Home All Wire Your Brain for Confidence and Conquer Self-Doubt (Book Review)

Wire Your Brain for Confidence and Conquer Self-Doubt (Book Review)

written by Elaine O'Brien 29 September 2017

Elaine O'Brien, PhD, MAPP '08, is a positive psychology, fitness leadership, positive health promotion, movement science, aging, and well-being speaker, author, trainer, thought leader, people/project manager, educator, and consultant. Elaine creates programs promoting proactive positive health/fitness, and optimal performance. Elaine presents internationally and online. She advances health, fitness, and flourishing by inspiring people to move more and to find both enjoyment and meaning in motion via PEP: Positive Exercise Practices. Elaine's website.  Full bio. Elaine's articles are here.

“Once you rewire your brain, it feels like the canoe you have been paddling upstream with so much effort has been turned around to float freely with the direction of the river. When you wire your brain for confidence, there is little resistance toward big, scary goals.” – Louisa Jewell

Louisa Jewell at launch

Louisa Jewell
at the book launch

On Thursday September 21, Louisa Jewell launched her new book, Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt. She has delivered a brilliant tour de force.

Louisa Jewell is articulate, down to earth, generous, and funny. She is also the founder of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA), a scholar, a successful organizational consultant, a businesswoman, a speaker, a loving mother, a cherished friend, and a great storyteller.

In her abundant, practical, and well-researched book about confidence, Louisa weaves together the science of positive psychology, self-efficacy, self-determination theory, and neuropsychology in an engaging, easy to understand manner.

Louisa describes surmounting personal tragedy with assurance. She exposes her own vulnerability as she chronicles her trajectory overcoming her own self-doubts to rise as a flourishing international leader in the science of applied positive psychology.

Louisa cites leading-edge research. She has interviewed positive psychology thought leaders in both research and practice, including Dr. Kate Hefferon and Dr. Carol Dweck. Louisa explains Dweck’s The Power of “Yet” (page 203), shares helpful “Confidence Habits” (pages 208, 224), and gives the reader a handy, compelling exercise titled, “How to Eliminate ‘Should’ From Your Life.”

Disclosure: I had the pleasure of meeting Louisa in 2009 when she entered the University of Pennsylvania MAPP program, and I was a new MAPP graduate. Over the years since then, I have been honored to call Louisa, my colleague and friend. I have seen the confidence that she describes grow and blossom in her life. She lives what she describes.

Self-Determination Theory: Relatedness, Autonomy, Competence
Louisa presents theories and research around building confidence in a masterful manner. I study motivation. I found Louisa’s illuminating descriptions around Richard Ryan and Edward Deci’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT), perfectly on target. Louisa describes SDT about how “humans are driven by three psychological needs that contribute to intrinsic motivation, a heliotropic effect, and are essential for growth and well-being, just like sun, water, and soil are essential for plants to function optimally.” The descriptions below are her section headers:

  1. Relatedness: The universal need to interact, be connected to, and experience caring for others
  2. Autonomy: The universal urge to be in control of one’s own life and act in harmony with what is important to oneself
  3. Competence: A need to control the outcome of our actions and experience mastery

Signing books

Louisa Jewell signing books

Fear of Failure, and How to Overcome It

Louisa explains that people often identify fear of failure as a strong demotivator, but if you dig a little deeper, it’s failing in plain sight of other people that is the real fear. Initially researchers believed self-doubt was internally driven. She shares current research suggesting self-doubt is inherently a social phenomenon, emerging from our concerns about social disapproval and the potential of being evaluated negatively by our peers and family. Fear of social evaluation and disapproval may discourage us from engaging in behaviors that will allow us to fulfill our dreams.

What’s in the Mix: Louisa’s Formula for Confidence

Louisa shares a powerful formula for confidence based on the science of applied positive psychology and her lived experiences. Louisa urges us to conquer doubt and to honor our worth. Further, she promotes a legacy of goodness, practicality, and wisdom, which is encouraging, especially for women. Louisa cares about us, her readers, and is cheering us on throughout the book. She is also raising the barre by giving exercises on how to live with greater confidence, intuition, wisdom, and creativity. She reminds us not to fear shining brightly, nor dim our own lights. She also offers a bit of tough love around receiving feedback, explaining “when you don’t take things personally, you are more likely to just get back up and keep trying.”

With writing coach, Kathryn Britton

Confidence to Lift Up Women and Our Humanity

Louisa addresses the bias, degradation, inequality, and lack of safety that affect women’s lives today. Her book can be a valuable tool in education, therapy, business, and personal help. Louisa offers the “juice:” research and resources that can take us on a journey toward creating a better understanding of ourselves and thus embodying self-assurance.

The research, skills, and tools in Louisa Jewell’s book will go a long way toward helping her readers shine.


Jewell, L. (2017). Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt. Famous Warrior Press.

Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books.

Hefferon, K. (2013). Positive Psychology and the Body: The Somato-Psychic Side to Flourishing. Open University Press.

Ryan, R. M. & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.

Photo credits: Photos provided by the author and by Louisa Jewell (signing photo).

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Margaret Greenberg 29 September 2017 - 4:00 pm

Thank you Elaine for an informative review of Louisa Jewell’s new book Wire Your Brain for Confidence. Confidence comes up again and again in coaching engagements. I can tell already that Louisa’s book is going to be on my recommended reading list. I can wait to dig into it. It should arrive any day now.

Margaret Greenberg 29 September 2017 - 4:02 pm

That’s CAN”T wait to dig in 🙂

Louisa Jewell 3 October 2017 - 3:51 pm

Thank you so much Margaret!! As you use it with clients I would love to know what most resounds with people. I am finding that the book is opening up so many conversation. It is an honor to be in your light. Thank you!

Elaine O'Brien 29 September 2017 - 4:35 pm

Thank you Margaret. Fantastic to hear from you, and I agree. What a great resource for coaches. Sending you very best wishes.

Judy Krings 30 September 2017 - 4:46 am

Thanks, Elaine, for one of the most delightfully thorough book reviews I have read in a long time. Appetite whetted, I am off to Amazon. Big congrats to you, too, dear Louisa. Well done. My positive psychology coaching clients are going to savor your new book with great appetite.

Louisa Jewell 3 October 2017 - 3:53 pm

Thank you so much Judy! I really appreciate your support.

Elaine O'Brien 30 September 2017 - 1:45 pm

Dear Judy, thank you for writing. This means a lot, especially coming from wonderful you. I’m excited to recommend Louisa’s great new book, and really appreciate your kind words. All best to you always.

Diana Gabriele 2 October 2017 - 7:34 am

Wonderful review Elaine!!!
I just got my copy and am enjoying it immensely. Your review is a bit of a teaser and makes me more excited to read, read, read. I can hardly wait to apply the recommendations and habits to my life. I have so far found Louisa’s style very engaging – like listing to a good friend. I’ll be forwarding it to all my colleges and I am sure to reference the work within to our clients. Thank you for writing this review.

Elaine O'Brien 2 October 2017 - 11:01 pm

Thanks for your wonderful note, Diana! I’m with you, excited to apply Louisa’s recommendations. Happy to hear from you!

Louisa Jewell 3 October 2017 - 3:55 pm

Thank you so much for the kind words Diana! I hope you enjoy it!

Louisa Jewell 3 October 2017 - 3:57 pm

Dear Elaine and PPND team. As a new author, it is an honor and a privilege to be reviewed. I am so grateful to this wonderful community. Thank you so much.

Elaine O'Brien 4 October 2017 - 8:18 am

Dear Louisa, Good on you for sharing your groundbreaking work, for inspiring, and for this great achievement.

Kathryn Britton 12 October 2017 - 10:03 am

Here’s a review I wrote for Amazon, who took it down because I’m mentioned in the acknowledgments. So with that disclosure, I still think my review might be helpful to readers:

Louisa Jewell has traveled from self-doubt to self-confidence herself. With this book, she is reaching back a hand to help others join her on the life-long journey. She brings us along with stories that are memorable and often just plain funny. She helps us keep moving with 9 detailed and research-based exercises that are all recipes she has tested herself. But above all, she is addressing a question that is important to the human future: How do we bring more voices to the table when important decisions are being made? She opens her introduction with the provocative statement, “It is time for women to have an equal say at ruling the world.” But this book is not just for women. I believe it could help all whose voices need to be amplified by a boost in self-confidence.

Elaine O'Brien 12 October 2017 - 1:46 pm

Kathryn, thanks for sharing your wonderful review of Louisa’s book.

????? ??????? 24 November 2017 - 3:20 pm

Thank you Elain, your review of the book was great, that much great that convinced me to tell my husband to buy it and bring me when he comes back from USA.
Peace <3

Elaine O'Brien 24 November 2017 - 5:55 pm

Thank you for your lovely note. How wonderful! I’m just back from attending Toronto where I attended Louisa’s wonderful workshop on this topic. Louisa is presenting a special PPND workshop. I highly recommend it. Wishing you all the best and cheers, with my gratitude. Elaine.

??????? 14 December 2018 - 2:20 am

Thank you Elaine . your review very great


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