Inspiring, infectious, and at times exhilarating; especially uplifting for anyone tormented by self-doubt.




A punchy, motivational exhortation to think deeply about life.

Wise, a trainer/coach who hosted an online radio show, says his goal for this debut is “to infuse success principles with neuroscience in an easy to understand conversation.” For the most part, he succeeds. Much of the material falls into the power-of-positive-thinking genre; the book boils down to the notion that one can accomplish almost anything with the right mindset. While this is a familiar self-improvement theme, the content is well packaged. There are 21 short chapters; each addresses a particular situation and concludes with specific action steps. This structure allows readers to isolate small, definable areas and resolve them individually rather than feel bulldozed by multifaceted problems that demand complex solutions. There is a great deal of flexibility; chapters stand alone and can be read in any order. The topics are intriguing; “You Have Been Misdiagnosed,” for example, notes how others’ perceptions can skew one’s judgment of oneself. The effect becomes clear in the questions the author asks: “Is there a decision that you made that was not truly what you wanted to do? Was that decision based on what someone else thought you should be doing or would be good at doing?” Some of Wise’s salient observations are eye-opening; e.g.: “When your beliefs are limiting beliefs, you will fight just as hard for them,” and “If you are only doing enough to get what you think you can have, you will never get what you actually want.” The writing style here is engaging and intimate. Wise’s voice is consultative yet friendly; his prose is constructed in “me-to-you” fashion, making it personal and nonthreatening, and he uses examples taken from his own life experience to drive home his points. He is relentlessly positive and encouraging yet has the ability to tell it like it is.

Inspiring, infectious, and at times exhilarating; especially uplifting for anyone tormented by self-doubt.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73262-590-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: WiseDecisions

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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