by Elisa A. Schmitz ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 11, 2022
A passionate if predictable look at how to find inner motivation.
An innovative new conception of successful motivation.
In her nonfiction debut, Schmitz encourages her readers to achieve their personal and entrepreneurial goals by fully embracing the risks and rewards of chasing their dreams, a process she refers to as “becoming the fire.” Central to her program is staying true to oneself while also exploring avenues for change and adaptation. “To become the fire, you need to be your authentic self,” she writes. “People who are their authentic selves are more likely to succeed because they are self-aware.” One’s genuine nature can be found by working through preferences and passions, testing alternate pathways and rejecting others, and eventually zeroing in on abiding desires. Drawing on her own experiences in the corporate world (with occasional digressions about her personal health problems) and the stories of other people, she furthers the discussion beyond the usual motivational talk about “fake it ’til you make it,” stressing that it ultimately isn’t sufficient. “You have to do the work of building confidence, accomplishment by accomplishment,” she writes, “to actually become self-confident.” Schmitz enhances her main points by peppering her text with inset sections called “Sparks” that consist of questions or challenges for her readers along the lines of her central concepts. “What motivates you?” goes a typical such section. “Think of two times your motivation led you to overcome your fear. How did that work out for you?” The end goal of all these segments is to help readers enter into “virtuous loops” of self-affirming habits and affirmations that will yield results in both business and personal worlds.
Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022
Page Count: 312
Publisher: New World Library
Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2023
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.
Awards & Accolades
The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.
Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.
Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020
Page Count: 272
Publisher: Celadon Books
Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020
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by Jonah Berger ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2023
Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.
Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.
By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.
Pub Date: March 7, 2023
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Harper Business
Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023
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