THE SEVEN GRACES OF AGELESS AGING

HOW TO DIE YOUNG AS LATE IN LIFE AS POSSIBLE

Readers approaching their senior years will find a wealth of insights and motivation in these pages.

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Twelve interviewees share how to “live all of life,” far into the elder years, in this self-help work.

In his sixth book, Elias sets out seven key tenets for reframing aging, gleaned from his 50 years as a psychologist and Chinese medicine practitioner. Twelve “pathfinders” speak to readers in excerpts from his interviews with them. These “modern-day sages” range in age from late 70s to 100-plus. Elias embraces “elderhood” as an opportunity for examining where one has been and where one refuses to go. As such, the book isn’t a bucket-list pep talk; instead, it encourages readers to remember their past selves, as when it asks them to revisit long-shelved dreams and pursue them once again. The work also suggests, among other things, that readers rewrite their life “scripts”; practice mindfulness; awaken joy through humor; exercise; and find one’s “tribe.” The author’s commitments to meditation, seeking presence, and other spiritual concepts dominate the latter parts of the book, but he designates “mind over matter” as the central theme. He effectively draws on his own experiences, as well, to round out his message, which isn’t focused on how to live a longer life, per se, but on ways to pack one’s latter years with vitality. The language is lively and often fun, in part because a colorful profile of each pathfinder opens every chapter. For instance, 80-year-old Carolee Schneemann, a maverick artist and feminist who in her youth attended Bard College on a full scholarship, says that she was once suspended for a year because she painted a nude self-portrait. Widespread recognition of her talents came late in her life, when, in 2015, the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg showed a retrospective of her art called Kinetic Painting. Her advice? “Keep sexually alive, eat kelp, and have a pet!”

Readers approaching their senior years will find a wealth of insights and motivation in these pages.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9966542-3-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Five Element Healing Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2021

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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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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