Advised to unplug, a world-famous media omnivore promptly creates a commencement speech, multimedia conference, hundreds of blog posts and a self-help book about being nice to yourself.
For someone who has drawn much criticism for refusing to pay creators from which she profits, Huffington (Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream, 2010, etc.) understands how to market her own image for money. Here, she describes the moment she collapsed from exhaustion in 2007 and the subsequent process of writing her 2013 commencement speech at Smith College. Unfortunately, the book that grew out of that speech is hollow, manipulative and overly self-promotional. “Since my own final straw moment, I have become an evangelist for the need to disconnect from our always-connected lives and reconnect with ourselves,” Huffington writes in a representative passage. “It has guided the editorial philosophy behind HuffPosts’ 26 Lifestyle sections—in which we promote the ways that we can take care of ourselves and lead balanced, centered lives while making a positive difference in the world.” The author’s concept—that if life is defined by success at work while simultaneously raising a family, then people need a “third metric” to measure happiness—is flawed at best and deeply condescending at worst, especially to women, at whom this self-help manual is clearly aimed. “It seemed to me that the people who were genuinely thriving in their lives were the ones who had made room for well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving,” writes the author. “Hence, the Third Metric was born, the third leg of the stool in living a successful life.” Less than a month after her Smith College speech, Huffington launched the concept as a touring womens conference. One has to wonder how hardworking mothers and self-reliant professionals will regard these questionable pearls of wisdom.
A gimmicky, patronizing book.