Being You by Don M. Stonebraker
Don M. Stonebraker offers a charming look at deep philosophical questions of the self in his text Being You: How to Put More Energy into Your Real Self and Less into Your Programmed Self. Stonebraker combines the formatting of a self-help manual with the authenticity of a memoir in order to engage and educate those seeking better control of themselves and their surroundings. Stonebraker evokes the terms “Programmed Self” and “Real Self” to delineate a difference in the way that humans function and think within their own minds. He offers the Programmed Self as a created state of mind that inhibits the progress and benefits of the Real Self, outlining a variety of ways in which this occurs as well as a variety of ways in which it can be avoided. The text is bursting with references to dozens of other scientific articles and novels, providing additional resources along the reader’s journey to satisfy further interest and research into the subject.
The charm is real, and at no point is it possible while reading Being You, to doubt the author’s sincerity and desire to aid the seeking. However, whether Stonebraker is successful in his efforts is questionable. The text reads as though it is still in its first draft, with many contradictory statements and unnecessary appeals and apologies to its audience. The quotes pulled from various resources are all sound and offer delectable bits of wisdom, but they often feel misconstrued and improperly contextualized in order to fit certain points. While the research does not quite cohere the way that it might be expected to with later revisions and editing, it is clear that there is the will and the potential for Being You to have a resounding impact on the thinking and reading world- it’s just, perhaps, not quite there yet.