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CREATING HAPPINESS

START LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE

Heartfelt and honest advice, even if not groundbreaking.

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This brief debut guide aims to explain in simple terms how to achieve happiness.

Early in his book, business consultant and former CEO Dorais asks, “What is so magical about happiness that it is almost impossible to grasp and even harder to retain for any length of time?” In attempting to answer the question, the author does an admirable job of piecing together quotations and counsel from numerous individuals and adding his own pragmatic advice. Each self-contained chapter addresses a different aspect of the quest for happiness. Dorais employs anecdotes from personal experience and the occasional exercise to add relevance. There is already a proliferation of research and literature about what it takes for one to be happy, so much of the material in this work strikes a familiar chord. For example, one chapter acknowledges the commonly held belief in the power of love with this caveat: “Although love does not guarantee happiness, it does help create the right environment for each of us to create our own happiness.” Another chapter discusses the somewhat obvious notion that finding a purpose in life contributes to happiness: “The closer we are to our calling, the easier our lives get.” Other content is a bit more original; enlightening text explores the intriguing similarities between the human brain and a computer, for instance. The book, which includes uncredited illustrations, offers a lucid explanation of the key difference between objectives and expectations: “Managing expectations is the only way to ensure happiness over any sustainable period of time.” There may not be any startling revelations here, but Dorais is consistently thoughtful and observant, whether he is discussing karma (“Karma is like a bank—we store good and bad credits”) or gratitude (“Gratitude has to be the greatest quality a man can possess”). The writing is competent; the examples are useful; the cited references are pertinent; and the message is uncomplicated. This is an easy read with just enough depth to entice readers to engage in some meaningful introspection about factors and conditions that may or may not create personal happiness.

Heartfelt and honest advice, even if not groundbreaking. (appendices)

Pub Date: April 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9991136-1-2

Page Count: 180

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2020

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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CALL ME ANNE

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

The late actor offers a gentle guide for living with more purpose, love, and joy.

Mixing poetry, prescriptive challenges, and elements of memoir, Heche (1969-2022) delivers a narrative that is more encouraging workbook than life story. The author wants to share what she has discovered over the course of a life filled with abuse, advocacy, and uncanny turning points. Her greatest discovery? Love. “Open yourself up to love and transform kindness from a feeling you extend to those around you to actions that you perform for them,” she writes. “Only by caring can we open ourselves up to the universe, and only by opening up to the universe can we fully experience all the wonders that it holds, the greatest of which is love.” Throughout the occasionally overwrought text, Heche is heavy on the concept of care. She wants us to experience joy as she does, and she provides a road map for how to get there. Instead of slinking away from Hollywood and the ridicule that she endured there, Heche found the good and hung on, with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford starring as particularly shining knights in her story. Some readers may dismiss this material as vapid Hollywood stuff, but Heche’s perspective is an empathetic blend of Buddhism (minimize suffering), dialectical behavioral therapy (tolerating distress), Christianity (do unto others), and pre-Socratic philosophy (sufficient reason). “You’re not out to change the whole world, but to increase the levels of love and kindness in the world, drop by drop,” she writes. “Over time, these actions wear away the coldness, hate, and indifference around us as surely as water slowly wearing away stone.” Readers grieving her loss will take solace knowing that she lived her love-filled life on her own terms. Heche’s business and podcast partner, Heather Duffy, writes the epilogue, closing the book on a life well lived.

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781627783316

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Viva Editions

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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