An intriguing life story effectively mixed with sports metaphor to provide useful wellness/life advice.

Mountain Mantras

WELLNESS AND LIFE LESSONS FROM THE SLOPES

A founder of a nonprofit shares the guiding life principles that she discovered while learning how to ski as an adult in this debut memoir/self-help guide.

Previously a road-warrior management consultant, Guylay “opted for a career change” to spend more time at home with her young children, and she founded Nurture, a nonprofit focused on family nutrition. She and her family moved from Chicago to Sun Valley, Idaho, leading Guylay to finally commit to learning how to ski, already one of her investment banker husband’s greatest pleasures. She spends the bulk of this book discussing the life lessons, or various “mantras,” gleaned from that experience, including “change your lens on life”; “get some good boots on”; “zoom out for the best view”; and “throw yourself down the mountain,” or commit to action. In an appendix, Guylay discusses the way yoga and other mindfulness practices, including meditation, fit within her framework as well. She brings clarity and enthusiasm to her concepts, including providing bullet points at the end of each chapter to summarize how her mantras can be applied to skiing, wellness, and life, and even offers rhyming couplets—“Embrace imperfection / Failures are moments for reflection”—further encapsulating her ideas. While Guylay’s nutrition tips at times seem digressive, her passion for good nutrition is infectious. Her food groupings in “Recipe Frameworks,” designed to make cooking easier, are particularly helpful, offering readers several ways to combine a grain with a protein source, some vegetables, a healthy fat, and seasonings to make a tasty, nutritious meal. Her struggles to master skiing later in life are humorous, inspirational, and instructive. Overall, an interesting hybrid memoir/wellness tome.

An intriguing life story effectively mixed with sports metaphor to provide useful wellness/life advice. 

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9965328-2-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Healthy Solutions of Sun Valley

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2015

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you...

YEAR OF YES

HOW TO DANCE IT OUT, STAND IN THE SUN AND BE YOUR OWN PERSON

The queen of Thursday night TV delivers a sincere and inspiring account of saying yes to life.

Rhimes, the brain behind hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. She describes herself as a young girl, playing alone in the pantry, making up soap-opera script stories to act out with the canned goods. Speaking in public terrified her; going to events exhausted her. She was always busy, and she didn’t have enough time for her daughters. One Thanksgiving changed it all: when her sister observed that she never said “yes” to anything, Rhimes took it as a challenge. She started, among other things, accepting invitations, facing unpleasant conversations, and playing with her children whenever they asked. The result was a year of challenges and self-discovery that led to a fundamental shift in how she lives her life. Rhimes tells us all about it in the speedy, smart style of her much-loved TV shows. She’s warm, eminently relatable, and funny. We get an idea of what it’s like to be a successful TV writer and producer, to be the ruler of Shondaland, but the focus is squarely on the lessons one can learn from saying yes rather than shying away. Saying no was easy, Rhimes writes. It was comfortable, “a way to disappear.” But after her year, no matter how tempting it is, “I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary.” The book is a fast read—readers could finish it in the time it takes to watch a full lineup of her Thursday night programing—but it’s not insubstantial. Like a cashmere shawl you pack just in case, Year of Yes is well worth the purse space, and it would make an equally great gift.

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

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