A moving exploration of personal and spiritual transcendence.

FIXATION TO FREEDOM

THE ENNEAGRAM OF LIBERATION

In this motivational guide, Leela Foundation founder and author Jaxon-Bear looks at how to overcome the ego and find true freedom in every area of one’s life.

Everyone, in their heart of hearts, longs to be happy—so why are there so many unhappy people? Jaxon-Bear has dedicated his life to answering that question, spending years traveling and studying different religious disciplines, such as Buddhism and Sufism. The author has created a unique take on the Enneagram, a popular personality-mapping tool that focuses on nine distinct personality types. But rather than seeing that test as a way to put oneself in a rigid box, Jaxon-Bear encourages readers to see it as a guide to what no longer serves them, as this will ultimately pave the way for them to go beyond the limitations of ego. According to the author, there comes a point in everyone’s spiritual journey when they hit a fork in the road and must choose a path to follow: “You can either continue to believe yourself to be a limited ‘me,’ or you can begin to fully examine the false belief that who you are is bound by time and form.” He explores the nine dominant personality types in depth, including their common traits and negative tendencies. He also offers several inspirational quotes by prominent gurus that help to illustrate key points and themes. The book as a whole is divided into three parts that effectively cover the gradual process of “waking up,” which includes examining the nature of reality, deciphering the Enneagram, and entering a final stage of spiritual evolution. The author’s tone is gentle but insistent throughout this book, and he frequently uses terms like “fixation” and “super-ego” to convey the meanings of complex topics in an accessible manner. For those readers who are new to spirituality-based texts or have never practiced self-inquiry, the book may sometimes feel overwhelming. However, those who are already familiar with Buddhist thought and Middle Eastern religious teachings will feel right at home.

A moving exploration of personal and spiritual transcendence.

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73295-235-5

Page Count: 292

Publisher: New Morning Associates, Inc.

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2020

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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