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

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

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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A vibrant, encouraging depiction of a sinister disorder.

REASONS TO STAY ALIVE

A British novelist turns to autobiography to report the manifold symptoms and management of his debilitating disease, depression.

Clever author Haig (The Humans, 2013, etc.) writes brief, episodic vignettes, not of a tranquil life but of an existence of unbearable, unsustainable melancholy. Throughout his story, presented in bits frequently less than a page long (e.g., “Things you think during your 1,000th panic attack”), the author considers phases he describes in turn as Falling, Landing, Rising, Living, and, finally, simply Being with spells of depression. Haig lists markers of his unseen disease, including adolescent angst, pain, continual dread, inability to speak, hypochondria, and insomnia. He describes his frequent panic attacks and near-constant anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure. Haig also assesses the efficacy of neuroscience, yoga, St. John’s wort, exercise, pharmaceuticals, silence, talking, walking, running, staying put, and working up the courage to do even the most seemingly mundane of tasks, like visiting the village store. Best for the author were reading, writing, and the frequent dispensing of kindnesses and love. He acknowledges particularly his debt to his then-girlfriend, now-wife. After nearly 15 years, Haig is doing better. He appreciates being alive and savors the miracle of existence. His writing is infectious though sometimes facile—and grammarians may be upset with the writer’s occasional confusion of the nominative and objective cases of personal pronouns. Less tidy and more eclectic than William Styron’s equally brief, iconic Darkness Visible, Haig’s book provides unobjectionable advice that will offer some help and succor to those who experience depression and other related illnesses. For families and friends of the afflicted, Haig’s book, like Styron’s, will provide understanding and support.

A vibrant, encouraging depiction of a sinister disorder.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-312872-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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