A therapist who has made frequent guest appearances on Oprah and whose previous three books have sold over 200,000 copies each, Kingma (The Future of Love) believes that "loving yourself is the greatest work you will do in this life." For Kingma, self-love not only contributes to better relationships and personal achievements, but enhances the ability to be compassionate and generous toward others. Negative childhood experiences, such as abandonment or abuse, that one had no control over contribute to persistent self-defeating feelings of low self-esteem that follow one into adulthood. All of this will be familiar to most readers, as will the four steps Kingma recommends for overcoming patterns of self-criticism and moving toward self-acceptance: mastering the ability to speak out honestly; taking actions that lead to growth; carving out one's own emotional space without others' interference; and "setting out" or focusing on a path beyond the self, via spiritual or other pursuits. What sets Kingma's work apart is that she almost unerringly gets the tone of affirmation right: she encourages without condescension, shares anecdotes without self-aggrandizement or sentimentality, and composes her sentences with care. The results make readers feel as if Kingma has anticipated their needs-exactly what one wants when receiving advice, especially when one has heard much of it before. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.