A practical plan for getting out of the weeds and following the ideal path.

LOVE YOUR LIFE

CULTIVATING YOUR VISION AND TENDING YOUR DREAMS

A debut author dispenses advice on how to design the life of your dreams.

Your life is a garden that requires careful, deliberate tending, according to professional coach Young. Yet too many people let their gardens go to seed, finding themselves frustrated and unfulfilled even if they enjoy the outward trappings of success. In this pithy guide, Young walks readers through the process of creating a “lifescape that feeds your soul and gives you a reason to be excited when you get up in the morning.” Just as a gardener must select the right plants for the climate and the soil, so must we all identify the “required ingredients of our dream life,” she argues. Fortunately, Young has devised a process to help people do exactly that. She begins by encouraging readers to “discover what makes your heart sing,” then discusses topics such as clarifying needs and wants, tracking progress, making use of available resources, creating an action plan, and enhancing one’s professional image. Each chapter ends with a series of pointed questions for readers to answer, which will help them apply that section’s lesson to their own lives. The goal is to move through the book sequentially, ending with a clear vision for the road in mind as well specific criteria for success and a sense of possible obstacles ahead. Though the title suggests a more general self-help tome, the book is primarily focused on helping people find their perfect career paths. The tone throughout is perky and positive, with the implication that once readers have decided what they want out of life, they’re halfway to making it a reality. This rosy “if you can dream it, you can do it” outlook is encouraging, but there’s less discussion about what to do when readers hit a bump or how to cope when their dreams and talents don’t align. But for those who have a nagging sense that there’s something missing from their lives, Young’s work is a valuable starting point.

A practical plan for getting out of the weeds and following the ideal path.

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9971207-4-5

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Emerald Lake Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2017

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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