ACE YOUR LIFE

UNLEASH YOUR BEST SELF AND LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT

A logical and highly accessible practice-based self-help resource.

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A pragmatic, step-by-step guide to self-acceptance and understanding that focuses on personal growth.

Many people reach toward fulfillment only to find satisfaction just out of reach, or, sometimes, very far away. They find themselves “bogged down in the stuckness,” which Maidenberg defines as a cycle of regret and hopelessness—one that’s often but not always made worse by trauma, stress, and other emotional pain. Maidenberg’s ACE method is named for its three basic pillars—acceptance, compassion, and empowerment—but before delving into these, she explores the functions of the mind, particularly how it works to avoid uncomfortable situations. This inclination, she notes, can also obscure one’s core values, which affect one’s chosen goals and actions. By practicing mindfulness, completing questionnaires, and doing self-guided growth exercises, she aims to help readers discover these values and work toward meaningful change. With this information, Maidenberg writes, one may begin to cultivate radical self-acceptance, inner and outward compassion, and clearer self-perception. The author also provides examples from sessions with her own patients (with names changed). In each case, she expands on an aspect of ACE, emphasizing personal improvement but not neglecting self-care or health. The exercises are largely practical, drawing on aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy, various studies, and the author’s own life and work. Chapters end with QR codes that link to talks and self-guided meditations. Overall, for a guide that’s so heavily focused on the self, its process rarely feels solitary. Readers will find the various sections are easy to revisit, which makes sense, as the book stresses that ACE is a circular process in which one constantly reviews one’s thoughts, values, and actions. A list of additional readings and extensive citations is included for further study.

A logical and highly accessible practice-based self-help resource.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63195-854-0

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2022

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MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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