From the Lifetime of Learning series , Vol. 1

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

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



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955