A scattered mix of instruction and self-reflection on a wide range of topics.

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FLAT BELLY FOR LIFE REVISITED

A HOLISTIC GUIDE TO LIVING A HEALTHY, MEANINGFUL, MEANINGFUL LIFE INTO YOUR 100'S

An eclectic guide to health and fitness for the older set.

When he reached his 70s, McLeod (The Death of Civility and Common Sense, 2016, etc.) noticed that some of his contemporaries had already died but that others had maintained their vigor well into their twilight years. This brief book—part memoir and part self-help manual—discusses the author’s general approach to health and fitness issues but also includes a bevy of digressive detours on several topics, including a dietary cure for snoring, age discrimination, and a condensed history of fitness programs. The core of McLeod’s approach is high-intensity interval training, with a simple diet that largely consists of meat, fruits, and vegetables. He also includes an assessment of the progress that science has made in slowing the physical decline that typically accompanies age; in particular, he focuses on TA-65, a controversial natural compound that advocates say can repair elements of chromosomes that decay with age. The process of introducing TA-65 into the market was difficult, as McLeod relates in detail, noting that the Federal Trade Commission tried to kill its production. The author goes on to provide an overview of the supplements and devices, such as the Apple Watch (referred to here as the “iWatch”), that he’s found to be useful for his fitness. The book offers many little nuggets of counsel regarding topics such as the maintenance of mental health and acuity, and it’s all written in a simple, accessible style. However, it’s poorly titled, as very little of it is actually devoted to slimming one’s abdomen. Also, it has the feel of a long essay that lacks tautness and focus; the author meanders far too freely, as if casually thinking out loud. The majority of the advice isn’t groundbreaking, and much of it is little more than common sense—for example, that people should take care to “get a good night’s sleep.” Many readers will wish that the author had spent more time discussing the Federal Trade Commission’s campaign against TA-65, which is the highlight of the work.

A scattered mix of instruction and self-reflection on a wide range of topics.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-973855-28-6

Page Count: 38

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2017

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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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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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