A well-intentioned, sincere work that’s heavy on inspiration but light on substance.

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Anyone Can Be Successful

COME INSIDE AND FIND OUT HOW . . .

A lean, general-purpose business-success guide that largely treads familiar ground.

This debut work by self-made Australian businessman and international speaker Oxford addresses such success-related topics as making positive change, building self-esteem, improving communication, resolving conflicts, setting goals, and using feedback from others. The author exudes enthusiasm and offers tidbits of useful advice that draw from his own experiences. Oxford writes, for example, “If we continually absorb negative feedback and we believe this, this will become our destiny.” About having the will to succeed, the author advises, “The strategy is always to drive, not to be driven; lead, not follow; always have that petrol tank quarter full; and have 20 percent of your healthy energy in reserve every day!” Readers may also benefit from one of the long chapters about communication, which the author writes is “the essence of success”; Oxford discusses and explains three types of interaction: voice communication, “non-voice communication and physical language,” and “action listening and paraphrasing.” That said, a lot of the author’s topics have been covered repeatedly in many other books. Most chapters run no longer than four pages of text, including an occasional full-page cartoon, so the content often feels abbreviated; at less than 75 pages, including the index, there isn’t much room for any depth. Overall, the book is hampered by informality and a lack of precision, and the prose can be awkward and uneven. For example, most chapter titles are, appropriately, short phrases, such as Chapter 2, “Managing and Understanding Self-Esteem,” but Chapter 3’s title is woefully overlong: “How do we start reprogramming and programming our control centre for a much better life and for great success, let’s stop talking about it and get on with some simple—however effective—strategies!”

A well-intentioned, sincere work that’s heavy on inspiration but light on substance.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1503502727

Page Count: 76

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2015

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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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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION

The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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