A poignant and vivid personal story designed to help others recognize their mental roadblocks.

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YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR LIFE

A GUIDE TO EXPERIENCING MORE PEACE, FREEDOM, AND HAPPINESS RIGHT NOW

In this debut self-improvement guide, the author uses his own tumultuous past and eventual redemption to counsel the reader toward betterment. 

Abramson knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity. As a young, misguided teen, he found himself sinking into a group of troublemakers. With low self-esteem and little direction, he fell into the wrong crowd and, soon, the life of crime that went along with it. Before he was old enough to even legally drive, he made a fatal mistake one night of stealing a car. Like falling dominoes, one bad decision led to another, and the result was an event Abramson will never forget: a crash that killed an innocent driver and an arrest that left him imprisoned for 18 months. The author uses his own personal story as fuel to propel this positive reality check on what it means to be truly autonomous. Sure, most people believe they rule their own lives, but hidden narratives, repeated stories, and firm belief systems ingrained within all individuals direct their actions and choices more than they know. As Abramson explains, the notion that he wasn’t smart or capable became a catalyst for the insecurity that fueled his terrible deeds (“Based on what my father, teachers, and friends said and did, I began to believe I was not very intelligent. It is no wonder that I didn’t put much effort into school and cut classes in junior high and high school as much as I did. I had completely bought into the conversation that I was stupid”). The book offers useful suggestions for breaking out of “mental prisons,” such as participating in group work, tackling writing exercises to challenge inner beliefs, journaling, and list making. Each chapter offers a short set of questions at the end titled “Your Turn” that supplies an effective, private space for the reader to reflect. The book is concise, weaving personal narrative with lucid solutions and adept explanations of the tricky business of mindful awareness. In all, Abramson tells a powerful and eye-opening story that sets this book apart from other self-improvement titles. Infused with humility and self-awareness, his expertise feels hard-won, credible, and real.

A poignant and vivid personal story designed to help others recognize their mental roadblocks. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Capucia Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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