughout the book, there are discussions of paralyzing fear and how this is a severe “personality problem.” I think what the author is describing is severe anxiety. I am a little disturbed by the use of shyness as a catch-all term for descriptions of serious mental health issues.

Although this is a part of a series aimed at teens, the reading isn’t so teen friendly. I also think most teens would balk at this description. Lumping in more than several mental conditions into a term like shyness is a bad idea. I am not even sure it is a clinical term. I think most people define shyness as a reluctance to situations that involve a lot of new people or new situations. I think everyone has moments like this from time to time. The way this guy writes, shyness is the same as severe agoraphobia. APA has a more reasonable definition here. I don’t like how this guy says it’s one of the “greatest emotional problems in the country.” I guess this guy has never read the definition of nuance.


the affliction


Teenager code for parents

First step



  1. PJG has many titles where he offers help in coping including with sexual problems….maybe the problems are with the people who have problems with sex to begin with. PJG also offers a history of the world and a geography of the world for young readers and the how and why wonder book of coins and currency.

    It’s hard to see which was his day job where he had accumulated knowledge and where he was just giving opinion from personal experience, but I’ll hazard a guess….and I’m wrong. He’s got sheepskins to show his PhD in Education, but I see nothing showing a PhD in Psychology or Psychiatry.

    Withdraw, withdraw, withdraw. 1987?! Neuroscience has advanced so much over the 30 years that this book is far outdated. Neuroscience shows how much anything comes from brain chemistry and how shyness (or any behavioral condition) is not simply in your head.

    This writer may have missed Kubler-Ross’ memo. I would never refer anyone to this book. Oliver Saks and Temple Grandin show much more empathy than PJG who lectures this which ends up just boring the reader.

    Click here
    to find his history. He got his degree in the 1950s; so much and too much more has changed over these 70 years.

  2. Looks as if the “Stanford University Shyness Clinic” was disassociated from Stanford sometime after this book’s publication. The Wikipedia article speaks of it in the present tense, but the link to “external website” takes you to an page that was last updated in 1998.

    1. On top of that, the man referenced in the very first sentence of the first chapter is Philip Zimbardo, not “Phillip Zimbari”.

    2. And this book gets the name wrong of a famous psychiatrist from Stanford. I tried to find any information about Phillip Zimbari, but all I kept getting was pages about Phillip Zimbardo, until I realized that this book actually meant Zimbardo. Not a good start, and I’m not sure how good a source Zimbardo is anyway.

      1. Which gives one very little hope for the rest of the book.

        Zimbardo was famous by the time this was written (even in non-shrink circles), so getting his name wrong presages all the wrongness in the rest of the text.

  3. What’s described in these pages is a whole bunch of different things, many of which are completely unrelated to shyness. The man on page 9 is an alcoholic.

    And 2/3 of people are shy? Yeah, no. Although if you added up all the actual shyness and all the different mental health problems he’s shoved into this, maaaaaybe?

  4. “the shy person tends to be deeply selfish” ??! That’s a fine way to insult anyone who reads this, for “help” with feeling/being told they are too shy and for trying to find reliable information on shyness.

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