In 1998, Huljich was chairman of the board and joint CEO of a large, successful organic foods company, living in one of New Zealand’s largest homes, with all the trappings of success, including stress. And it got to him. Huljich candidly describes the dramatic, full mental breakdown that tore him away from the home and life he’d built for himself and his family. He goes on to briefly describe his personal experience as he returned to mental health, weaned himself off the psychotropic medications prescribed for him, and developed habits to maintain his overall wellness. This telling is far more self-help than autobiography. (Readers interested in a full account of his breakdown can pick up his barely fictionalized Betrayal of Love and Freedom.) While there’s nothing earthshaking in Huljich’s “nine natural steps to survive, master stress and live well,” the recipe he provides for better living is unusual because it’s so practical and seemingly easy to follow. For example, in spite of his experience with organic foods and nutrition, he doesn’t insist that wellness depends on sticking to a strict diet, just a sensible one. But smart eating habits comprise only one of the nine steps in Huljich’s recommended process for achieving better health by developing a lifestyle that acts like a stress buffer. Sound sleeping, exercising and practicing positive affirmations also make his list. Chapters devoted to each of the nine steps are chock-full of practical advice and suggestions that seem reasonably easy to incorporate into a normal (i.e., stressful) modern life. Huljich’s point—based on his experience, not medical research— is that the key to mental health is having a healthy response to stress, not necessarily avoiding it. “A dependence on avoiding stress…is a mask, not a cure,” he writes. These nine steps aren’t the be-all, end-all answer, but they’re worth following.
A doctor outlines best practices for healthier living.
Harry takes a holistic approach to healthier living. With accessible language, the author and physician provides a basic approach for achieving well-being. Harry outlines the basic functions of the body, the facts and triggers that affect its well-being, and the nourishment and activities that complement healthier living in a comprehensive and comprehensible way. Patient anecdotes are woven throughout each chapter to further illustrate points about health and medicine. The author advocates an overall balance of both nutritional and mental health, which “allows the restorative powers of the body to function, while imbalance promotes the disease process.” Harry gives advice that most would consider common knowledge: Exercise, reduce trans fats and other harmful foods, and eat more vegetables. She also, however, provides lesser-known information about stress, its affect on health and how to properly manage it. Readers can find guidance on which foods translate to which physiological functions and what portions should be consumed, as well as factors to consider when buying supplements and vitamins. The book even contains a suggested shopping list: Salmon, mackerel, and anchovies make more than one appearance, as do flax seed, olives, purple grapes and blueberries. Perhaps most importantly, Harry takes a very individualistic approach, acknowledging that every person has a unique set of traits, habits and needs; valid approaches to healthier living can vary. In addition to sound medical education and advice, the book touches on healthier living from an emotional and spiritual sense, an area that many Western doctors don’t emphasize. Harry believes that finding one’s center is key to healthier living, and she repeatedly underscores the importance of a balanced emotional state to one’s physical well-being.
An accessible guide for creating a healthier lifestyle from the inside out.
Combs offers a practical guidebook for coping with setbacks and loss.
Combs (Worst Enemy, Best Teacher, 2005, etc.) uses her extensive experience with cross-cultural conflict resolution to explore ways to survive tough times, even if they feel like conflicts “with the gods.” Although her expertise is evident, she avoids unnecessary jargon and offers down-to-earth, realistic advice that can be used in most difficult situations. Her humor and the sensibleness of her suggestions elevate this work above many in the self-help genre; not only is it useful, it’s a pleasure to read. Combs makes the innovative argument that people may be using excellent techniques to cope with grief, but they’ll still likely fail if they’re using those techniques at the wrong time. Thus, the organization of the book divides difficult times into four seasons, emphasizing that the best coping strategies for one season are not necessarily appropriate for the other seasons. The cycle begins with autumn, when things that have been cherished or people who have been loved “fall” away. Autumn is also the season for envisioning positive consequences, perhaps using a mantra or prayer to increase focus on those potential outcomes. And although American culture emphasizes action and confronting problems head-on, Combs cautions that during winter, people need to rest and gather strength. In spring, celebration and ritual are important in order to mark the ending of one phase of life and the transition to another. Summer represents the cycle’s end, when people are ready to move forward from their difficult circumstances and re-engage fully in life and relationships. In her discussion of each season, Combs offers specific recommendations for how to best cope with the emotions and tasks of that season. She provides multiple examples from countries and cultures, and she enlivens the text further with quotations from people of various ages, ethnicities, eras and professions. The uplifting conclusion is both a summary and inspiration.
A useful grief guide with groundbreaking ideas, expert advice and a compassionate tone.
First-time author Cyr draws from her years of experience as a patient with several chronic ailments in this useful collection of suggestions and advice for other patients.
With few exceptions, going to the doctor isn’t considered a fun time by most people. However, that doesn’t preclude taking steps to be educated and assertive in being your own best advocate, as this guide illustrates. While most readers may be fortunate enough to avoid long-term health care or chronic illnesses, many people, including the author, aren’t so fortunate. This book is a thorough guide to the multiple issues that patients can face and teaches readers how to address them with tact and determination to achieve the best outcomes. Cyr breaks down the material into several general groupings and illustrates her own experiences as a way to drive points home effectively. The wealth of experience Cyr has amassed as a patient and health care advocate shows in her no-nonsense, straightforward explanations and in the easy way concepts are introduced and broken down for readers new to both medical and insurance terminology. Stylistically, the prose is utilitarian but suited to the task at hand, and the chapters are organized logically to make progress between stages of the doctor-patient relationship simple and clean. The material occasionally shows signs of needing updates—some of the issues Cyr points out with prescriptions lacking basic information have been corrected; the information she posits as missing has been included by default with prescription medication for a few years. But, as an overall body of knowledge, Cyr’s work is both thorough and timely. For patients with chronic illnesses and their loved ones, this book can serve as an indispensable guide and helpful resource. For insight into the experiences and issues chronically ill patients face, Cyr’s book may have even greater value to health care providers of any stripe.
The author’s hard-won wisdom is well suited for anyone who ends up spending time in a waiting room, on an examination table or undergoing medical procedures.
A serviceable addition to the crowded field of how-to-network guides.
There is no shortage of business networking books on the shelves, but Les Garnas' contribution to the genre can claim its place among them. The book offers a solid collection of advice for building connections in the professional world, as well as a rationale for looking at every interaction with friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers as an opportunity to establish building blocks for career advancement. The book benefits from Garnas' frequent use of concrete examples, many drawn from his own experience, that illustrate the potential upside of making useful connections in the world of business. One notable strength of the book is its focus on the need for networking relationships to be beneficial to all parties. Garnas refers to the reader's colleagues as “networking partners,” and the theme of partnership – in contrast to begging for or demanding favors – runs throughout the book. Readers are encouraged to find ways to provide as much value as possible to their networking partners, through everything from forwarding relevant articles to introducing a purchasing manager to a potential vendor so they can bring about a valuable contract. Although Garnas packs quite a bit of information into a thin volume, introverts may not find his approach to networking practical or particularly useful to them. The book's advice is more appropriate for those who, like Garnas, would rather share a table with a stranger than eat alone in a restaurant. The book concludes with a series of case studies and suggested exercises that put the techniques and principles discussed in the text to work. QR codes at the end of each case study direct the reader to additional commentary on the author's website.
A useful handbook for those who want to build mutually beneficial relationships in a business context.
Gitelson (Multilateral Aid for National Development and Self-Reliance, 1975) draws upon her extensive background working with various international organizations to create an accessible, encyclopedic reference volume for average citizens interested in contributing to the greater good.
Straightforward prose, a handy table of contents, and worthwhile statistics and examples will help potential donors realize that no contribution is too small and that any amount of giving can bring happiness to the lives of all involved. The book is broken down into numerous categories, ranging from an examination of celebrities’ charitable giving to an overview of the major areas of philanthropy, such as religious groups and higher education. The final section contains a helpful guide instructing readers how to identify reputable charities, how to choose organizations that are in alignment with one’s own passions and how to ensure that donations are properly utilized. Generally, this book works best as a reference guide as opposed to a pleasure read; more than half the content consists of a list of organizations and a rundown of what they do, in addition to an accounting of famous or wealthy philanthropists and which groups they support. In fact, despite the book’s title, most of the philanthropic examples cited are drawn from top-level donors. The material could be better organized, perhaps with an alphabetical listing of the different types of charities followed by a description, rather than compressing them into paragraph form. Although much of the same information already exists on sites devoted to philanthropy, some readers will appreciate that Gitelson compiled it into a single, comprehensive source. Websites are included for many of the charities to help with further research.
Readers with even a passing interest in charitable giving will find this guide to be an informative, go-to resource on how to get started.
Former Occidental College swimming and water polo coach Hopper (Healthcare Happily Ever After, 2007, etc.) offers a concise guide to developing an exercise program.
Hopper notes that seven out of 10 Americans don’t get enough exercise to be healthy. He provides readers with eight short chapters full of inspiring examples and steps to start a fitness regimen and, more importantly, stay with it. Written in lively, conversational prose, each chapter examines one aspect of Hopper’s plan, starting with the one he proclaims most important: fun. The point is to find something effortless and enjoyable, such as dancing, body surfing, mountain or rock climbing, and gradually increase the amount of practice time and effort put into that activity until it becomes second nature. The guide strongly recommends finding a coach to explain how to do the activity safely and effectively, joining a team to provide participants with a support system and exercise buddies, protecting the scheduled time for activity, and seeking supplementary fitness activities that complement the preferred activity, such as taking weight training classes to improve stamina for dancing. Hopper even includes lists of responses to the typical reasons/excuses people use to get out of physical activity. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t cover the reason many abandon their sport: injuries sustained while attempting something new or while trying to move from one level of fitness to another. A chapter on safe workouts, low-impact modifications to activities, and how to keep motivated while in recovery from an injury would have made the guide more complete.
Simple, easy-to-follow steps detail how to develop a lasting workout regimen.
A guidebook to healthy strategies offers more than just advice on diet and nutrition.
Aronoff offers a workbook with principles, examples and exercises that ask the reader to tailor ideas to his or her own life. He takes a balanced, bottom-up approach to the issue of diet and offers strategies for a lifestyle change that involves renovating relationships, perspective, work/life balance and many other life categories. Though the book is designed as a series of chapters that ultimately offer 67 separate strategies, its main chapters are organized by daily, weekly and monthly strategies. Short- and long-term goals as well as major and minor changes are situated in appropriate chapters as a part of a greater action-plan. For instance, a monthly strategy might entail developing a personal relationship with a friend or family member so that the relationship does not drag the reader back into familiar habits. A daily strategy, on the other hand, might consist of proper planning to avoid off-diet foods or bouts of hunger. Perhaps what makes the book so strong is its focus on action rather than ideas or information. Aronoff encourages the reader to toss out those strategies that do not mesh well with his or her lifestyle and to adopt the ones that do. The book works with the reader to find highly personalized solutions to individual challenges. The voice rings clear, objectively and empathetically handling concrete struggles as well as more abstract mental challenges such as the search for greater needs through food. While most of the strategies do not deviate from the larger principles delivered at the beginning of the book, the voice keeps the chapters fresh, engaging and never preachy.
A solid, helpful book full of solutions rather than gimmicks, and a voice that sticks long after the last page.
Two entrepreneurs impart no-nonsense advice in a blunt business book that hits the mark.
You’ve got to hand it to Kuhn and Mullins. The pair started a company with $1,000, built it into a multimillion-dollar business and then sold it to a large corporation. They say their success was based on “the flawless execution” of seven disciplines they identified and followed. In some ways, their business guide is typical for the genre: Each chapter includes real-life examples, quotes from famous people, sidebars to break up the text and plenty of bullets for easy skimming. Nothing new there. But what distinguishes it is its tone of blunt honesty. They tell it like it is. The result is refreshingly different business writing. For example, in Discipline Three, “Deal with People,” the authors write, “The secret is to downsize your expectations of people. They are the way they are, whether we like it or not, and we must accept that. The wise person fights nothing. Acceptance frees us from having to confront feelings of frustration and disappointment when dealing with others.” In a chapter devoted to getting more business, they discuss the use of social media marketing, urging the reader: “Be honest with yourself. Don’t let the excitement of new technologies get in the way of current business goals.” Whether it’s “street smart” or tough love, the authors’ style commands attention. There may not be anything earth shattering about their advice, but it’s packaged in easily digestible chunks. A nice extra is the “Street Smart Workshop” included at the end of the book—a self-paced walk-through of exercises designed to help accomplish “breakout success.”
Wise business counsel from guys who got there the hard way—and who want to help the reader forge an easier path.
Glick details outside-the-box strategies to successfully mediate disputes.
The author takes a balanced approach to resolving disputes from personal injury cases to workplace compensation disputes. Much of the book details ways of using nontraditional mediation techniques to encourage the two parties to find the best possible outcome for both sides. The author repeatedly shows how an understanding of human psychology helps smooth the way toward resolution. Often an apology or a sense of understanding is all a party seeks when entering a lawsuit or mediation. In one example, using his own personal experience of disability as a mediation tool, Glick demonstrates how a nearly fatal accident left him in a better position to inspire clients to resolve disputes and better their lives. He shows a client that living with a disability does not have to drastically curtail mobility—he pulls up a pant leg and reveals the leg injury that left him unable to walk without a brace. The client, who entered the mediation seeking permanent disability compensation, realized that he didn’t truly want a life without work. Glick’s creative, insightful explorations of various scenarios lead to a prismatic understanding of each side of the dispute. The clearly written, accessible book could help those working in a capacity where conflict resolution is necessary. At times, examples become repetitive—even drastically different conflicts are boiled down to bottom-line concepts—but this is a feature of the author’s ability to break down a complex situation into simple ideas.
An encouraging book that sheds light on unique, approachable ways to solve conflicts where people often walk away satisfied.