Sensible tools to help achieve your dreams.

GOALS

THE PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE OF ACHIEVING YOUR DREAMS

A well-articulated guide to identifying and mastering personal goals.

In her concise, straightforward and encouraging new book, Laser outlines the key—and acronym-ready—steps toward the achievement of any reasonable goal. S.M.A.R.T.E.R., for example, describes the characteristics of a “good task,” one that is likely to be completed: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Tested, Exclusively under your control and Researched. Also peppered with nuggets of timeless wisdom from the likes of Lao Tzu, the Dalai Lama, Cicero and others, the book blends practical advice with an inspirational energy that will give readers an extra boost of motivation. Unlike the authors of many chirpy, overenthusiastic self-help books, Laser doesn’t shy away from describing the pitfalls of aiming high. Nor does she deny that there are a thousand more pleasant things to be doing than working diligently toward completing the series of smaller goals that add up to your ultimate aim. As a counter to these temptations, Laser emphasizes that the pleasure of accomplishment and the feeling of mastery one achieves are greater than any temporary distraction. (For good measure, she also offers handy, concrete anti-procrastination tips for when the going gets tough.) Additionally, she suggests examining the practicality of your aims—can you really become a star athlete?—and encourages readers to not only attain their objectives at a personal level, but also tailor the process to business endeavors. The book could benefit from including worksheet sections in order to facilitate the completion of its exercises, as well as clearer numbered steps for breaking a goal into subgoals. Nonetheless, this guide will help jump-start the reader’s self-reflection and action.

Sensible tools to help achieve your dreams.

Pub Date: June 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468163414

Page Count: 50

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2012

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

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WILL

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars delivers a memoir of success won through endless, relentless work and self-reckoning.

“My imagination is my gift, and when it merges with my work ethic, I can make money rain from the heavens.” So writes Smith, whose imagination is indeed a thing of wonder—a means of coping with fear, an abusive father with the heart of a drill instructor, and all manner of inner yearnings. The author’s imagination took him from a job bagging ice in Philadelphia to initial success as a partner in the Grammy-winning rap act DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Smith was propelled into stardom thanks to the ministrations of Quincy Jones, who arranged an audition in the middle of his own birthday party, bellowing “No paralysis through analysis!” when Smith begged for time to prepare. The mantra—which Jones intoned 50-odd times during the two hours it took for the Hollywood suits to draw up a contract for the hit comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—is telling, for hidden within this memoir lies a powerful self-help book. For Smith, all of life is a challenge in which one’s feelings are largely immaterial. “I watched my father’s negative emotions seize control of his ample intellect and cause him over and over again to destroy beautiful parts of our family,” he writes, good reason for him to sublimate negativity in the drive to get what he wanted—money, at first, and lots of it, which got him in trouble with the IRS in the early 1990s. Smith, having developed a self-image that cast him as a coward, opines that one’s best life is lived by facing up to the things that hold us back. “I’ve been making a conscious effort to attack all the things that I’m scared of,” he writes, adding, “And this is scary.” It’s a good lesson for any aspiring creative to ponder—though it helps to have Smith’s abundant talent, too.

A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984877-92-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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