Down-to-earth, hopeful, and inventive health and fitness advice.


A psychology-driven text offers advice for how to avoid pitfalls in fitness programs.

From the start, this book highlights how it’s different from overly positive and excessively enthusiastic fitness manuals by leading with a powerful introduction: “I am you….I am someone who found themselves on a roller-coaster of getting fit, getting fat, dieting, binge eating to celebrate the successful diet, going to the gym a month before summer and on the second of January.” The book’s basic concept—that the average person will set and achieve fitness goals but probably won’t enjoy getting fit—isn’t a revolutionary one. However, debut author Soukkary conveys it in clear prose with a common-sense tone, and many readers will likely find it to be a valuable wake-up call. The book addresses how one creates habits and sets goals, and then identifies the mental blocks that hold one back from fitness and health success; the latter include problems with delayed gratification and a tendency to move goal posts regarding success. The author then outlines a versatile plan that encourages readers to set a goal, make it “SMART” (“Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely”), and “sidestep” mental obstacles on the path to achieving it. Simple examples along the way showcase helpful strategies. For example, the author outlines an “Exception” chart that shows when one can justifiably skip a workout, based on various circumstances; this avoids letting one’s “tired” brain make the choice, as it will usually choose not to work out. Overall, this text does a remarkable job of acknowledging failures while also noting that a commitment to fitness can be difficult to maintain. Readers who’ve halfheartedly pursued health or fitness regimens in the past will be renewed by this book’s reminders without feeling judged.

Down-to-earth, hopeful, and inventive health and fitness advice. (author bio)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-72833-341-0

Page Count: 100

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

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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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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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