An inspiring evaluation of the potential women have to create fully productive lives at home and at work.

GROW YOUR VALUE

LIVING AND WORKING TO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL

Constructive advice for women on the work-life balance.

In her latest book, Morning Joe co-host Brzezinski (Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction—And My Own, 2013, etc.) continues with the theme she started in Knowing Your Value (2011). Using interviews from such successful women as PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Latina movement leader Nely Galán, and Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive, among many others, Brzezinski examines how women have really begun to find their balance and demonstrate their value in the workplace but continue to struggle to find that same kind of equilibrium at home. “According to a 2013 Pew study,” writes the author, “only 16 percent of those Americans polled thought a home with the mother working full time was the best environment in which to raise a child….The whole proposition of being a breadwinning or career-driven mother is murky, sticky, and messy.” Brzezinski recounts the time she moderated a panel for the White House Summit on Working Families and received absolute silence when she asked the group of distinguished and highly accomplished women how they juggled the work-life balance. From this launching point, she delves into the conflicting emotions that women experience as they try to advance their careers and still maintain rewarding home lives. Throughout, Brzezinski’s prose is upbeat and encouraging, and she fills the narrative with personal stories of her own successes and mishaps, as well as those of her interview subjects. These provide a guide for women who have been struggling to equalize their lives, are just beginning to enter the workforce, and/or are ready to start a long-term relationship with or without children. As the author knows, anyone has the power to make wise decisions regarding his or her work and home lives, and this book will encourage plenty of readers to find that power and use it.

An inspiring evaluation of the potential women have to create fully productive lives at home and at work.

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60286-268-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Weinstein Books

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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