A thorough, accessible investigation that will guide seekers through the difficult but ultimately satisfying journey of...

THE LIFE YOU WANT

A guide to personal exploration of enlightenment.

Burgess Novak’s debut self-help title makes a strong case for acceptance and surrender as a path to one’s higher self. Expansion of the mind can come by following a simple three-step recipe: “Awareness leads to Consciousness, which leads to Enlightenment.” Put in practice, these transcendental transitions may be difficult, but they are profoundly worthwhile. Through an in-depth look at our four aspects—mental, emotional, physical and spiritual—Burgess Novak tackles such issues as the holographic universe (how can we know anything within or outside of ourselves?), the daily struggle against the ego and the unique path each of us must follow to reach Consciousness. One noteworthy chapter devotes itself entirely to exploring the concept that everyone is a unique aspect of God; with faith and trust, she says, we must open ourselves up to embrace this simple, beautiful idea. The energy radiating from us allows us to manifest our desires, Burgess Novak says, and the only real obstacle between each of us and enlightenment is our “egoic child’s mind,” or ecm: “I use lowercase letters for this acronym because I want to emphasize that this is a small, limited, and spiritually, mentally, and emotionally immature part of us despite the fact that this energetic construct of the ego often runs the show.” Its tendency to keep us alive and safe through fear of change and the unknown presents an antagonistic force we must overcome. The ecm develops during the first few years of life, as one struggles to comprehend the world, building a worldview based on misperceptions and contradictory emotions; the somewhat-flawed assumption, though, is that the ecm always forms in a dysfunctional environment and is therefore always fear-based. Despite this subtle logic gap, the central tenet holds true: In surrendering the energy we use for survival and opening up to using that same energy toward creating the life we want, we find peace and enlightenment.

A thorough, accessible investigation that will guide seekers through the difficult but ultimately satisfying journey of enlightenment.

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1491232132

Page Count: 186

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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