A worthy, step-by-step, Christianity-infused empowerment guide to clearing the dark thoughts out of your mind.

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THE DIRTY-MINDED CHRISTIAN

A debut manual offers a program to infuse an individual’s thinking with optimism.

Kirk and Linda Thomas present their work with a playful wink. The husband-and-wife team know what readers will inevitably be thinking when the term “dirty-minded” is used. Their own meaning is subtly but importantly different: They want readers to question how and to what extent they allow negativity to enter their thoughts. These pessimistic thoughts, the authors stress, are both universal and deeply damaging (“No one is immune from the obstacles created with negative self-talk”). They spend the bulk of their book explaining the program they’ve developed for dealing with such dirty thinking. The plan’s acronym, ADAPT2, is derived from a list of components: Attitude, Discipline, Action (“nothing is achieved without meaningful action to create change”), Patience, and Training. These are skills that readers need to develop just like any other. The added T—the “gold nugget” that squares the final letter—is Trust in God, the “real difference maker.” This final element pushes the work firmly into the Christian inspiration category, with the authors frequently reminding readers of the importance of “looking for God’s direction in having a strong, well-defined purpose.” Even so, the volume provides a multitude of rousing stories, many revolving around athletic triumphs and the importance of achieving small victories in order to gain a greater feeling of empowerment. The authors excel in breaking down their message into bullet points and stirring vignettes, always stressing to their readers that negativity “shouldn’t live rent-free” in their minds, whereas positivity should always be welcomed. The manual’s compartmentalized format can make the momentum of the overall narrative difficult to maintain, but the sequential breakdown of each component of ADAPT2 helps the work achieve coherence. Readers may find some of the nostrums championed in these pages a bit on the obvious side (bring a book to the waiting room of an appointment; make a mental note to call an old friend), but the underlying optimism remains infectious.

A worthy, step-by-step, Christianity-infused empowerment guide to clearing the dark thoughts out of your mind.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5320-2853-3

Page Count: 170

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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