The addition of spirit-channeling to basic spiritual messages makes this an offbeat offering in a crowded genre.


A self-help book featuring accounts of channeled communication by empath, shamanic healer, management consultant, and debut author Wyss.

In 2003, the author believed that she was generally happy—so she was shocked when she had a self-destructive urge to deliberately wreck her car. Soon, she writes, she began receiving messages from spirits, and she recalled similar experiences as a child. After this, Wyss pursued studies in business-coaching and the alternative-healing arts. In 2014, after suffering a brain injury, she persevered through a 10-day training session for entrepreneurs, feeling throughout that she was enveloped by an invisible presence. Later, she says, she experienced a visit from “Mother Mary,” the mother of Jesus, asking her to work with spirits “to reconnect humans back to themselves…through your work in companies.” Wyss realized that her true vocation was as a shamanic healer in the corporate world. She changed her base of operations from Switzerland to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she continued her studies in shamanism while counseling others. Several chapters here, as well as the introduction, are attributed to spiritual beings—including the Archangel Michael, the aforementioned Mother Mary, Neptune, the spiritually enlightened being called Lady Nada, the Native American Medicine Bear, and “the Source.” They’re universal in their praise of Wyss while delivering the book’s simple messages, such as that one should trust oneself, seek enlightenment as much as possible, and endeavor to connect with the spiritual world. Overall, the brief text, organized into five parts (“The Journey Calls,” “Finding Inner Strength,” “The Wisdom of the Heart,” “An Empowered Life,” and “A New Beginning”), is clearly written. The author’s decision to organize the book thematically, however, rather than chronologically, does make the timeline of events a bit muddled at times. That said, the author provides dates throughout to help to orient the reader. Many of the chapters also open with inspirational quotes (such as Cicero’s “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others”), which help to provide intellectual support for the spiritual material.

The addition of spirit-channeling to basic spiritual messages makes this an offbeat offering in a crowded genre.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-8607-4

Page Count: 134

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2018

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.


A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2020

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