The Magic of NLP Demystified, according to its author, is "the culmination of decades of training and self-exploration within the confines of a specific sphere of study".
The book will be of interest and benefit to anyone whose work or interests include or require effective communication; teachers, trainers, entrepreneurs, managers, mediators, parents, salespersons and, of course, coaches, counsellors and therapists.
It explains some of the basic building blocks of NLP, which can be thrilling for newcomers to discover, and even 'old hands' who are steeped in NLP might enjoy a revisit and, dare I say it? Some revision!
The first edition of this book (1990) was one of the books I most frequently recommended to people who asked me for an accessible introduction to NLP. I was -” and remain -” enamoured of NLP and was (over?) zealous in lauding it whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Byron Lewis met Frank Pucelik and Leslie Cameron (now Lebeau), who took him through 'a powerful therapeutic experience' that had a lasting effect. He wanted to “learn that kind of Magic!” and became a member of a small experimental-research group in California. He joined a growing number of people who were studying the magic of therapeutic growth and change. Two charismatic individuals -” Richard Bandler and John Grinder -” were the epicentre of the group, and the author started to keep notebooks that detailed his learning experiences. In time he developed his own style, and labelled his notes “A Model for a Process Theory of Personality” thinking he had found 'the right track.' In time he realised he had set a trap for himself.
He discovered that his model was continually stretched, extended, expanded, and enlarged. It was also shrunk, crushed, pierced, and mutilated. He created 'a symbolic representation of the wonderful (and enjoyable) contradictions confronting him', and 'recognition of the trap he was escaping'
The book presents models of basic Meta principles which underpin the 'magic' of communication that is intended to influence change. Lewis alerts us to the need to avoid the trap that we might (and I certainly did) fall into if we get snared or limited by a model if we do not remain open to experience.
The book is divided into four sections, all about models:
Pages 5 -” 32 Models
Pages 39 -” 73 The Communication Categories Model
Pages 77 -” 136 The Meta Model
Pages 143 -” 161 The Visual Model
The language is elegantly lucid, despite the inevitable 'jargon' because, for newcomers, the 'technical terminology' can be a tad daunting, but it's well worth staying with it for the wealth of information and inspiration that is to be found within.
The bibliography lists 70 or so books, not all about NLP, but all relevant to what the book is about.
I'd like to quote a paragraph from Tosey and Mathison (2007(1)) that Lewis refers to, because it sums up what, in my opinion, facilitates and enhances the best of what NLP and NLPers should be about. I think this book, like its predecessor, does -” only more so!
“In common with the aspirations of the human potential movement, NLP takes issue with the archaeological emphasis of Freudians, on digging into the past in order to understand the present. NLP is firmly constructivist in the sense that it perceives all experience, including memories, as (re)created in the present” (p.5).
(1)Tosey, P. and Mathison, J. Neuro-Linguistic Programming: A Critical Appreciation for Managers and Developers. Basingstoke, UK:Macmillan, 2009