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

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

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

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 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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