Fear Dynamics: Harnessing Fear and Anxiety to Create Lasting Happiness and Meaningful Achievement

Stephen J. Dietrich, JD

Publisher: Amplify Publishing Pages: 241 Price: (hardcover) $29.00 ISBN: 9781637559734 Reviewed: May, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

On the surface, successful business attorney Stephen J. Dietrich seemed to live a charmed life. Underneath, though, he struggled with fear and anxiety rooted in his emotionally distant mother’s alcoholism and his father’s sexual abuse. In Fear Dynamics, Dietrich shares his life story, combining memoir with self-help and revealing the therapies and programs he tried and the rocky road he traveled before developing and refining his own solution.

Dietrich defines “fear dynamics” as “the behavior and communication patterns that occur during personal interactions” when someone reacts to their fears, consciously or unconsciously. Because fear dynamics have this relational component, they can significantly impact personal, business, and social interactions. For example, if a person is fearful of sharing ideas with certain colleagues because their supervisor perceives this as threatening, their ability to innovate is harmed, which can damage the organization.

Dietrich details strategies readers can use to derail fear. One of many is to check in with their “inner little guy or gal,” which involves getting in touch with their inner core and purest self. By doing so, the author posits, readers can reconnect with authentic thoughts and feelings. Because it’s necessary to relax to make this connection, Dietrich often does so while running or quietly sitting with pen and paper.

The author’s personal story is compelling, and the way he weaves in advice to readers feels organic and authentic. His conversational style gives the feel of a heart-to-heart talk, yet he keeps the momentum of the text moving forward. Readers won’t find all of Dietrich’s tips earthshattering (one chapter is devoted to the importance of making eye contact), but his sincerity makes up for any deficits.

In all, this book will be helpful to others who experience fear and anxiety—whether the roots of their issues are as dramatic as Dietrich’s or not. It would also be an excellent book to use in a small group setting.