Book Review on Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life

By Jay Trenhaile, Ed.D.


Bill O’Hanlon wrote Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life in 2000.  It is a solid choice when you are looking for a strength-based book that is a fairly quick read.  O’Hanlon challenges readers to look at things differently by encouraging changing the “view” of problems.  He uses a number of quotes to introduce the concepts. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” by Albert Einstein is one of my favorites.  “The best thing to do when riding a dead horse is to dismount” is another one I especially like.

The other major parts focus on doing and application.  This includes exceptions to problems. Instead of continuing to focus on the problem and thinking about a worst case scenario, readers are encouraged to think of times when the problem could have happened, but didn’t.  What was happening when this exception occurred? How was the person able to do it?

A number of years ago I taught a Solution Focused Therapy course during the Summer and we discussed a number of books including O’Hanlon’s Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life as part of the course.  As a result, I challenged the class to “do something different” in their personal life that they wanted to change that Summer.  For me, I’ve been a passionate ice cream eater for many years. I didn’t see a need to completely give up ice cream, but I recognized I ate too much ice cream.  In an attempt to consider doing things differently I decided that I would eat ice cream with my non-dominate hand. Today, I am no longer continuing to eat ice cream with my left hand, but the change did decrease my intake of ice cream that Summer and provided a chance to look at things through a different lens.    

Viewing your situation through a different lens and doing something differently are two major tenets of the book that have value in our everyday life.  I encourage you to read the book and try these two things!


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