Reasonable though lightweight advice.

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STRESS PANDEMIC

THE LIFESTYLE SOLUTION

A common-sense guide to managing everyday stress.

In 1998, Huljich was chairman of the board and joint CEO of a large, successful organic foods company, living in one of New Zealand’s largest homes, with all the trappings of success, including stress. And it got to him. Huljich candidly describes the dramatic, full mental breakdown that tore him away from the home and life he’d built for himself and his family. He goes on to briefly describe his personal experience as he returned to mental health, weaned himself off the psychotropic medications prescribed for him, and developed habits to maintain his overall wellness. This telling is far more self-help than autobiography. (Readers interested in a full account of his breakdown can pick up his barely fictionalized Betrayal of Love and Freedom.) While there’s nothing earthshaking in Huljich’s “nine natural steps to survive, master stress and live well,” the recipe he provides for better living is unusual because it’s so practical and seemingly easy to follow. For example, in spite of his experience with organic foods and nutrition, he doesn’t insist that wellness depends on sticking to a strict diet, just a sensible one. But smart eating habits comprise only one of the nine steps in Huljich’s recommended process for achieving better health by developing a lifestyle that acts like a stress buffer. Sound sleeping, exercising and practicing positive affirmations also make his list. Chapters devoted to each of the nine steps are chock-full of practical advice and suggestions that seem reasonably easy to incorporate into a normal (i.e., stressful) modern life. Huljich’s point—based on his experience, not medical research— is that the key to mental health is having a healthy response to stress, not necessarily avoiding it. “A dependence on avoiding stress…is a mask, not a cure,” he writes. These nine steps aren’t the be-all, end-all answer, but they’re worth following.

Reasonable though lightweight advice.

Pub Date: July 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615489209

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Mwella Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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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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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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