Offers general, timeworn advice.


Wisdom Flows from the Heart


A cross between a self-help book, a call to action and a sermon, Gwaltney’s Christian-themed book recounts how she turned her life around through her acceptance of Jesus Christ.

In this slim volume full of advice, Gwaltney targets those who come from poor backgrounds. She does not believe that one has to be a victim of modest means; the disadvantaged can find fulfillment by turning to the church and God. Gwaltney states, “If he cleaned me up, I know that God can do the same for you, because he is the potter and we are the clay.” Despite the conversational tone of the book, at times it sounds a bit preachy. The spiritual advice ultimately centers on one common, conventional concept: become surrounded by God. The author suggests reading the Bible daily, choosing entertainment that has substance, turning to God during confusing times and becoming a soldier for the Lord. Gwaltney is most compelling when she tells her own story. For the first 27 years of her life, she says, “I devoted 85 percent of my time enjoying the things in the world and 15 percent in recognizing God as the source of my life.” She lived for the night life of discos. Two major events changed her trajectory: a foot injury that landed her in the hospital and a robbery. During her time in the hospital, Gwaltney realized the depths of her sins, but it wasn’t until she was robbed that she recognized that God had always been with her. From there, Gwaltney submitted to her true calling, began ministering to others and entered Bible school. In more practical ways, Gwaltney offers faith-based tips on jobs and marriage. Using her own failed marriage as an example, the author notes that God should be at the center of every marriage if it’s to be successful. For those open to instilling God more fully in their lives, Gwaltney’s book may give some inspiration.

Offers general, timeworn advice.

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456761219

Page Count: 80

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: July 10, 2013

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A smart collection of articles and interviews on stupidity.


Are people getting dumber, or does it just look that way?

That question underlies this collection of essays by and interviews with psychologists, neurologists, philosophers, and other well-credentialed intellectuals. A handful of contributors have ties to North American universities—Dan Ariely, Alison Gopnik, and Daniel Kahneman among them—but most live in France, and their views have a Gallic flavor: blunt, opinionated, and tolerant of terms in disfavor in the U.S., including, as translated from the French by Schillinger, moron, idiot, and imbecile. Marmion, a France-based psychologist, sets the tone by rebutting the idea that we live in a “golden age of idiocy”: “As far back as the written record extends, the greatest minds of their ages believed this to be the case.” Nonetheless, today’s follies differ in two ways from those of the past. One is that the stakes are higher: “The novelty of the contemporary era is that it would take only one idiot with a red button to eradicate all stupidity, and the whole world with it. An idiot elected by sheep who were only too proud to choose their slaughterer.” The other is that—owing partly to social media—human follies are more visible, whether they involve UFO sightings or “some jerk pressing the elevator button like a maniac when it’s already been pressed.” Social psychologist Ewa Drozda-Senkowska distinguishes between ignorance and stupidity, noting that “stupidity, true stupidity, is the hallmark of a frightening intellectual complacency that leaves absolutely no room for doubt.” Other experts consider whether stupidity has an evolutionary basis, how it erodes morale, and the “very particular kind of adult stupidity” exemplified by Donald Trump. Although not a self-help guide, this book suggests that it rarely pays to argue with blockheads. Unfortunately, notes neuropsychologist Sebastian Dieguez, the “imbecile…doesn’t have the mental resources that would permit him to perceive his own imbecility.”

A smart collection of articles and interviews on stupidity.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-14-313499-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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