A perky, if occasionally trite, pep talk that often motivates and informs.

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CHAMPION UNLEASHED

A self-help book about how to live like a champion by altering one’s mindset, language, and goals.

Debut author Moore has plenty to say about suffering setbacks in life, which for her have included breast cancer, divorce, and failed entrepreneurship. But despite these obstacles—in fact, because of them, she says—she’s discovered and implemented what she characterizes as valuable “champion principles” of success. In six chapters, she urges readers to “Clear out the junk [in your mind], seek the company of people who can propel you forward, drop the excuses, and shift your perspective,” as well as commit to your endeavors and “program your mental GPS” to take you where you want to go in life. She shares insights and practical counsel for applying these principles, often drawing on her personal experience and including several Christian references. She ends each chapter with a short list of “action steps” to take in order to think, speak, commit, and so on, like a champion. The book concludes with a short and spirited “Champion Manifesto” and a collection of motivational quotes, many of which highlight the potential value of failure. Moore’s “champion” theme initially comes off as corny (“Your inner champion is in there…just waiting to be unleashed. Let’s go find that champion!”), but she embraces it in a way that eventually ends up feeling quite motivating. Her prose style portrays her as a tenacious, rousing coach, seasoned in the game of life and adamant about helping others, and in this book, she’s not afraid to be blunt when necessary. Some of the advice here is too clichéd (“Own your fear”) or vague (“Decide to change your perspective…take the necessary actions to adjust”) to be especially helpful. However, most of it is constructive and original, or at least presented in a fresh way, as in such lines as “You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with” and “When the dream is big enough, the facts don’t count!”

A perky, if occasionally trite, pep talk that often motivates and informs.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-8549-7

Page Count: 118

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

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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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