Book review of Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking

The other day, I said these exact words to myself (out loud) while driving the car: “I am SUCH an idiot!”

And here’s the worst part. My teenage daughter was sitting right next to me. Real stellar parenting moment. This is NOT something I’d ever want my daughter to say to herself simply because she made a wrong turn while driving. But there I was… giving her a real-life example of how NOT to talk to yourself.

The actual evidence shows that I do non-idiot things 99 percent of the time every single day. I’m raising three humans, being a wife, holding down a job, running a household, feeding the pets, and helping take care of my parents. So why did I call myself an idiot that day (and many, many days in the past)?

Because sometimes my brain is a jerk. That’s what I learned recently when I read the book “Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking” by Jon Acuff. I’m betting your brain can be a real jerk sometimes, too. What we say to ourselves (either out loud or internally) really does matter — so much more than we realize. The soundtracks playing inside our own head have power, so we should make sure they’re true, helpful and kind.

I’ve been a Jon Acuff fan for a decade now, so I’ve been looking forward to this new book which hit the shelves in April. His last book, titled Finish, was SO good and I highly recommend it. But this one….it’s just as amazing and it feels even more personal. Because this book is about that ongoing conversation we have with ourselves and how those words and beliefs impact our day-to-day lives and our future. If you’re an overthinker (like I and a gazillion other people are), this book will smack you right between the eyes and convince you that those broken soundtracks you’ve had on repeat have got to change.

Even better, the book gives plenty of concrete examples (and lists! I love a list!) of exactly HOW to deal with overthinking and change it.

I typically order new books to read on my Kindle app, but I bought the hardcover for this one because I knew it was going to be a book I’d read with a highlighter in hand. And that’s exactly what I did. I highlighted too many lines to mention here, but here are three that jumped out at me and demanded I whip out the bright yellow highlighter (which just happens to match the happy yellow color inside the cover of the book):

“One of the greatest mistakes you can make in life is assuming all your thoughts are true. We tend to believe that if it’s in our head, it must be accurate.”

“When you’ve got broken soundtracks firing shots at yourself all day, no wonder you get stuck. Your ‘team of one’ isn’t a safe place for growth or innovation.” 

“Proof won’t find you; you have to find it. Fear comes free. Faith takes work.” 

Even if you don’t typically read books like this one, trust me when I say this one is different — mostly because Jon is such a funny writer (and speaker) and refuses to bore you to death, even though he manages to pack plenty of brain science and research into this book. I laughed out loud several times while reading, and I bet you will, too.

Most of all, this book forced me to deal with the bitchy voice in my head that has been treating me like crap for way too long. (You’ve got one of those, too? I’m beginning to think it comes standard with motherhood.)

I’m paying more attention to that internal voice and demanding that it tell the truth, that it be helpful, and that it be as kind as I always try to be to my friends. I’m also trying to make sure my three teenage kids don’t fall into the same overthinking traps where I’ve spent too much time.

For my fellow overthinkers, don’t spend time on this decision. Just get the book, read it, enjoy it, and learn. Your brain will thank you later.