In her debut “guide for the teenage mind,” Swinburne provides a “life tool box” for parents, educators and young adults.
Swinburne challenges readers to explore the meaning and malleability of happiness, attitude, perception, energy and the mind/body connection by posing a series of quirky questions, from the basic “Do You Know What You Want?’ to “What Makes Up Your Reality?” and “What’s Your Frequency, Kenneth?” The answers to these questions will be unique to each reader, but the author provides each with her own pithy digressions, punctuated with quotations from Mahatma Gandhi, Deepak Chopra and the character Phoebe from Friends, the author’s “favourite programme ever.” The author presents strategies and techniques to help readers put their own insights into action, including a list of helpful “attitude adjustment” tips. Using the research of psychologists in the field of “neuro-linguistic programming” Swinburne counsels teens on how to control their emotional well-being and retrain their “mental chatter.” Readers can achieve a positive attitude by respecting others, she writes, which in turn can lead to a greater sense of personal responsibility, happiness and success. Taking a cue from Stephen R. Covey’s 1989 book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Swinburne suggests that readers observe those who are happy and successful and “model them, do what they do.” She adds a healthy dose of visualization techniques and numerous examples of perception altering physical reality, many from the 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know!? Swinburne keeps her topics accessible with sound advice and assured writing—even when she plumbs the depths of the “smallest levels of reality,” as represented by the Planck scale in quantum physics. The author’s rampant Britishisms, such as “boldies” and “identity parade,” and references to people such as Lord Alan Sugar of the U.K. TV show The Apprentice, add charm, but may trip up some American readers.
A serious, sensitive book that teaches personal responsibility using whimsy and wonder.