A valuable and compact approach for removing the most corrosive tendencies of self-criticism.


A debut guide explores ways to control and silence self-doubts.

“The Critic operates inside of you,” writes Ross in his book. “It is your enemy.” In a brief narrative characterized by this type of blunt language, the author describes the three central components of the kind of deeply internalized self-criticism that’s the subject of his manual. This self-criticism (“the Critic”) is first of all autonomous—it’s not a product of conscious choice. Second, this censure is also, paradoxically, external, created from negative input received as a child (“Even though the criticism comes from within, it is foreign in nature”). And third, this appraisal is completely negative and malicious. Ross breaks down every aspect of the Critic and its tactics, always in sharp, succinct language designed to be remembered. Readers are told, for instance, that the Critic’s attacks are always lies, since they rely on the presumption that the entire person, rather than some aspect, is deficient (“No one on the planet can be defective, or a loser or worthless…as a person”). The discussion ranges from the toll the Critic exacts on individuals to the cumulative waste and misery it causes the whole world in collateral damage, such as “marital and family strife, domestic violence, divorce, childhood abuse, rape, teen suicide, depression, crime, terrorism, persecution—and so much more.” By skillfully anatomizing both the tactics and the component parts of the inner conflicts that give rise to the Critic, Ross constructs a series of straightforward approaches to fixing the problem. “Since anger is always toxic,” he writes at one point, “the goal is to eliminate it 100%.” This kind of frank, no-nonsense advice will be invaluable to many readers accustomed to the fuzzy generalities of most self-help books. Although the author pays far too little attention to the well-known positive effects an inner critic can have (tact, for instance, would be impossible otherwise), his guide delivers a bolt of refreshingly direct advice on how to ease up on yourself. 

A valuable and compact approach for removing the most corrosive tendencies of self-criticism. 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-578-08492-3

Page Count: 172

Publisher: Out Reach Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2019

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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