An insightful, accessible guide to feeling good by doing good.



Ideas and exercises for finding stability and meaning in a divisive, destabilizing world.

In the wild year that was 2020, Bryant looked around and realized that Americans were deeply divided. Curious about what happened and how we might realign ourselves, the author started doing the research that would become this book. Bryant trained as a sociologist, but she also has a wealth of experience creating resources used in elementary and secondary social and emotional learning curricula around the world. Part 1 covers working on oneself: fostering self-respect, maintaining intellectual flexibility, learning from negative emotions, and developing other skills that promote lasting happiness. In Part 2, we’re invited to consider that how we treat others affects our own well-being. She describes how people have evolved to cooperate—to give up some personal freedoms in exchange for the benefits of living in a society—and looks at the ways we can enhance our lives by seeking community. Bryant builds upon the first two sections in Part 3, where she explores belief systems spanning the globe and thousands of years of history looking for core moral principles. Each chapter ends with journal prompts—questions like “Have you ever changed a behavior or created a new habit? How did you go about it?” Along the way, Bryant draws from a wide array of resources, from the work of contemporary happiness researchers and evolutionary biologists to Thomas Paine and Confucius. An attempt to address “identity politics,” however, offers a simplistic critique: “Real injustices have happened, and people are reasonable to want that to be acknowledged and corrected. But if the goal is truly to reach our society’s ideals for equality and fairness, we need a different approach that doesn’t wrap people’s identities in a shared sense of suffering.” In its entirety, this is a comprehensive program for creating a healthy culture by creating a healthy self, but Bryant offers an excellent annotated index in case readers need a quick hit of wisdom or a refresher course on a particular topic. And anyone who wants to go deeper can find her sources in the “Notes” section at the end of the book.

An insightful, accessible guide to feeling good by doing good.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 9780984905669

Page Count: 337

Publisher: LoveWell Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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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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