Your Erroneous Zones

By Wayne W. Dyer

13,429 ratings - 4.05* vote

THE RECORD-BREAKING, #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – OVER 35 MILLION COPIES SOLDThe first book by Wayne Dyer, author of the multimillion-copy bestseller Pulling Your Own Strings and national bestsellers There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem and Wisdom of the Ages, a positive and practical guide to breaking free from the trap of negative thinking and enjoying life to THE RECORD-BREAKING, #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – OVER 35 MILLION COPIES SOLDThe first book by Wayne Dyer, author

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Book details

Paperback, 320 pages
December 5th 1993 by HarperTorch

(first published August 1976)

Original Title
Your Erroneous Zones
0061091480 (ISBN13: 9780061091483)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


honestly, I don't know why it received a 3 star rating. This book changed my outlook! Dyre teaches us that Approval seeking is engrained in our culture. Some feel guilt and shame and are constantly seeking approval doubting themselves and not being able to decide or process their feelings to acheive compromise or a rational result. They value peoples opinions more than they value their own especially if those people they seek approval of are close and important to them. This develops at a very young age. It has to do with self-worth yes, but it develops at school, in our culture, from our parents attitudes. The best thing about this book is it gives you a very nice little test to take to determine which areas you really need to work on, Approval, Self-Love, Perfectionism, etc... I would recommend this book to anyone who has always doubted their own abilities and struggle with dependency and reliance on others to make their decisions for them. It teaches you how to disarm people who criticize you and makes you realize that people have different experiences, right or wrong. If you open yourself up to negativity, to vulnerability, then most people will tend to dump their insecurities on you. It teaches you to accept responsibility for your actions, to stop worrying about the future, to live in the now, and to stop saying sorry and apologizing for every single thing, mistake or not! One more thing, stop asking this or that person if your judgement is right or wrong. Think it through, write the negatives and positives (pros and cons) of feeling the way you do and then rationalize it. This will stop your impulsive behaviour to lash out. You think relationship books helps? THEY DON'T! These books do! If you want to have a meaningful relationship, start by building yourself, by accepting your mistakes, but not beating yourself up for it. The more you think positively, the more radiant and attractive you feel, and the more assertive your behaviour will be. Let me say that I am stating the obvious, and it is easier said than done! But running a marathon will probably be easier than changing your self-defeating habits. It will take time, take focus, (read Think Fast Think Slow) and it will take a lot of verbatim with yourself. Don't expect others to help you along the way, to seek marriage in order to seek security, to seek love for the sake of running away from your problems. The end result is disastrous! Seek instead self-love, self-worth, and accept people for who they are, accept what they say but never internalize it. you never know what people are really thinking, and you can never truly trust a person's judgement until you trust your own first! It is a book I will read and re-read and re-read! The one thing to keep in mind is that you need not only to read but to practice the things you've learned. So stop beating yourself up, compromise, disarm those who feed your negativity, and rationalize by taking nothing personally and start living your life the way you want and stop worrying about what others think of you. Accept love, stop fearing the outcomes, predict nothing, and enjoy every single minute! I hope this helps!

Ypatios Varelas

Many people will hate me for my review, others will be puzzled. But it can save your life. Literally. This book is a fine example of how (literally) dead wrong a guru with no scientific knowledge can be on his ideas and beliefs, which however seam nice and adorable and people follow them with no further research.

There are many, many false ideas, assumptions, conclusions that violate human physiology and how our mind works (which can also affect our health!), such as
- Our thoughts create our feelings
- You can choose your thoughts by decision and that will change your feelings
- You can choose health over illness
- By changing the words you use, you can change your reality
- You can replace you erroneous beliefs by new positive ones just because you want to
- You can ignore your negative emotions like they don't exist
... and many, many others.

The core philosophy of this book is that we can all change our life just by changing our ideas and beliefs. Although it does spot ideas and beliefs that cause trouble, if fails miserably in how to change them and in fact suggests ways that can be detrimental to our emotional and, in the end, our physical health. I don't want to sound cruel, but Wayne Dyer failed to choose his own health over illness. He struggled with leucemia for some years and finally died from heart attack and his people tried to convince us that his cause of death was irrelevant to his illness. Even if it's true, heart attack at 75? A man who had found ways to think positive and live happily without stress? Please spend some good time thinking about it.

Biology and neuroscience have proved the bad effects of ignoring and suppressing our negative thoughts and emotions on our body and eventually our health. Psychology has found ways of intervention that are much more effective and healthy than the ones suggested in this book. What we have here is a book written in 1976 by a man who clearly does not know how our brain works and is lost in phenomenology.

By using nice words, comforting language and blaming "bad thoughts" this book may have affected millions of people and probably did some damage to many of them. Especially if you are sick, I suggest that you stop reading this book and others like that to save your life. Respect your negative emotions and thoughts and use healthy ways of administering them, changing your mind reality and processes and improving your life such as meditation, mindfulness, contemporary techniques of positive psychology and if things get serious ask for help such as Mindfulness based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MCBT), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or other healthy interventions. This book is so wrong and dangerous that I wouldn't suggest reading it even for the few nice ideas you can find there.

Caitlin Da Silva

YOUR ERRONEOUS ZONES by Wayne W. Dyer is a book that challenges you to question your emotional habits. Each chapter tackles a different erroneous zone (I.e. self-destructive behaviour) and walks through why the way we ALWAYS respond to situations isn’t necessarily the BEST way to respond to situations— even if the responses are ones that we as a collective label “normal.” Some of these erroneous zones include seeking approval from others, living in the past, feeding guilt/worry, perfectionism, the justice trap, procrastination, and more (hmmm, any of those feel familiar to you?! ??‍♀️)

What I really appreciated about this one is the fact that it made me confront a lot of learned responses and think about how they may (or may not) be limiting me. Wayne emphasizes throughout each chapter that our emotions are choices—it often feels easier to submit to feelings of anger/sadness/doubt when they pop up, but we have the power to shift our headspace. We have a choice on what thoughts we choose to feed.

The book is direct and doesn’t attempt to cushion hard truths. Although I’m nowhere near being free of every erroneous zones for the rest of my life (the last chapter walks through the life of a person free of all erroneous zones and I have yet to meet someone that has their shit together at that level LOL), it’s left me more determined to take control over my emotions.

Overall, I’m going to be taking a look at Wayne’s other books in the future.... his writing style is really easy to follow, so I’m curious to see what other topics he explores. The book was originally published in the 70s, so there are definitely some dated examples, but still a lot of stuff relevant to 2021.

An easy read that provoked some deep inner work... I suspect that this is one I’m going to reread at different stages of my life. ?

Jenny Baker

The audiobook is only an hour and a half, because it's abridged, but it's packed full of helpful information. Here are my favorite points:

We have control of our feelings. We have the choice of how we process other people's opinion. Esteem lies within you, not in other people. That's why it's called self-esteem.

"As you think, so shall you be."

"You are what you think about all day long."

If you put a label on yourself such as "I am..." and your label becomes your reality, then you're acting on that and processing that as who you are. It's a neurosis trap. It's self-defeating. These "I am" statements are a choice. You can choose the kind of personality you're going to have. It's not something you're stuck with. If you say "I'm disorganized," it's because you choose to be. You can be any way that you want to be.

You can do anything!

Don't let an old person move into your body.

Guilt is the immobilization of living in the past. It's very powerful and gets people to conform. Ask yourself, "Instead of feeling guilty now, what could I be doing? What am I avoiding?" Teach people that guilt no longer applies.

Worry immobilizes you in the present about the future. Again, what could you be doing now if you didn't worry?

Ask yourself, "Does it immobilize me in the present?" If so, then get rid of it.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. For example, you may have a book on your shelf at home for decades before you actually read it and realize how much valuable information it contained.

Security is an illusion.

You have to make the decision to change. It's a fear of moving into new territory that keeps you where you are and the fear is only in your mind. A new, healthy, fulfilling, exciting and exquisite life is only a thought away.

Don't keep looking for fairness, justice or for everything being exactly equal. Stop comparing yourself to others and keep your nose out of other people's garden.

If you want to get ahead in life and all that you know you can make of it, then you have to say to yourself, "Why am I choosing not to do that?"

What you think about expands. If you argue for limitations in your life, that's what you'll get. If you argue for happiness, that's what you'll get.

Anything you can visualize you can act upon.

You won't be punished for your anger, you'll be punished by your anger. When you're angry, you're carrying around the seeds of your destruction and the destruction of others. It's not the act that makes you angry. It's how you process the act that does.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to read something inspiring that helps you to change your mindset.

M. J.

I admit to being skeptical of this book before I began. I needed a non-fiction book of some sort to balance my reading diet, and this one had somehow found its way into our bedroom and been staring at me from the dresser for--well, I suspect several years--so I decided I would at least see what it said. I expected it to be a lot of psychobabble pablum of little value. It was so much worse than that.

It hit me wrong twice within the first few pages. First, it made the argument that since we are mortal we have only our brief life on earth and therefore should base everything we do on making that as good, in our own view, as we can. Obviously, if he is right then much of what he says follows from it--but I am of the view that this life is just the opening chapter of eternity, and that what we do now matters in eternal terms. I thus had a bad start right there.

He then attempted to commandeer the word "intelligence" to mean something other than intelligence. Certainly I can understand that people who are not intelligent can still be wise and smart and clever and capable and successful--indeed, more successful than I. I understand that intelligence, as measured by tests and puzzles and logic problems, is not the be-all and end-all of existence. However, as a person for whom intelligence is perhaps my strongest trait it was offensive to be told that such a thing does not really exist. The author suggested that since anyone can learn anything if he works at it hard and long enough, everyone is really as intelligent as anyone else. Right. Tell it to Einstein.

Gradually I began to get the overall theory of the book. People are unhappy in large part because we let other people dictate our view of our selves and our actions. If you want to be happy, you must ignore everything everyone else thinks--peer pressure, parental guidance, schooling, everything you have ever learned, everything society tells you about how you ought to act. In short, you should decide what you want to do and who you want to be, then do that, and not worry about what anyone else thinks.

That seems to me to be the definition of sociopathic.

He tries to avoid that by hedging here and there. You should not do things simply because everyone else disapproves--doing something for its shock value is just as much being controlled by others as doing things for approval. Ultimately, though, the lines are ephemeral, the boundaries nonexistent, and the direction for finding a happy life is simply to do whatever you want and ignore anyone else who suggests that you are making bad choices.

I'm not one for social and societal correctness; I'm pretty bad at it, actually. However, I do perceive major problems with a concept of ignoring the dictates of society. It is bound to interfere with your happiness, whether because it results in exclusion from social gatherings or in incarceration and criminal penalties. The author just assumes that his readers will not go there, without any clear explanation of why.

Now, I am probably not the right audience for this book. It was a bestseller, and probably found its audience among middle and upper middle class businessmen and housewives and others--people whose problems in life are mostly that they are stressed about little things. People with real problems in the real world are not going to benefit much from this--the advice that worry has no value probably won't be much use to someone who is certain that he will be evicted or have his car repossessed or his utilities terminated, and he has no means of forestalling it. Of course it has no value; yet the advice to live life as it comes is not very encouraging to those for whom life comes at you fast, as the insurance commercial said.

So maybe it would be helpful for some people, but frankly I did not find it to be advice I would apply in my own life or recommend to others--at least, in the main. Here and there I thought there was something of worth, but it was buried in material I would as soon not have read.


This book just makes a lot of sense. It completely blew my mind! Herein, Dyer presents us with a completely different paradigm, a new lens from which to look at ourselves and the world. He introduces very many fundamental principles on right living, most of which we are already aware of, but unwilling to apply or fear the consequences of doing so - being that we live in a society wherein we are constantly bombarded on a daily basis with hundreds of cultural messages that encourages us to obey, to conform, to think and behave a certain way, to blame, to seek approval & acceptance, to feel guilt, etc. I'm giving myself time digest everything I've read, the paradigm shift I've experienced, then read the book AGAIN before attempting a "proper" review of this amazing piece of work.


I love Wayne Dyer so when I was helping my MIL clear out and organize her huge book collection and found this old gem, I asked if I could have it. Let me tell you, it does not disappoint. Written in 1976 and his first book, it reads like he wrote it last week. Straight forward and real, this book will hit home for everyone! I'm going slow and learning, learning.

Regina Andreassen

Fantastic! I read it when I was still a teen and then I have read it again a few years ago. The best book of its kind. All those new cheesy, overly simplistic authors who are proclaming they 'know how to find happiness and will take you there'and are now at Harvard delivering subjects on 'Happiness', should probably learn from Dyer. That said, Dyer's writing style has changed and I don't enjoy his actual work as much as I enjoyed his early work...but I don't buy 'happiness' books anymore, anyway.


Your Erroneous Zones is simply one of the greatest self-help books ever written. For people just beginning to read self-help or spiritual books, this book is a great place to start. It is nearly imperative that if one reads any book by Dr. Wayne Dyer that they start with this book. By reading his books in order of copyright, the amazing shift in his philosophy and interests over the years can be witnessed.

Dr. Dyer has written so many books, but important books to follow with this one are "Pulling Your Own Strings," "Your Sacred Self," and "Manifest Your Destiny." Later works include "Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao."

Your Erroneous Zones is a book for people who are just beginning to discover that we all have thoughts that do not serve us towards living a self-fulfilled life. We are given erroneous viewpoints from childhood and can live a more self-actualized life by becoming aware of our self-defeating thoughts.


"Psychotherapist Albert Ellis wrote that Dyer's book Your Erroneous Zones was probably "the worst example" of plagiarism of Ellis' Rational Emotive Therapy (RET). In a 1985 letter to Dyer, Ellis claimed that Dyer had participated in an Ellis workshop on RET before he published Your Erroneous Zones, in which Dyer appeared to understand RET very well. Ellis added that "300 or more people have voluntarily told me... that [the book] was clearly derived from RET." Dyer never apologized nor expressed any sense of wrongdoing. Ellis admonished Dyer for unethically and unprofessionally failing to credit Ellis's work as the book's primary source, but expressed overall gratitude for Dyer's work, writing: "Your Erroneous Zones is a good book, ... it has helped a great number of people, and ... it outlines the main principles of RET quite well,... with great simplicity and clarity." ...hat's off to Albert Ellis!

c/o Wikipedia
...what an apple...RIP