R U Listenin'? published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers was written in 2008 by Terry Bianchini. Terry worked in and around the prison service in the Uk for over 20 years and his vast experience in dealing with young male offenders forms the backbone of the book, which aims to help "defiant men to realise their full potential". However, this book is much more than that. It has a simple, but very powerful message. Namely, we are all capable of creating our own prison. Our own inner four walls which prevent us from achieving our full potential. We can become our own jailers. Terry skilfully shows us how we can release ourselves from our self-inflicted prison, whenever we wish to do so.
From the Abyss
I have read R U Listenin? from cover to cover many times. I keep it to hand. The style is honest and down-to-earth. It calls a spade a spade. It is a practical self-help book for use by professionals, counsellors, facilitators, and anybody wishing to learn how to stay focused, as well as a criminology, anger management, psychiatry, psychology, forensic psychopherapy, sociology reference book. How do you inspire angry young men as in Terry's specific experience or indeed, any person, who has lost faith in the social system or themselves? How do you motivate someone enough to prevent them from "repeat offending"? How do you instil faith in a person, who is in despair? How do you begin to help someone, who for whatever reason, is in a dark tunnel? How do you bring someone back from the abyss? I believe you will find the answers in this book.
The idea of describing the routine of a real prison environment matched with how a person can at any moment create a prison of their own making, was a revelation for me. How people can create their own prison sentence is described in detail. I had never thought of this analogy before. Terry has cleverly managed to intertwine the real world prison with the idea of a self-imposed prison. Practical solutions are offered as to how you can turn your life around if you lack motivation or are feeling trapped, in a rut, or depressed. For example, imposing self-discipline will give you control over your life. Taking care with your diet. Taking exercise. Above all, dedication and discipline are key to your success. Without these two factors, it would be difficult to come out of a self-inflicted prison sentence.
Be The Master of Your Own Destiny
The fifteen chapters are followed by exercises which can be used by facilitators to reinforce the message imparted in each chapter. The book contains fascinating and insightful case studies of people whose lives were turned around by realising that they alone had the key to unlocking their habitual offending behaviour. How to change negative feelings into positive feelings, how to set achievable and realistic goals, how to be the master of your own destiny, are themes which are fully explored by the author. Believing your way out from within is the key to solving a lot of problems.
Follow your Dream
Terry had wanted to write a book for a while, because he felt that his experience of working within the prison service could be applied to a much wider audience. He had never written a book before, but he was determined to write one, however long it took him. So he set about it slowly but surely, writing a few chapters here and there, rewriting, researching information, talking about it with friends, family and colleagues. He never once waned in his determination and motivation to realise his dream. Self discipline and dedication are at the centre of the book. Terry applied these two factors for himself and he was able to make this seemingly difficult goal of becoming a published author, a reality. Terry shows us how you can achieve anything you want as long as you really, really, truly, truly want that thing. Stay focused. Never lose faith. Believe in yourself.
I have wanted to write a review of R U Listenin'? for some time now, and so I asked Terry, who is married to my sister Adua, when I was in England last week. He was very happy for me to go ahead. I hope I have done his book justice. I believe you will enjoy reading it. It will certainly make you think about how to prevent yourself from becoming a prisoner in your own mind. It has helped me to analyse the onset of negative feelings and inspired me to take control of the situation in a swift and positive manner. I would hate to put myself in a prison of my own making. I am grateful to Terry for making me aware of how to prevent this from ever happening.