A heartfelt guide to personal success.

ILLOGICAL

SAYING YES TO A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS

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. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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

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GREENLIGHTS

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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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