Stress into Strength – Nick Arnett

“When a coach or physical therapist urges you to work hard, that’s because physical stress can become strength.

I’m finding it really tough to review this book – or indeed, finish reading it, which took almost a year (!). It’s not bad at all, it’s just… hmm.

For a start, going through a heck of a lot of trauma in the recent past, I am so so wary of the concept that going through stress makes you stronger. It can, for many it does, but every time someone tells me how much my woes have made me ‘stronger’, I want to slap them. You deal with stuff because you have to, but please stop making it sound – like the opening quote – like a good thing.

Yes, I can see why you need that story when you have suffered, but make no mistake, it is suffering. Growth is perfectly possible in other ways, and this glorifying stress events is just crap, quite frankly. Comparing it to the physical kind? Just, no. You tell people to exercise more, to exert themselves a bit, but you would never suggest someone goes out and witnesses horrible things just to ‘strengthen’ themselves – what the heck?! Yeah, yeah, I get that you can mean a small step out of your comfort zone, but that’s not how the message comes across. And even that – speaking from current experience – is not necessarily a good thing to push if you are going through trauma or stress anyway.

So, the author is a (former) paramedic and firefighter, and has all sorts of stories to tell (including an incredibly grim one about a car crash, CW). But his overcoming those things doesn’t really make me feel like I can learn from him at all. He’s great at telling his story, but the advice is all so bland and superficial, imo. Definitely nothing I haven’t read elsewhere, and while I don’t disagree with it, it’s just rehashing those same ‘meh’ platitudes. Community is all important, you have to talk things through, have you considered religions, you must connect connect connect.

You take from books like this what resonates with you, and for me that was pretty much nothing. Nothing is harmful or wrong, the author seems like a really decent bloke, but it just did nothing for me.

Stress into Strength book coverNetGalley backlog: 224 pages / 7 chapters
First published: 2021
Series: none
Read from sometime 2021 – 19th June 2022

My rating: 5/10

3 thoughts on “Stress into Strength – Nick Arnett

  1. Thinking of the internet meme: “That which does not kill us, only makes us weirder and more unrelatable.”
    From the sounds of it, this book is in the same philosophical corner as “If someone dies of an illness, it’s because they didn’t fight it hard enough.”

    Did reading this book make you stronger? šŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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