Bold, insightful wisdom from a leading proponent of self-expression.

PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER

THE FEAR-FIGHTER MANUAL

A personal growth manual on the importance of speaking up for oneself, particularly regarding matters of identity.

Building on the success of her Rants & Randomness podcast and first book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual (2017), Ajayi Jones, “a proud Nigerian woman,” pulls no punches in this well-organized guidebook. She asserts that the core basis of considering oneself a professional troublemaker involves an understanding that “chaos can come from being honest and authentic and going against the tide,” and her book demands that readers confront doubts and move toward fearlessness. The author’s goal is to get readers to communicate the wants and needs that continually hold them back from achieving everything from simple wishes to lifelong dreams. Split into three action-item sections—Be, Say, and Do—the guide shows how to work on internal issues before expanding outward, cultivating one’s voice to speak up for the greater good, and progressing from mere words to tangible movements that make a bigger difference. Ajayi Jones personalizes the narrative by incorporating anecdotes from her beloved grandmother (“the definition of boisterous”), whose life epitomized the lesson of “living beyond your fears.” The author also includes exercises that show how to maximize personal core values; the power of being an audacious dreamer (“dreaming is a gesture of courage in itself”); and the importance of self-exploration, clarity, and empowerment. Throughout, Ajayi Jones uses examples from her own random instances of impulsiveness to vividly illustrate points about learning from mistakes, setting boundaries, owning your own behavioral fumbles, and being independently fierce. Displaying a unique blend of tough love and compassionate advice, the author stresses that while embodying the kind of self-confidence she advocates may be perceived as arrogance, readers should live unapologetically and persistently strive for—not fear—success.

Bold, insightful wisdom from a leading proponent of self-expression.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984881-90-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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