A useful and motivational guide to achieving goals through conversation.



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

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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...



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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