Review of You are the Placebo

I rarely review books I didn’t like. On June 3 I suffered a serious spinal injury while mountain biking. Since then several friends have given me books to help with my recovery. ‘You are the Placebo’ by Dr. Joe Dispenza was one such book. I had just finished reading ‘The Brain that Changes Itself’ by Norman Doidge so I had some understanding of neuroplasticity and the ideas that the body and brain can adapt. So I had high hopes.
The book begins with some interesting research on the placebo effect, and how mind over body is a real measurable phenomenon. Okay, I thought, this makes sense. But Doctor Dispenza veered off track and left me scratching my head. He gave a long anecdote on a research project where a subject was hypnotized to commit a crime. Interesting, I thought, but what does this have to do with the book subject? I think the author had an interesting story he needed to tell. His editor should have told him this isn’t the place.
But I persevered and continued reading. My analytical mind didn’t want to blow this off too quick.
But then he hit me with another caveat. He tells the readers that people with strong analytical minds may not be able to use this material as they are resistant to suggestibility. I think I am open to new thoughts and ideas and have read a number of ‘new age’ books that I have enjoyed and put into practice. I am currently working through Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ and don’t have any resistance. (I will do a review when I complete the 12-week program). But to get halfway through a book and get this warning was irritating at best.
But the best was yet to come. I studied University physics. I learned a tiny bit about quantum mechanics. The probabilities of particles being in one place or state at any time is a difficult concept. That things move between states, not in a straight line, but jumping between levels in ‘quantum’ jumps takes some time to accept and understand. This is some hard stuff.
Dr. Dispenza suggests that these jumps can somehow be used by the human mind to communicate to the body and soul. This is pure bunk, and I nearly tossed the book at this point. But I was almost done and felt the need to finish. Mistake.
The final flaw of the book is the blatant way it is meant to goose up sales for the authors program of workshops and seminars. I kept having visions of a Tom Vu advertisement, ‘Take My Seminar’.
Take my advice. Give this book a pass.