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    Best Books Of 2012

LIVING THE LIFE YOU LOVE

THE NO-NONSENSE GUIDE TO TOTAL TRANSFORMATION

A self-help guide with real-world value and applicability, which proves it’s never too late to grow up.

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In her practical, hard-hitting yet realistic program for self-improvement, Renaye demonstrates that there’s still plenty to say in the self-help industry.

A professional life coach and transformational speaker, Renaye has created a concise, encyclopedic guide-cum-workbook that does the job of multiple existing titles, all while adding profound, useful insights and strategies to the conversation. She breaks self-exploration and retooling into manageable, sharply focused steps that help push the reader into honest reflection, emotional and physical health, and ultimately, empowerment and maturity. Though hints of other popular spiritual works shine through, such as the creation of vision boards to visualize what you want in life, the perspective is refreshingly grounded, and Renaye’s confessional, empathetic narrative invites readers to identify with her while buying into her approaches. Each chapter focuses on a discrete issue or aspect of life—feeling stuck, body wisdom, living for others—and ends with a transformational insight worksheet (copying is advisable, since space is limited) with questions for self-analysis. Even without the worksheets, tripwires for aha moments run throughout the book. Recognizing that some difficult people are unavoidable, she prescribes stockpiling diversionary tactics in advance. She also lays out simple, sanity-saving strategies for navigating conversations, as well as tips for climbing out of inevitable dips in mood. She expands the vision board concept into a vision script that can help reprogram your thinking, with guidelines, precautions and sample language for recording. She calls her methods tough love, but they’re also deeply human, compassionate and supportive.

A self-help guide with real-world value and applicability, which proves it’s never too late to grow up.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0967478692

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Diomo Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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