An illustrated, fast-paced view of the world as a happy struggle to achieve enlightenment.




A spiritual view of the universe that encourages people to battle to uncover their true selves.

In his nonfiction debut, Kolavo acknowledges that people tend to ask the same big-picture questions of life: “Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? What is the purpose of creation?” In the expansive and inventive worldview put forward in these pages, the answers to these and other questions revolve around how well each person perceives what Kolavo calls the “universal law” that says: “All of life’s experiences happen for a reason and the Universe does not make mistakes”—a law he refers to as “God’s Game Plan.” In his view, all humans are naturally a part of the “School of Life,” with a “Bodyguard” that is their ego and a “Sleeping Giant” that is their soul, and they can choose whether or not to awaken to their true potential or continue to be mired in the shallow day-to-day details of life. We’ve all “been sleepwalking for generations,” the author contends, but we are essentially spiritual beings encased in flesh. “When Body and Soul reunite as one, you will be transformed,” Kolavo writes. In one fanciful sequence after another, Kolavo describes the process of transforming your Sleeping Giant into a guardian angel, of awakening to your true spiritual potential and thereby becoming a “Supernatural Human” right here on Earth, or someone who sees reality for what it is, not merely what science instructs it to be. The narrative is peppy and involving throughout, and Kolavo, borrowing strategies from popular self-help gurus like Wayne Dyer, frequently asserts things for which there is no scientific evidence (that all humans are born with souls) or makes statements that others will see as self-evidently false (such as that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger). Experienced self-help readers will know to navigate such sentiments with care, and they'll find plenty of good material to warrant the effort in these pages, playfully illustrated by Jensen (Pablo and Koji: Best Friends Forever, 2019, etc.).

An illustrated, fast-paced view of the world as a happy struggle to achieve enlightenment.

Pub Date: March 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982223-14-4

Page Count: 158

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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