Through incontrovertible evidence, Crawford compels smokers to summon the will and the means to quit.

Smoking: Why to Quit How to Quit How to Keep Your Kids From Smoking

Smoking kills; that’s common knowledge. But readers may not know all the innumerable ways in which smoking also disables, alienates and otherwise causes harm, all of which are detailed here.

As its subtitle suggests, Crawford’s (Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit, 2009) book is organized into three sections: Why to Quit, How to Quit, and How to Keep Your Kids from Smoking. The first section is the most substantial and most successful. Crawford, a lawyer for the insurance industry, authoritatively outlines seemingly every conceivable drawback to smoking, from the possibility of fatal disease to the difficulty of selling a car that smells like smoke. With such varied examples, the book is certain to furnish at least one reason that will strike home; for instance, even the most fatalistic, anti-social person might be alarmed to learn that sidestream smoke could kill his or her beloved pet. Crawford may oversell somewhat when she discusses the growing social stigma attached to smoking—as part of an argument that may inadvertently create a perception of smokers as a persecuted minority—but in general, she makes a case in which few could find fault. Her advice about how to quit seems solid, although the perspective of a therapist, or even a former smoker, rather than a nonsmoking lawyer, might have strengthened the rhetoric. The multiplicity of tips—particularly those related to smokers getting every other aspect of their lives in order before quitting—could appear daunting enough to discourage some readers from ever making the attempt. The advice on how to keep kids from smoking comes from Crawford’s tried-and-true experience as a parent of nonsmokers—a respectable accomplishment. However, it might have been judicious for the guide to acknowledge a gray area that comes before helpless addiction, as well as the fact that a strong parental reaction also has the potential to cause rebellion. Despite these minor flaws, the advice is clear, comprehensive and utterly convincing. Of additional appeal is a foreword by TV actor Jack Klugman, who lost his natural voice due to smoking-related cancer and then became an anti-smoking activist before his death in 2012, just before the book’s publication.

Through incontrovertible evidence, Crawford compels smokers to summon the will and the means to quit.

Pub Date: June 4, 2013

ISBN: 978-1484083383

Page Count: 348

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

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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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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.


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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