A cogent and useful elaboration on a famous concept that advocates group support.

THE POWER OF THE MASTER MIND

From the Napoleon Hill Success Course series

A motivational manual focuses on a key idea from the writings of a self-help guru.

The latest nonfiction work by Horowitz (Awakened Mind, 2019, etc.), like all the other entries in the Napoleon Hill Success Course series, takes as its starting point one particular concept from the oeuvre of the bestselling motivational author of the early 20th century and builds on it. In Horowitz’s case, the idea that forms the center of his book is the “Master Mind,” without which, Hill asserted, no lasting success is possible. Like many of Hill’s major concepts, the notion of the Master Mind is deceptively simple: It’s the gathering of a small group of cognoscenti in some field or endeavor with the aim of sharing ideas and encouraging and assisting one another with specific or general goals. Horowitz stresses in his text the main benefit of this that Hill emphasized nearly a century ago: the pooling of intelligence and experience taking place outside of formal business or organizational structures. This basic concept is mirrored in many later business manuals as the forging of alliances, but Horowitz underscores what Hill highlights, which is the deeper and more personal nature of the Master Mind. The members of Horowitz’s own such band (convened mostly electronically, over time zones and great distances), for instance, share “supportive natures, good humor, and spiritual values.” In clear, concise chapters of invitingly frank prose very much in the manner of Hill himself, Horowitz outlines some practices and procedures for establishing and running a Master Mind, and readers inside and outside of the business world should find these pointers intriguing. But throughout, the author stresses that the operation is as uncomplicated as the idea—and can have payoffs far in excess of the investments in time and energy. To make this point, Horowitz cites the testimony of his Master Mind partner Mel Bergman: “Whenever two or more likeminded people get together, you have a Master Mind group. It’s that simple. Really. If you can suspend your disbelief and give it a shot, it is inconceivable that you will not see results.”

A cogent and useful elaboration on a famous concept that advocates group support.

Pub Date: March 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-72251-014-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: G&D Media

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2019

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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 very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

THE ART OF SOLITUDE

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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