These five very unusual essays attempt to define some fundamental problems of human relations. Much of the material was gathered when the author, working through the National Training Laboratories, sought to help people employed in health, industry, education, and race relations to recognize and choose from a wide range of alternatives (from "one hundred million resources") in their quest for a better way to live with themselves and with others. The running theme is getting emotionality to work for you, not against you.
Choice Points is a book written in simple and direct language. In it the author states that "I shall try, as carefully and clearly as I can, just to define these emotional choice points, these emotional problems of living with people. I can offer no clear solutions to the problems. I really do believe that my simple summary of emotional choice points, and their two-way choices, just may be perpetual emotional problems of living together. To define the issues is task enough for me. To resolve them is too much for me. But, it has meant a lot to try carefully to think about just what is involved in these perpetual problems of living with people:
"When to fight and when to run away; and how to fight and how to run away; and
"When to be dependent and when to be dependable; and how to be dependent and how to be dependable; and
"When to offer love and when to seek love; and how to offer love and how to seek love."
Glidewell brings to his task a lifetime of remembered experience as well as the disciplines of social and clinical psychology. Much of the book is cast in the form of personal reminiscence, often accompanied by dialogue. The situations and contexts that he uses to illustrate various kinds of choice points include the rearing of children, business conferences, lovers' quarrels, and the growth and decay of friendships.