Motivational speaker, founder and CEO of Alter Your Life, Hall draws on her personal search for happiness and balance to in this self-help guide.
This easy-to-read, optimistic manual–which balances personal anecdotes, brief summaries of scientific research, spiritual pep talks and simple checklists–often states the obvious. We’re stressed out. We live in fear. We should exercise more, stop smoking, eat right, relax, meditate, worry less. Hall conveys credibility and sincerity as an adviser, thanks to her personal testimony and her inclusion of numerous experts in the fields of nutrition and spirituality. She recounts her own pursuit of the American Dream, which followed an upwardly mobile track until a panic attack in an elevator at the top of the World Trade Center. After stumbling upon Thoreau’s Walden, she quit her job and retreated into rural rhythms, following the transcendentalist’s advice to live deliberately, to rediscover her self. Displaying a pop psychologist’s love of jargon and shorthand, she turns self into an acronym for the foundational principles of the program: Serenity, Exercise, Love and Food. At least two philosophical assumptions underlie the approach. First, humans have been created in order to experience happiness. Second, there is a realm of the spirit, of the Divine. Hall, whose own spiritual odyssey has taken her into both Christian ministry and Buddhist teaching at the feet of the Dalai Lama, does not insist on a single path to the spiritual. She ecumenically distills the teachings of all great religions into basic principles. Not all readers will swallow the basic assumptions, but few will argue with Hall’s diagnosis of our contemporary predicament.
Lucid, sincere and comprehensive, if somewhat too familiar.