Heartfelt and honest advice, even if not groundbreaking.

CREATING HAPPINESS

START LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE

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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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