Motivating, big-picture advice for college and beyond.

I Wish Someone Had Told Me...

A college administrator discusses the mindset and actions needed for a successful college and post-college life in this debut self-help guide.

As part of a task force assessing at-risk students early in his career, Clark was “amazed…there was no correlation between those considered at-risk and those that actually dropped out” and eventually determined that there was “a common thread in those who stayed versus those who quit…students who had or acquired a sense of purpose.” In this guide, he provides discussion, tools, and exercises to develop such purpose, using a business model as a starting point, noting “that the average student has never sat down to write out a plan defining what they want to get out of their college education, their college experience and, more broadly, their life.” His chapters alternate between “Core Matters” and “Practical Matters,” with emphasis on the former, which include discovering and creating one’s “reality,” determining one’s belief and value systems, and building a vision for one’s life. “Practical Matters” include getting started at college by understanding how one learns best; networking with peers; avoiding unprotected sex while in college; and preparing to graduate by beginning a job search and practicing interviews at least six months beforehand. Clark also dedicates a chapter to leadership that defines its qualities (including empathy and trust) and underscores that one must be a decisive leader in one’s own life. Debut author Clark offers inspiring springboard guidance that applies to aspiring college students as well as other striving applicants in life. Although this book is mostly formatted as a narrative essay, Clark also provides helpful information boxes that highlight key precepts, illustrations that showcase life road maps, and exercises that allow readers to engage with his ideas, including one on “taming your words.” Although readers may need to consult other college-related guides to get more information regarding “practical matters,” Clark provides useful, universal foundational guidance here while also offering endearing, relatable revelations from his own life story.

Motivating, big-picture advice for college and beyond.

Pub Date: March 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5076-8396-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you...

YEAR OF YES

HOW TO DANCE IT OUT, STAND IN THE SUN AND BE YOUR OWN PERSON

The queen of Thursday night TV delivers a sincere and inspiring account of saying yes to life.

Rhimes, the brain behind hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. She describes herself as a young girl, playing alone in the pantry, making up soap-opera script stories to act out with the canned goods. Speaking in public terrified her; going to events exhausted her. She was always busy, and she didn’t have enough time for her daughters. One Thanksgiving changed it all: when her sister observed that she never said “yes” to anything, Rhimes took it as a challenge. She started, among other things, accepting invitations, facing unpleasant conversations, and playing with her children whenever they asked. The result was a year of challenges and self-discovery that led to a fundamental shift in how she lives her life. Rhimes tells us all about it in the speedy, smart style of her much-loved TV shows. She’s warm, eminently relatable, and funny. We get an idea of what it’s like to be a successful TV writer and producer, to be the ruler of Shondaland, but the focus is squarely on the lessons one can learn from saying yes rather than shying away. Saying no was easy, Rhimes writes. It was comfortable, “a way to disappear.” But after her year, no matter how tempting it is, “I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary.” The book is a fast read—readers could finish it in the time it takes to watch a full lineup of her Thursday night programing—but it’s not insubstantial. Like a cashmere shawl you pack just in case, Year of Yes is well worth the purse space, and it would make an equally great gift.

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

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