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PERSON TO PERSON

CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND FIX THE WORLD

A meandering but intriguing blueprint for changing social relationships.

A new paradigm for personal and social reinvention.

“Many of us have felt boxed in at one point or another,” Torfs and Ampe write in what will strike most readers as an effective note of empathy, “by crippling debt, or a toxic boss, or a bank that didn’t endorse our business plan.” These frustrations have only been heightened by technology and social media. To combat (and subvert) these habits, their guide examines the ways people typically form personal and social relationships and illustrates advice for these scenarios via a series of hypothetical characters, like 19-year-old college student Jake, who faces the typical dilemmas of impending graduation. In his case, one facet of the solution is to cultivate a greater degree of acceptance from his family in order to lessen his anxiety. The family is to “set aside their frameworks of expectations of what he should be, and instead, consider how to support who he is.”  The authors explore concepts such as the eight “domains” that contribute to one’s quality of life, including emotional and physical well-being, leisure interactions, self-determination and basic rights, learning and personal growth, and so on. In identifying “tensions” in these domains, readers can take action to bring their well-being into balance and rise above the “ethos of blame.” The guide’s sentiments unfold in the bland, often cliched language of most self-help or motivation books: “Your core values will determine how you make choices,” etc. This tendency sometimes makes the book’s 500 pages feel slow and bloated, but patient readers will find the core concept here—the idea of a “heterotopia,” i.e., a radical re-envisioning of human social structures, to be fascinating and well fleshed out. The book is overlong, but the tenets of creating “an optional, effective, secure financial environment,” where people are autonomous agents but also communally responsible, are deftly explored and thought provoking.

A meandering but intriguing blueprint for changing social relationships.

Pub Date: March 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5445-2916-5

Page Count: 492

Publisher: Quality of Life World Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2022

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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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CALL ME ANNE

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

The late actor offers a gentle guide for living with more purpose, love, and joy.

Mixing poetry, prescriptive challenges, and elements of memoir, Heche (1969-2022) delivers a narrative that is more encouraging workbook than life story. The author wants to share what she has discovered over the course of a life filled with abuse, advocacy, and uncanny turning points. Her greatest discovery? Love. “Open yourself up to love and transform kindness from a feeling you extend to those around you to actions that you perform for them,” she writes. “Only by caring can we open ourselves up to the universe, and only by opening up to the universe can we fully experience all the wonders that it holds, the greatest of which is love.” Throughout the occasionally overwrought text, Heche is heavy on the concept of care. She wants us to experience joy as she does, and she provides a road map for how to get there. Instead of slinking away from Hollywood and the ridicule that she endured there, Heche found the good and hung on, with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford starring as particularly shining knights in her story. Some readers may dismiss this material as vapid Hollywood stuff, but Heche’s perspective is an empathetic blend of Buddhism (minimize suffering), dialectical behavioral therapy (tolerating distress), Christianity (do unto others), and pre-Socratic philosophy (sufficient reason). “You’re not out to change the whole world, but to increase the levels of love and kindness in the world, drop by drop,” she writes. “Over time, these actions wear away the coldness, hate, and indifference around us as surely as water slowly wearing away stone.” Readers grieving her loss will take solace knowing that she lived her love-filled life on her own terms. Heche’s business and podcast partner, Heather Duffy, writes the epilogue, closing the book on a life well lived.

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781627783316

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Viva Editions

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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