A useful, reassuring guide to midcareer course correcting for attorneys.

WINNING IN YOUR OWN COURT

10 LAWS FOR A SUCCESSFUL CAREER WITHOUT BURNING OUT OR SELLING OUT

Lawyers tired of the rat race should take responsibility for crafting a more fulfilling career, according to this spirited self-help book.

Lefkowitz, an attorney and career coach, aims her advice mainly at other lawyers who feel as if they’re stuck in a rut, endlessly overworked, underpaid, and trapped by law school debt or family obligations. All is not lost, she contends, if readers are willing to shape their careers by “design” rather than by “default.” She lays out 10 principles of successful career change that can help readers assess their circumstances and prospects, collect data to use in making choices, let go of past decisions that aren’t working instead of doubling down on them, get along with colleagues, bring in more revenue that will boost their clout within their firms, shift their mindsets from pessimism and caution to hopefulness and confidence, and gird themselves for the risk and discomfort that come with making major career changes. Lefkowitz illustrates these principles with anecdotes from her coaching practice, wherein she gently coaxes clients past their neurotic roadblocking and toward career breakthroughs in which they demand free time to have a life, refuse thankless administrative work so they can increase billable hours, claim credit due, reach for a partnership, take a pay cut and leave their soulless corporate firm to work at a nonprofit that defends people against the powerful, or jump off the legal hamster wheel altogether to pursue the dream of teaching. Lefkowitz knows this terrain well—“I’ve experienced the pounding heart and sweaty palms at the utterance of two words by a judge, ‘Ms. Lefkowitz?’ ”—and writes about it in vivid, earthy prose. (“ ‘So,’ I asked Marjorie, ‘what exactly makes you feel so loyal to these douchebags?’ ”) Her advice is as straight to the point as a well-written legal brief—“dread, sadness, or crying at the thought of going to work” is a sure sign that a change is needed—and sometimes pithily aphoristic. (“Here’s the thing about people pleasing. It’s never enough….If you can’t say no, you will find yourself buried in a pile of yesses.”) Lawyers in particular will appreciate the author’s lessons, but others will glean important insights as well.

A useful, reassuring guide to midcareer course correcting for attorneys.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63905-130-4

Page Count: 163

Publisher: American Bar Association

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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