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ILLOGICAL

SAYING YES TO A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS

A heartfelt guide to personal success.

An accomplished athlete becomes a cheerleader.

In 2015, Nigerian American linebacker Acho suffered an injury that caused him to be dropped by the Philadelphia Eagles. The footballer, who had been cut five times by the age of 25 and traded after his rookie season, faced a real dilemma: the need to reinvent himself as something other than a football player. Acho draws on that experience, biblical stories (David and Goliath, Noah), and the successes of people like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and his own immigrant father to offer upbeat encouragement to anyone mired at a crossroads in life. Now an Emmy Award–winning sports analyst for Fox Sports and host of the podcast—and author of the book—Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, Acho urges readers to follow their dreams, take risks, and refuse to let other people tell you that what you want is not logical. “Take the chance,” he advises. “Life is short and tomorrow is not promised. Do not live a half-filled life leaving yourself to wonder, ‘What if ?’ Just go do it.” He cautions against letting other people determine your value or success and even advises against aiming toward one particular goal: “If you open up your peripheral vision to different paths your impact is so much greater than crossing one finish line.” Children, he reminds readers, “just believe, they don’t overcomplicate things” by weighing the pros and cons of whatever they want to do. “My coach always used the phrase, ‘Paralysis by analysis,’ ” Acho writes. “Don’t overthink, just believe, and thus achieve.” The author urges readers to find their natural gift—something they’re inherently good at or thoroughly enjoy—and develop it through perseverance and hard work. Never let other people’s doubt stop you, he insists: “The moment you think to yourself, ‘I might be crazy,’ is the first checkpoint on your path to accomplishing greatness.”

A heartfelt guide to personal success.

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-83644-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: An Oprah Book/Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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GREENLIGHTS

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

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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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