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IT AIN'T OVER...TILL IT'S OVER

REINVENTING YOUR LIFE—AND REALIZING YOUR DREAMS--ANYTIME, AT ANY AGE

Mostly stimulating stories of women's achievements sure to generate new ideas; best read in doses.

Success stories from women who have taken their lives in new directions.

Personal losses, empty nests, the deaths of loved ones, general dissatisfaction with the status quo—these are just a few of the reasons why the women featured by actor Thomas (Growing Up Laughing: My Story, 2011, etc.) chose to change their lives in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Many had successful careers that brought them a satisfying income but left them wondering, “what if this is all that there is to my life?” These women still had unfulfilled dreams and yearnings, but instead of choosing complacency, they pursued the emotionally and physically demanding route of something new, often succeeding beyond what they could have ever imagined. Most had no special knowledge of the new venture on which they were embarking, although work in corporate jobs did help with planning and networking. What they all shared was determination and a deep longing to explore ideas that they had always pushed to the back burner: A corporate job was exchanged for the ski slopes, a desire for healthy food for a child became a million-dollar business, and a knitting hobby became a gourmet yarn and coffee shop. Many ideas were born from the need for an item—e.g., a cellphone carryall, a day planner and a sippy-cup tether—or a desire to do something radically different, like wakeboarding, working as an actress or being a DJ. Other women wished to help others in need and had a strong desire to give back to the community at large. Straightforward and inspirational, the stories show the pluck and drive found in every woman and give older women the courage to believe in their dreams despite the odds.

Mostly stimulating stories of women's achievements sure to generate new ideas; best read in doses.

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-3991-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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MASTERY

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

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. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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BRAVE ENOUGH

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

A lightweight collection of self-help snippets from the bestselling author.

What makes a quote a quote? Does it have to be quoted by someone other than the original author? Apparently not, if we take Strayed’s collection of truisms as an example. The well-known memoirist (Wild), novelist (Torch), and radio-show host (“Dear Sugar”) pulls lines from her previous pages and delivers them one at a time in this small, gift-sized book. No excerpt exceeds one page in length, and some are only one line long. Strayed doesn’t reference the books she’s drawing from, so the quotes stand without context and are strung together without apparent attention to structure or narrative flow. Thus, we move back and forth from first-person tales from the Pacific Crest Trail to conversational tidbits to meditations on grief. Some are astoundingly simple, such as Strayed’s declaration that “Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard.” Others call on the author’s unique observations—people who regret what they haven’t done, she writes, end up “mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions” of themselves—and offer a reward for wading through obvious advice like “Trust your gut.” Other quotes sound familiar—not necessarily because you’ve read Strayed’s other work, but likely due to the influence of other authors on her writing. When she writes about blooming into your own authenticity, for instance, one is immediately reminded of Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Strayed’s true blossoming happens in her longer works; while this collection might brighten someone’s day—and is sure to sell plenty of copies during the holidays—it’s no substitute for the real thing.

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-946909

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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