An empowering extended metaphor that yields an array of useful advice.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR POTENTIAL

YOUR ROADMAP TO SUCCESS IN BUSINESS AND LIFE

A pilot, minister, and business consultant outlines how to be “pilot in command” in order to achieve one’s unique purpose in this debut Christian self-help guide.

McFadden begins this book with an account of a time when he, a certified airplane pilot, got lost while flying. He then recommends the 12-step process that he used to complete his trip as a useful tool for “landing your life at the intended destination.” Steps 1 through 4 are focused on “getting on purpose”: embrace the idea that you are a “pilot” in control of your own life, not a passive victim; identify your present location (that is, your current situation); identify your destination (the “destiny” you’d like to achieve); and “Develop Your In-flight Recovery Plan”—a strategy that includes anticipating responses to obstacles. Steps 5 through 8 address the “Ah-Ha” part of the quest, after you’ve settled on what your dreams are: “Get some altitude” by getting a boost from mentors; “Keep Your Wits” about you, because your biggest obstacle is often yourself; “Maintain Proper Heading,” or ignore distractions; and “Tune In Appropriate Frequencies” by listening to the “voice of your original creator trying to reveal your true potential.” Steps 9 through 12 cover the last leg, during which you should manage stress; use all assistance available; shed bad behaviors; and finally achieve success “with grace and dignity for all.” Debut author McFadden, a Maryland-based Christian minister and the founder and president of The Leadership Training Company, offers an inspiring vision and helpful tactics for finding meaning and one’s ultimate purpose in life. His admissions of his own challenges, such as giving up early on “one of [his] callings” to be a lawyer, make him a relatable voice, and never a lofty one. Although the book’s biblical references and mentions of one’s “creator” may not appeal to everyone, he does provide a motivating, forward-looking method that like-minded readers may consider when navigating their own life courses.

An empowering extended metaphor that yields an array of useful advice.

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-595-43489-3

Page Count: 109

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

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The author’s sincere sermon—at times analytical, at times hortatory—remains a hopeful one.

THE ROAD TO CHARACTER

New York Times columnist Brooks (The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement, 2011, etc.) returns with another volume that walks the thin line between self-help and cultural criticism.

Sandwiched between his introduction and conclusion are eight chapters that profile exemplars (Samuel Johnson and Michel de Montaigne are textual roommates) whose lives can, in Brooks’ view, show us the light. Given the author’s conservative bent in his column, readers may be surprised to discover that his cast includes some notable leftists, including Frances Perkins, Dorothy Day, and A. Philip Randolph. (Also included are Gens. Eisenhower and Marshall, Augustine, and George Eliot.) Throughout the book, Brooks’ pattern is fairly consistent: he sketches each individual’s life, highlighting struggles won and weaknesses overcome (or not), and extracts lessons for the rest of us. In general, he celebrates hard work, humility, self-effacement, and devotion to a true vocation. Early in his text, he adapts the “Adam I and Adam II” construction from the work of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Adam I being the more external, career-driven human, Adam II the one who “wants to have a serene inner character.” At times, this veers near the Devil Bugs Bunny and Angel Bugs that sit on the cartoon character’s shoulders at critical moments. Brooks liberally seasons the narrative with many allusions to history, philosophy, and literature. Viktor Frankl, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Tillich, William and Henry James, Matthew Arnold, Virginia Woolf—these are but a few who pop up. Although Brooks goes after the selfie generation, he does so in a fairly nuanced way, noting that it was really the World War II Greatest Generation who started the ball rolling. He is careful to emphasize that no one—even those he profiles—is anywhere near flawless.

The author’s sincere sermon—at times analytical, at times hortatory—remains a hopeful one.

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9325-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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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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