A noble and well-intentioned guide; social media tidbits for optimists.

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101 WAYS TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO DO GOOD

A timely overview explores how to use social media wisely.

The dark side of social media, a component of which is incivility, seems to dominate current news cycles, so it is refreshing when a book focuses exclusively on the network’s positive potential. Leary (Lord Help Me…I’m Single, 2006) rightly recognizes that social media is merely an enabling tool for individuals who “must understand how much power our actions truly have.” The manual’s approach to the subject is both liberating and limiting; offering “101 ways” allows the freedom of a great number of entries but restricts each to the briefest discussion, often a single page. The concept forces content into tiny segments that cannot help but be so simple as to be obvious, as in “Answer Questions,” “Like a Page,” and “Really Mean It.” The restrictive format also promotes repetition; one would be hard pressed, for example, to distinguish between “Don’t Post in Anger” and “Leave Your Crankiness Offline.” On the positive side, though, the intent of the sincere guide is to encourage high-minded, ethical usage of social media; in that regard, it succeeds admirably, and perhaps being obvious and repetitive helps achieve that goal. Who can argue with such decent statements as “Choose your reactions wisely,” “Take care in posting anything that is overly personal about your child,” and “When something makes you laugh, use social media to spread the joy.” One of the more topical entries, “Avoid Fake News,” is addressed early on. “Fact-check your news, people,” urges Leary. “Be part of the movement that stands for sharing truthful news with the world…and speak out when you see fake news being perpetuated.” Also included are some tips that could enlighten and inspire: The book recommends gleaning daily wisdom from Notes from the Universe, viewing inspirational videos shared by Upworthy, and learning something new via TED Talks. The volume’s last entry, which touts “soulcial” media as a way “through which users communicate authentically and ethically to create positive impacts,” is appropriately uplifting.

A noble and well-intentioned guide; social media tidbits for optimists.

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-982203-20-7

Page Count: 180

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2018

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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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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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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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