Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change by Timothy Wilson
Reviewed by Tom Lombardo

"I write to define myself--an act of self-creation--part of [the] process of becoming." Susan Sontag

The central thesis in Timothy Wilson's Redirect is that changing one's personal narrative (the story one tells oneself about his or her life, past, present, and future) and one's "core narrative" (the story one tells oneself about the world at large) are pivotal to self-transformation.

How one interprets the world and how one sees oneself--one's general and personal mindsets--are the foundations for one's thoughts, emotions, and actions, and these mindsets reflect the stories we tell ourselves. The narrative is critical to identity, ontology, and ethics. Based on extensive psychological research, rather than "pop psychology" and self-help books (which he strongly criticizes for their non-empirical and "feel good" approaches to life), Wilson outlines a set of "story editing" techniques that appear to produce real and relatively permanent changes in human behavior.

It is worthwhile to compare Wilson's theory of the self and human mind with Damasio's theory of the "autobiographical self"--there is a significant mutually supporting dimension to the two theories. Further, Wilson's narrative approach has great relevance to futurist thinking and the development of future consciousness. As many futurists argue, given the challenges and problems facing humanity, what we need is a new story (or stories) to take the place of our old dysfunctional ones. Wilson couldn't agree more.