THE GRATITUDE DIARIES

HOW A YEAR LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE TRANSFORMED MY LIFE

Simple, effective procedures that can be easily incorporated into even the busiest lifestyle.

How a year of being thankful led to big changes in a woman’s life.

When editor and producer Kaplan (A Job to Kill For, 2008, etc.) made a New Year’s resolution to take a full year and show more appreciation in life, she didn’t realize what a difference that pledge would make. Since she had participated in a survey funded by the John Templeton Foundation on the idea of gratitude, she knew that “less than half the people surveyed said they expressed gratitude on any regular basis.” Determined to conduct her own experiment, she began by focusing on being more grateful to her husband, and she discovered little comments made a huge difference not only in her own attitude toward him, but life in general. She then extended her expressions of gratefulness to include her children, income, career, and health. Each week, she made a point of writing down the things, events, or people she was most appreciative of at that moment. Kaplan’s plan to be more grateful is approachable for anyone. Her conversational tone is encouraging, like talking to a good friend who’s having a great day and wants to share it with you. These days, instead of grumbling about the weather or other things that used to bother her, the author finds the humor and bright side of each moment. Having a positive attitude has been proven to change the neural pathways in the brain and rewire a person’s automatic responses. By practicing the art of gratitude, a person can make a subtle change in life, and the ripples can have far-reaching effects. “If we put good into the world,” writes the author, “maybe, just maybe, it starts to be returned.” There’s no harm in trying, especially when one reads how successfully it turned out for Kaplan.

Simple, effective procedures that can be easily incorporated into even the busiest lifestyle.

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-95506-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

NIGHT

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

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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