KEEP ANY PROMISE by Karim H. Ismail


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A simple, straightforward prescription for attaining lofty life goals which avoids superficiality and unrealistically rosy proclamations.

Ismail has read widely in self-improvement literature–his list of recommended resources at book’s end runs to five pages and includes books, films, software, websites and seminars. Not surprisingly, then, his effort fits neatly into the tradition of upbeat, pragmatic and personal tools for bettering oneself financially, spiritually and otherwise. From familiar fill-in-the-blank exercises to the inspiring quotes that preface each chapter, this ground was well-trodden long ago. Still, even longtime fans of Wayne Dyer or attendees of Tony Robbins seminars may find something new in Ismail’s dictums. If nothing else, the author brings admirable clarity and brevity to the field. Readers rarely need to scan a sentence twice to discern his meaning, and a quick look at his life-changing exercises need not take more than a single sitting. Ismail’s optimism comes across as genuine and unforced. Tales of his travails as an immigrant from Kenya to Canada and the recounted experiences of family and personal friends usually engage. They are occasionally puzzling, however, as when one exemplar proclaims that all human ailments appear to be related to the spine. The author’s method is both rational in design and pleasant to execute. In easy-to-digest stages, he walks readers through self-evaluation, intermediate range goal-setting and methods for overcoming obstacles to achievement. Ismail advises readers to set 20-year goals, but getting to that far-off plateau is accomplished in bite-size increments, through goals and plans for next week, the next 90 days, six months and so on. Along the way, the author displays his self-improvement erudition with mostly well-chosen motivational anecdotes and quotes from the likes of the Dalai Lama, Goethe, Richard Bach and numerous lesser lights.

An agreeable introduction for self-improvement newbies that is also worthwhile for veterans.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-595-71947
Program: Kirkus Indie
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