A Christian’s heartfelt account relates how her strong faith became a bulwark against life’s troubles.




A debut Christian autobiography offers heavy infusions of prayer and meditation.

The ideological heart of Kelly’s brief, passionate book is Psalm 91, which begins “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” The volume opens with a long segment that delivers an autobiographical sketch of the author’s life, marriages, and setbacks in her years as a Christian, starting with her reluctance to embrace the very concept of being born again. “I’m a Christian!” she fumed when the subject was first raised. “I don’t need this born-again fanatic stuff. I have been baptized and confirmed. I sang in the choir and ironed altar cloths.” But a closer relationship with her faith came about partly in the wake of her despair over her divorce: “With my life falling apart and without any ability to stop what was happening, my only refuge was the time I spent with God.” Throughout the shorter and more purely devotional segments that follow, she pursues this God-as-shelter idea, and regularly reminds her readers that he seeks a personal relationship with them and shouldn’t be taken for granted even during the most hectic of schedules. “When was the last time,” she asks, “you sat down and gave thanks for all God has given you, the seen and unseen?” Everything in the human body, down to the smallest cell, has a purpose, she reminds her readers, although she dubiously extends this to add: “Skin cells are positioned in the correct place and do the job they were designed to do” (well over three million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in America every year). But regularly throughout the book, her zealousness is softened and countered by her optimistic message connecting faith with a believer’s progress. “Little by little, bit by bit, with the help of the Holy Spirit,” she writes, “we keep moving forward each day.” Her fellow Christians, seeking testimony about the haven their faith can give them, should find the straightforward simplicity of this volume inspiring.

A Christian’s heartfelt account relates how her strong faith became a bulwark against life’s troubles.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-9736-1338-1

Page Count: 169

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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