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LOVE YOUR LIFE

CULTIVATING YOUR VISION AND TENDING YOUR DREAMS

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

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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GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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BRAVE ENOUGH

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

A lightweight collection of self-help snippets from the bestselling author.

What makes a quote a quote? Does it have to be quoted by someone other than the original author? Apparently not, if we take Strayed’s collection of truisms as an example. The well-known memoirist (Wild), novelist (Torch), and radio-show host (“Dear Sugar”) pulls lines from her previous pages and delivers them one at a time in this small, gift-sized book. No excerpt exceeds one page in length, and some are only one line long. Strayed doesn’t reference the books she’s drawing from, so the quotes stand without context and are strung together without apparent attention to structure or narrative flow. Thus, we move back and forth from first-person tales from the Pacific Crest Trail to conversational tidbits to meditations on grief. Some are astoundingly simple, such as Strayed’s declaration that “Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard.” Others call on the author’s unique observations—people who regret what they haven’t done, she writes, end up “mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions” of themselves—and offer a reward for wading through obvious advice like “Trust your gut.” Other quotes sound familiar—not necessarily because you’ve read Strayed’s other work, but likely due to the influence of other authors on her writing. When she writes about blooming into your own authenticity, for instance, one is immediately reminded of Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Strayed’s true blossoming happens in her longer works; while this collection might brighten someone’s day—and is sure to sell plenty of copies during the holidays—it’s no substitute for the real thing.

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-946909

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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