The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field
by Nathaniel Branden | Bantam © 1995 · 368 pages

Nathaniel Branden is easily one of the most articulate human beings I've read and is one of the world's leading experts on self-esteem. This book rocks and in the Note we'll explore the six pillars of self-esteem—from the practice of living consciously, accepting ourselves and taking responsibility to practicing self-assertiveness, living purposefully and having personal integrity. This is one of my favorite books and Notes that I think you'll love.

But does anything take more courage—is anything more challenging and sometimes frightening--than to live by our own mind, judgment, and values? Is not self-esteem a summons to the hero within us?
Nathaniel Branden

“Apart from disturbance whose roots are biological, I cannot think of a single psychological problem—from anxiety and depression, to underachievement at school or at work, to fear of intimacy, happiness, or success, to alcohol or drug abuse, to spouse battering or child molestation, to co-dependency and sexual disorders, to passivity and chronic aimlessness, to suicide and crimes of violence—that is not traceable, at least in part, to the problem of deficient self-esteem. Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is as important as the one we pass on ourselves.”

~ Nathaniel Branden from The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Nathaniel Branden is a smart dood. Big brain. Very big brain.

He’s the leading authority on the science of self-esteem and, in addition to the big brain/wisdom, he has a fascinating life story.

Nathaniel met Ayn Rand as a teenager and began an intimate relationship with Ayn and her work that lasted over 20 years and included highlights such as Ayn deeming Nathaniel the embodiment of her ideals and Nathaniel helping to create the Objectivist movement. Check out part one of his fascinating interview with Ken Wilber at his web site ( for more mojo on that front and to get a personal look at his life and wisdom.

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem is, as its sub-title proclaims: “the definitive work on self-esteem by the leading pioneer in the field.” Branden’s style is rigorously smart yet still approachable (and almost Emersonially quotable :).

In this Note (as with all the others), I’m less interested in giving you an intellectual overview of the subject and more interested in pulling out some of the many Big Ideas we can *immediately* apply to our lives.

So, let’s get to work. We’ll start with a quick look at the six pillars and then explore some Big Ideas on how to bring them to life.

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About the author


Nathaniel Branden

My mission is to inspire readers to honor their life and happiness.