UPSIDE by John Gregory Vincent


A Guide To Achieving Your Unique Potential In Life
Email this review


Vincent’s self-help debut challenges readers to find peace in a focused, “one-life approach to living.”

The author had a 20-year career in the U.S. Navy and personal battles with divorce, debt and alcoholism before he became a keynote speaker, productivity expert and inspirational author. He’s a firm believer that “almost every influence in our lives encourages us to be anything but unique,” and in this book, he offers a series of questions and life lessons to help the reader find his or her purpose. “One-size-fits-all fits no one,” he asserts. Early on, he suggests that readers build lists of their skills (“combination[s] of experience and knowledge”) and their talents (“the innate abilities that allow you do things well the first time you do them”) and use these lists to help figure out their “unique potential.” In other chapters, he explores the importance of accountability and communication in interpersonal situations, preaches prioritization over “balance,” provides “the critical fundamental basics of nutrition” and introduces the idea of “moving with purpose” to keep one’s body as fit as one’s life. He points out that he isn’t attempting to provide “a guide to Nirvana”; instead, he aims to highlight “common threads in people who seemed to have found happiness, success, and a peace of mind.” The author prefaces most chapters with quotations from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the biggest influences in his own life, but the philosophical reach of his book is vast, using ideas previously proposed by psychologist Carl Jung, author Stephen R. Covey and the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book. Indeed, the author borrows so liberally from other self-help tomes that when he offers  the equation “event + reaction = outcome,” he can’t say for certain where he came across it—although he thinks he saw it in Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s Chicken Soup for the Soul (1993). “I write like I think, a bit all over the place at times,” he admits, but his conversational tone and easygoing sense of humor make such moments come off as endearing rather than distracting.

A breezy, appealing self-help guide.

Pub Date: July 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0615773445
Page count: 158pp
Publisher: John Gregory Vincent
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2013


IndieEXIST NO MORE by Detavio Samuels
by Detavio Samuels