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You Are What You Say:
A Harvard Doctor’s Six-Step
Program for Transforming Stress
Through the Power of Language
by Budd, Rothstein, and Adams.

Crown Publications, 288pp
ISBN: 0812929624
Publication Date: Aug. 2001

Coaches will be happy to own this book.  It is a gift that brings together the language and thinking of Fernando Flores and Humberto Maturana – as well as others - in a hugely accessible piece of writing by Dr. Matthew Budd.  Coaches can feel grateful to Dr. Budd for his curiosity, founded on an underlying belief that there is more to medicine and healing than a clinical approach. Because he was willing to notice and question, he has been able to figure out the incredible role of the “self” in illness, and by extension, the role of memories, traumas, anger, shame, and resentment in illness. These, he says, when unlocked, are keys to healing. Underneath his proven method are the concepts that there is a link between language, mood, and illness.

The book is divided into six chapters that follow an introduction entitled “Life as an Awakening Place.”  Each subsequent chapter builds the argument that we are holistic beings, with biology, history, language, and heart. Each chapter contains practical exercises for reflection, as well as exercises that challenge one’s way of thinking. As well, there are many great highlights in the book, including “the ten linguistic viruses,” which build on the speech acts of declarations, requests, promises, assessments, and assertions.

Budd also threads through this book the stories of four clients and shows how the methods and exercises contained in the book helped them to see their lives in more expansive ways. Coaches will find many of the exercises useful in their practices, as well as the clear explanations of biology, history, language, and heart, and how these affect the ways in which we interpret our world. I don’t know about you, but these are concepts that I need to be reminded of (i.e. that I am more than a “head”) and that many of my clients benefit by learning as well.








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