“The Power of Agency” by Paul Napper and Anthony Rao

In an era of minimalism, simplicity, and all things Marie Kondo, do you still feel overwhelmed? Seeing your friends and colleagues declutter their lives--both physically and emotionally—do you still feel stuck? Do you feel left out, overwhelmed, and not sure how to proceed? If so, the reason could be a lack of agency.

“Agency is what human beings use to be in full command of their lives,” says Paul Napper, Psy.D., co-author of The Power of Agency: The 7 Principles to Conquer Obstacles, Make Effective Decisions, and Create a Life on Your Own Terms.


But is agency just the latest self-help buzzword? And how do you harness it to empower your life? Napper and his co-author Dr. Anthony Rao, Ph.D. tell you exactly how to do that in their book. They also prove that the concept of agency is more than a fad. It’s a vital idea you need to embrace if you want to compete in the modern business world. It’s a tool to use to become a more decisive and grounded individual. And in their book, Napper and Rao practice what they preach by breaking down their agency philosophy into seven simple steps.

Much of this information in The Power of Agency sounds like common sense. The authors give advice about controlling the stimuli that comes into your life, about being selective in the people you associate with, as well as managing your emotions and using your intuition. Sounds simple, right?

The fact that many of us aren’t incorporating these simple principles into our everyday lives, however, means that there is more to the equation. And this is where Napper and Rao’s book is so important. The information they give us bridges the gap between common sense and actual results. They spell out how to build agency in your life by using clear prose, quotes from extensive interviews, quizzes, and checklists, and they do it with an authority that comes from not only impressive credentials, but also from extensive research (take a peek at the bibliography and you’ll see that you’re dealing with writers who have immersed themselves into their subject.)


My favorite concept in the book is the idea that we are merely managing symptoms in our lives, reacting rather than taking control. The authors urge us to pause, reflect, and deeply consider our choices. They want us to exercise our bodies and clear our minds so we can make decisions from a healthy place.

Parts of this reminded me of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, but what sets it apart from that best seller (and Oprah favorite) is the authors’ extensive experience in the worlds of business and clinical psychology. Everything is grounded in real-world examples. And even though the book is over 300 pages, it never feels padded. The authors strike a great balance by fleshing out their concepts with examples and stating their concepts efficiently.

So many of us feel stuck in our lives, but The Power of Agency can change that. It’s the best self-help book you’ll read this year.

Anne Hollister.

Written by Anne Hollister

We do music reviews for Independent Artists and Publicists.



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