While it lacks innovative concepts, this guide presents a high-quality overview of many well-known self-help principles.

WEB TO SUCCESS

A debut book unravels a tangle of insights and techniques for self-improvement.

Presenting an intertwined web of principles, this manual is divided into three parts: self-awareness, emotional awareness, and personal development. In the first section, Bird shares the steps individuals must take to become conscious of their values, feelings, weaknesses, and assumptions. In addition, she reveals the wide range of benefits for doing so, including more control over one’s life, less stress, enhanced communication, and greater success in achieving goals. Next, she encourages readers to become more emotionally aware and maximize some of the most meaningful emotions, such as love, optimism, humor, compassion, and forgiveness. Finally, she provides practical tools and strategies “to become more mature” and organized, such as striving for a work-life balance, managing time wisely, improving concentration, and developing better verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Bird’s teaching style is multifaceted, with an engaging mix of relaying information, drawing on other sources, and disclosing personal experiences. She’s also quick to call her audience to action, stating often that change comes not in reading but in doing. The quality of this work is not in the novelty of the principles as much as the arrangement of them. Readers may not have many grand “aha!” moments; instead they will find simple reminders of valuable principles and ways to implement them. The content is well-structured and easy to follow. Profound quotes throughout the volume enhance the reading experience. Bird is quick to admit personal weakness, which makes her relatable, but unfortunately this also may deter some readers from embracing advice that the author is suggesting but not following herself. On the whole, however, Bird’s tips are sound and her thoughts are well-articulated. There is much wisdom to be gained in these pages.

While it lacks innovative concepts, this guide presents a high-quality overview of many well-known self-help principles.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5246-6623-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2017

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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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