A motivational guide to improving one’s life through changing one’s mindset.


The Power To Excel


A debut self-help guide that aims to put the power of change in readers’ hands.

What does the word “power” mean? To some, it might mean the ability to control another person, but to Obi, in this guide, power means the ability to control one’s self. Raised in a small village in West Africa, the author’s formative and young-adult years were fraught with difficulties, including abusive teachers, poverty and other hardships. However, his positivity never wavered due to his strict, demanding parents, who insisted that he succeed at everything he tried, despite the challenges. They pushed him to attend university in Africa, where he was often forced to go without food and other necessities. Through these difficulties, however, Obi learned the power of positive thinking and how people have the power to change their lives if they simply adopt an optimistic view. Obi managed to turn his own fortune around simply by focusing on the things he wanted and imagining that he had them, which in turn motivated him to work harder to create a better life. The author cites several examples of people who excelled due to their own determination, including Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, insisting that “[t]here is no special formula for success. There is no advanced university degree….Success is only a function of dedication, struggles, hard work, learning, falling, rising, persistency, and consistency.” He reinforces this thesis by telling stories of his friends who persevered and ended up successful. Although the writing is often repetitive, Obi’s message is clear and inspiring, and it’s obvious that he deeply believes in his advice. His anecdotes are quick and focused, and the book, as a whole, is immensely readable.

A motivational guide to improving one’s life through changing one’s mindset.

Pub Date: March 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615706443

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Azuka zuke Obi

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2013

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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