My Dad gave me a copy of this when I graduated highschool in the 90s but I wasn't "ready" for it yet, I don't even think I read it to be honest. Now I'm 37 and realizing that I've put my personal growth on the back burner for entirely too long. I had pretty much given up on making new adult friends. I had actually self-diagnosed myself with Asperger's because I was having such a difficult time trying to figure out why people (including myself) do the things that do. The realization that my marriage was being effected by my nearly empty toolbox of social skills promoted me to take personal responsibility and shoulder the blame myself for once instead of blaming everyone around me for everything. I grew up with a hypercritical Mother so I think I had promised myself that I would never be criticized again, even if that meant writing people off the instant I felt like I had made myself vulnerable enough to be hurt by them.
I couldn't find the copy that my dad gave me so I ordered a new one and chapter 1 alone is changing the way I look at EVERYTHING. I've been plagued with mild depression/anxiety for 20 years and I'm realizing that I've developed some unhealthy defense mechanisms to cope with these issues. I never turned to drugs or alcohol, but the fortress-like walls I've constructed to deal with criticism (real or perceived) aren't much better for me. I've re-read and taken notes on the first section of the book several times now and my wife is noticing and she seems quite relieved, i had no idea I could impact another persons life so strongly.
Like I said, I am only getting started with the book and it has already helped me enough to warrant a 5-star rating. This book has stood the test of time for a reason and I can see why now. The strategies are applicable to and helpful in all aspects of my life so far, from my marriage to my job, and even to the way I interact with clerks in gas stations. I've read numerous self help books in the past, seen a therapist for 3 years, been through the gauntlet of antidepressants, etc, and until now I thought I was wasting my time. I've been learning things all along, but I never learned how to actually apply the things I had learned until now. This book speaks my language and if your background sounds even remotely similar I have a feeling that you'll agree.