A searching, compassionate, and uplifting memoir.



Omega Institute co-founder Lesser (Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, 2005) tells the story of the profound emotional journey that ensued after she became her sister’s bone marrow donor.

The first time the author’s sister, Maggie, was diagnosed with cancer, she beat the disease and went into remission. But seven years later, it returned with a vengeance. Doctors told Maggie that the only way she could survive the disease a second time was through a bone marrow transplant. When Lesser learned that she was her sister’s genetic match, she was overjoyed. But she also realized that donation—which would not guarantee that Maggie would live—would mean examining the tense relationship with her sister. “We [had] spent most of our lives circling around each other,” writes the author, “each of us feeling imperfect in the mirror of the other’s lives.” Both sisters began therapy to sort through the conflicting emotions they experienced in the shadow of Maggie's disease. Lesser learned that Maggie saw her as “the big sister…the smarter one, the one going places,” while she reveals that she envied Maggie for being the lovable sister who lived an authentic life. Realizing that neither was perfect, the sisters forgave each other. This opening of hearts in turn led to a deepening of the bond—made physical through the transfer of Lesser’s stem cells into Maggie’s body—they had with each other. Ultimately, the transplant did not save Maggie’s life. Yet rather than view this outcome as a tragedy, the author chose to understand it as a gift that not only expanded her heart, but also showed her that love was the most powerful “adhesive force” in the universe. Drawing on Zen philosophers like D.T. Suzuki and alternative medicine advocates like Deepak Chopra, Lesser offers a soulful blend of life lessons learned and spiritual wisdom that reads like a balm for the soul.

A searching, compassionate, and uplifting memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-236763-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper Wave

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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 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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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