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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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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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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