A winning mixture of practical encouragement and big-picture advice.

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CREATING YOUR LIFE

From the Lifetime of Learning series , Vol. 1

A life manual targets teenagers—and perhaps the adults who love them.

This slim book from Alexander (Sex and Romance, 2015, etc.) lays out the life lessons teens so often and badly need, all emanating from the age-old lament “I wish I’d known then what I know now.” The author’s innovative approach veers away from the list of platitudes and instructions that tend to typify such guides. He instead lays out a refreshingly empowering program that rests on one central contention, repeated throughout the book: that imagination is essential to experience, that how readers picture themselves is the direct path to how they comport themselves. “What kind of person are you?” he asks his readers. “What ways do you picture yourself that hold you back from what you want to be?” The answers to these questions involve what Alexander identifies as the two main ways the human brain creates and organizes its information about the self: the Reticular Activating System, which interprets sensations and helps focus attention, and the Adaptive Unconscious, which regulates perception and helps people to resolve conflicting images of themselves. It’s essential, he writes, that individuals take control of their self-images. He forcefully reminds his readers that “you are not a victim of anyone or anything” and that “you can begin recreating yourself and your reality” by overcoming the blinds spots people implant in their own minds over time. The author makes these kinds of declarations with a very appealing tone of understated authority, an air of nonconfrontational assurance that will go a long way, especially with teenage boys. Alexander is convincingly supportive throughout the book, always reminding his readers that they have the power to change their own visions of themselves, regardless of blind spots or harmful patterns: “It’s difficult to break mind habits, to break the melancholy and despair, but it can be done.” This is an insightful guide that every teen—and quite a few adults—should read and ponder.

A winning mixture of practical encouragement and big-picture advice.

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-937597-20-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: The School of Pythagoras

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2018

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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