LIFE CLUES

UNLOCKING THE LESSONS TO AN EXCEPTIONAL LIFE

Uplifting encouragement to tap into uncomplicated core principles and nurture one’s inner child.

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Children’s television creator Santomero offers advice for adults in this motivational guide.

“What is true for children is true for all of us,” asserts the author, the co-creator of the Blue’s Clues franchise as well as the creator of the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Super Why! children’s television shows. In this book, Santomero outlines 20 “life clues,” concepts for adults to ponder while relating how these principles were weaved into her programs. A protégé of Fred Rogers, Santomero starts things off with Life Clue #1, “I Like You Just the Way You Are,” discussing how the venerable children’s show host’s affirming statement bolstered the author’s self-esteem as a child and ultimately inspired her future career. From there, Santomero takes readers through the remaining clues, including “Take a Moment,” “Always Try to Find Something Good,” “Cultivate Routines,” and “Be Like Daniel Tiger and Buddy Up,” sharing research studies, her own life experiences, and examples from her shows to convey the value of the behaviors under discussion. Each section concludes with “In Real Life” or “In the Real World” suggestions, such as complimenting someone to pay forward the “I Like You” idea and journaling daily observations to “Find Your Clues” and uncover passions and purpose. “Many of the things our adult minds are telling us are complicated really aren’t,” observes Santomero, who makes a convincing argument to follow the simple yet important precepts that play out in her children’s programming in adult life. While not all readers may take the time to piece together the bolded words that she has seeded throughout the text to “unveil a message to be shared with everyone,” the author offers plenty of serious self-development guidance, as well as pithy tips like “Don’t Say Fun—Be Fun.”

Uplifting encouragement to tap into uncomplicated core principles and nurture one’s inner child.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780829456349

Page Count: 160

Publisher: 4U2B Books & Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2024

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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

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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