Book Review: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do
Published By: William Morrow & Company
Publication Date: December 23, 2014
Page Count: 272
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Self Improvement

Amy Morin’s book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is an expansion of the list she made last year that went viral on the Forbes website. After defining what she means by “mental strength,” Morin devotes a chapter to each of the 13 behaviors/attitudes to avoid. Each chapter includes a case study, with a list of thoughts and actions to beware of, strategies for changing those thoughts and actions, and supporting anecdotes from other (usually famous) people’s lives. 

Now, according to Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, my primary love language is “words of affirmation,” meaning that I receive love & appreciation best through people’s words to me. While reading 13 Things, I began to realize that because of this I am sometimes prone to give other people too much power over how I feel. Morin’s suggestions for ways to break that cycle and retain power over how I feel were useful and I have found myself reflecting on them and using them often since I read that particular chapter in the book. And I have to say it feels good! 

At first, I thought I would just be working on not giving away my power. But, as I continued reading 13 Things, I discovered many helpful strategies for optimizing my life in general – not just in the area I thought I needed to work on. Even on the topics that don’t necessarily apply to me, the suggestions Morin makes in each section are applicable in a general way and are good reminders of how to be more resilient and self-reliant. 

And it wasn’t just the practical suggestions for sustaining behavior change that made the book so helpful. Morin also includes a section within each chapter on why we do that particular self-defeating behavior in the first place. I enjoyed seeing how these behaviors arise along with the ways to change them. Knowing these origins also makes it easier to stop negative thought patterns and behaviors before they become habits. 

Two gripes: First, the book should include a diagnostic quiz at the beginning to help readers target their efforts. There is, however, an online quiz that you can take to get yourself started: Second, this book needs an appendix. For instance, it would have been helpful to see a chart of all the negative behaviors and the suggestions for changing them all in one place. 

 I really hope that at some point, Ms. Morin will write a 13 Things book for middle-schoolers and high-schoolers. The information and strategies she presents for the adult audience should be taught at an earlier age. As it is, I am having my two middle school aged kids read sections of this book so we can discuss them together. These are vital life skills!

Expanding on her viral post that has become an international phenomenon, a psychotherapist offers simple yet effective solutions for increasing mental strength and finding happiness and success in life.

As a licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist, Amy Morin has seen countless people choose to succeed despite facing enormous challenges. That resilience inspired her to write 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, a web post that instantly went viral, and was picked up by the Forbes website.

Morin's post focused on the concept of mental strength, how mentally strong people avoid negative behaviors--feeling sorry for themselves, resenting other people's success, and dwelling on the past. Instead, they focus on the positive to help them overcome challenges and become their best.

In this inspirational, affirmative book, Morin expands upon her original message, providing practical strategies to help readers avoid the thirteen common habits that can hold them back from success. Combining compelling anecdotal stories with the latest psychological research, she offers strategies for avoiding destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors common to everyone.

Like physical strength, mental strength requires healthy habits, exercise, and hard work. Morin teaches you how to embrace a happier outlook and arms you to emotionally deal with life's inevitable hardships, setbacks, and heartbreaks--sharing for the first time her own poignant story of tragedy, and how she summoned the mental strength to move on. As she makes clear, mental strength isn't about acting tough; it's about feeling empowered to overcome life's challenges.

Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker. She works as a psychotherapist and college psychology instructor. She serves as's Parenting Teens Expert and Discipline Expert. She's also a contributor to Forbes. In the Fall of 2013, her article 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, was viewed by millions of people. Her list was reprinted on the Forbes website where it received an additional 10 million views. Her forthcoming book expands on that article by explaining how people can develop mental strength by giving up the 13 common pitfalls that we're all prone to doing at one time or another.

Check out the other great stops on this tour:

Monday, January 5th: Harry Times … all jacked up
Wednesday, January 7th: New Work Revolution
Thursday, January 8th: Fearless Creative
Monday, January 12th: Lilac Reviews
Tuesday, January 13th: Still Evolving Stacey
Wednesday, January 14th: Bibliopiliac
Thursday, January 15th: fangirl confessions
Friday, January 16th: Stephany Writes
Friday, January 16th: Reading Lark
Monday, January 19th: Self Help Daily
Tuesday, January 20th: Charmingly Modern
Wednesday, January 21st: SimpleProductivityBlog
Thursday, January 22nd: Reading to Distraction
Tuesday, February 3rd: Everyone Needs Therapy


  1. Ooh I love the idea of working with teen and preteens on these skills. My son will be 13 this month and I'll definitely discuss these topics with him!

    Thanks for being on the tour.


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