A useful and motivational guide to achieving goals through conversation.

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FIVE STEPS TO THE SEX, SALARY AND SUCCESS YOU WANT

A self-help manual that offers very simple steps to getting what one wants out of life.

This latest book from professional speaker Hutchens, author of The Secrets Leaders Keep (2015), invites readers to imagine how they could change their lives if they had a magic wand that they could wave over trouble spots in their lives. One could conjure a work environment, for instance, in which “meetings are suddenly productive problem-solving sessions, and that putz in procurement actually helps you close the deal.” Such a wand really exists, Hutchens assures readers, and its most basic component is something that’s fundamental to human existence: talking. The author’s “Four Tenets of Getting What You Want” all revolve around improving one’s conversation skills, and they hinge on the conceit that “life happens one conversation at a time.” If you carefully and forcefully navigate your way through conversations (including those you have with yourself), you can reach your goals, Hutchens asserts. The process involves the five key steps, which each receive their own chapter: “Clarify Your Real Want,” “Seek Connection or Power—Rarely Both,” “Tune In to All the Conversations,” “Own Your Shit and De-stink Theirs,” and “Know Your Lines—Both What to Say and Where to Draw ’Em.” Over the course of this book, Hutchens writes with likable vigor. She consistently displays complete confidence in the effectiveness of her steps, laying them out by using anecdotes, bullet-pointed lists, and ample space for readers to answer self-help prompts. Some steps seem fairly vague and self-evident, such as clarifying one’s goals and being accountable for errors. But Hutchens’ repeated emphasis on getting across your ideas more clearly, “whether you’re conversing with a boss, a neighbor, your spouse, or your kid’s coach,” is refreshing, as are her reminders to use humor to defuse tense situations. The book’s interactive elements will encourage readers to step back and look at the world in proactive terms, and the author’s plainspoken clarity drives home the point that everyone possesses the tools to improve their existence.

A useful and motivational guide to achieving goals through conversation.

Pub Date: March 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0693-7

Page Count: 230

Publisher: Houndstooth Press

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2020

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

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GREENLIGHTS

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

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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