A concise, clear, and helpful workbook.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER

A WORKBOOK AND GUIDE TO FINDING YOUR WAY BACK TO SELF-LOVE

In this self-help guide, McClung (How Learning to Say Goodbye Taught Me How to Live, 2015) encourages readers to do “inner work” through meditation in order to facilitate spiritual healing.

This short, intimate, and interactive guide aims to help the reader explore, through exercises, their own relationship with the “Higher Self.” The author explains that the Higher Self is always inside us, and it’s always capable of repairing the painful and repressed areas of one’s soul. An important first step, she says, is to develop a “safe space” in which to explore and access “self-love.” McClung provides techniques to expand one’s imagination to create a permanent haven for one’s inner work. She cautions, however, that although one may release pain and negative feelings through meditation, one’s practice shouldn’t end there: it’s important, she says, to finish meditation by replacing pain with love. At the end of each chapter, the author presents “Questions to Investigate” that will assist readers in finding other areas that may require healing. Readers are also encouraged to confront their own conflicts and hesitancies about meditation and other core concepts (“Do you believe everyone has a Higher Self?”). Such questions will help readers look inwardly instead of outwardly for sources of confidence, love, healing, and strength. McClung also urges readers to analyze their current relationships and investigate boundaries that keep them from accessing a Higher Self. For example, one question asks, “Who would you piss off by taking back your power and looking inward to your Higher Self instead of outward for love and wisdom?” These types of queries encourage an honest exploration of dependencies and relationship dynamics. The book also contains extensive exercises for identifying negative emotions, encouraging readers to honor such feelings rather than running from them. Overall, this guide promises an enriching, enlightening self-discovery process.

A concise, clear, and helpful workbook.

Pub Date: March 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-7511-5

Page Count: 338

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2017

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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