A deeply personal memoir that will likely cheer those suffering from chronic illnesses.

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ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

In this debut memoir, Irish surveyor Devine recounts his struggle to come to terms with multiple sclerosis.

During the author’s honeymoon in 2006, a doctor diagnosed a tingling sensation in Devine’s arm as stress-related. The misdiagnoses continued for a year after he experienced his initial symptoms, during which the author even became desperate enough to consult a faith healer. When a doctor finally told him that that he had multiple sclerosis and put him on a drug regime, Devine was so distraught that he "felt at times that [he] had joined the living dead". Two years later, he attended a talk by a Scottish “motivational business guru,” and his attitude changed: “Maybe if I approached my own situation in a positive manner, things might improve just a little.” Devine’s aim to “develop talents and potential” inspired him to make drastic changes in his life: He went to a gym, started his own business, looked for inspiration in other people—such as Helen Keller and a partially paralyzed friend—and even ran a marathon. The author also describes the four distinct types of the disease and about 50 of its symptoms, which, along with MS’ generally unpredictable remissions and exacerbations, often present doctors with a diagnostic puzzle. Toward the end of this memoir, Devine expounds on the things that have particularly helped him: medication, diet and exercise, and “positive mental attitude.” Devine’s messages may seem mixed at times; for example, he asserts that with “the right attitude...it is possible to reverse your symptoms and win the battle,” yet mentions a few pages later that while he generally feels better, he’s “still experiencing daily symptoms.” However, many readers will likely admire the author’s courage and determination. His style is unpretentious and easy to read, sprinkled with Irish-isms (such as “flipping heck”) that will charm American readers.

A deeply personal memoir that will likely cheer those suffering from chronic illnesses. 

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-1478228523

Page Count: 122

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2013

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you...

YEAR OF YES

HOW TO DANCE IT OUT, STAND IN THE SUN AND BE YOUR OWN PERSON

The queen of Thursday night TV delivers a sincere and inspiring account of saying yes to life.

Rhimes, the brain behind hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. She describes herself as a young girl, playing alone in the pantry, making up soap-opera script stories to act out with the canned goods. Speaking in public terrified her; going to events exhausted her. She was always busy, and she didn’t have enough time for her daughters. One Thanksgiving changed it all: when her sister observed that she never said “yes” to anything, Rhimes took it as a challenge. She started, among other things, accepting invitations, facing unpleasant conversations, and playing with her children whenever they asked. The result was a year of challenges and self-discovery that led to a fundamental shift in how she lives her life. Rhimes tells us all about it in the speedy, smart style of her much-loved TV shows. She’s warm, eminently relatable, and funny. We get an idea of what it’s like to be a successful TV writer and producer, to be the ruler of Shondaland, but the focus is squarely on the lessons one can learn from saying yes rather than shying away. Saying no was easy, Rhimes writes. It was comfortable, “a way to disappear.” But after her year, no matter how tempting it is, “I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary.” The book is a fast read—readers could finish it in the time it takes to watch a full lineup of her Thursday night programing—but it’s not insubstantial. Like a cashmere shawl you pack just in case, Year of Yes is well worth the purse space, and it would make an equally great gift.

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

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