BURNED OUT TO LIT UP

DITCH THE GRIND AND RECLAIM YOUR LIFE

Stressed-out readers looking to make changes in their lives will want to pick up a copy of this book.

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Houser discusses burnout and offers remedies for the critically overburdened in this motivational primer.

In this self-help guide, the author, a career strategist and empowerment coach, speaks about her own experience with burnout and details how she found her way to becoming “lit up” instead (“Like many women, especially full-time working parents and care‐givers, I slid down the long slippery slope of being everything to everyone—except myself”). The book is chock-full of helpful, battle-tested advice designed to lift readers from the despair of feeling pushed past their limits. The format of the guide echoes its function: The book’s nine chapters are concise and manageable, and not at all overwhelming (Houser recommends reading one chapter a week). The topics range from the impact of technology on our lives to the effect a physical space has on people’s moods. Each chapter contains “questions, ideas or activities” to help “create a multidimensional, badass life that you don’t need to escape from.” The activities, which allow readers to implement the ideas that Houser introduces in their own lives, include reading poems, reflecting on what burnout looks like to them, and tidying a small section of a room. The author’s writing style also contributes to the guide’s effectiveness—instead of brimming with long, winding, and dry stretches of text, Houser’s book features succinct paragraphs that don’t allow their brevity to curtail her message. Despite the book’s concision, Houser includes a wide range of scientific information gleaned from various studies to support and contextualize her anecdotes and justify her post-chapter activity recommendations. The author’s vulnerability in sharing her own story (“Even looking for the resources to help myself out of this hole seemed impossible. I ended up in such a bad place that I needed to take a leave from work for the sake of my physical and mental health”) adds an additional layer of credibility to her advice.

Stressed-out readers looking to make changes in their lives will want to pick up a copy of this book.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9798988925200

Page Count: 176

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

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The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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