TWO RIVERS OF THE MIND

A SIMPLE AND FUN GUIDE TO YOUR DESIRES IN LIFE

An inspiring and educational read for open-minded success seekers.

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A leadership trainer and life coach offers a distinctive perspective on making choices.

In his debut book, Bourg examines what he perceives as “the two rivers of our minds.” It’s not as esoteric as it may sound. The author teaches readers how to choose a life of happiness and abundance over one ruled by detrimental “fears, acts,” and “beliefs.” He creates a fictional character, Captain Bon, who guides the audience on an adventurous journey to self-discovery. “Self” is the key word here. While the tale is ostensibly about Bon, a tugboat captain, the author invites readers to craft starring roles in their own stories. Bon dispenses his knowledge on a wide array of topics that can either help or hinder happiness and growth, among them: procrastination; habit forming and breaking; decision-making; imagination; strategic thinking; visualization; persistence; determination; and self-confidence. Bourg’s message emerges as Bon pursues his dream of traveling to Mount La Felicidad. His challenges and decisions along the way are drawn from some carefully curated life experiences of the author and others. Some of the book’s most instructive moments come when Bourg actively steps into the tale and speaks directly to readers rather than using his alter ego to illustrate his principles. Some may find that Bon (which means “good” in French) and La Felicidad (“happiness” in Spanish) make the concepts lighter and easier to digest; others may consider the literary device distracting or gimmicky. Regardless, the book provides valuable insights, such as the author’s 10 success principles and 10 success pitfalls. In addition, Bon’s seven truths about life include looking at existence through the uncorrupted eyes of a child. Lessons learned from Bon’s battle against his lifelong foil, Señor Doubter, are stirring. Bourg devotes a full chapter to Bon’s strategic choice: figuratively dividing himself into three entities (designer, engineer, and CEO), each with his own role in promoting success. The author half-jokingly acknowledges that the concept may cause some to question Bon’s sanity. But Bourg suggests that many accomplished people already live “their lives this way” even though they may be unaware of it.

An inspiring and educational read for open-minded success seekers.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5320-7042-6

Page Count: 270

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

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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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GREENLIGHTS

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

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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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