Otherworldly but approachable New Age philosophy through a personable lens.

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Return of the Aeons

THE PLANETARY SPIRITUAL ASCENSION

A lifelong student of Gnostic and esoteric philosophies laces a meandering path through his own life story with an encyclopedic overview of the wisdom of gurus and channeled beings.

As evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial beings and “vibrations” between humans and a higher power—whom he calls the Aeons—Cook (Challenger Revealed, 2006, etc.) offers support from a wide variety of teachings, including kabbalah, the Bible, and channeled materials from aliens, Jesus and other divine beings via books like A Course in Miracles and Love Without End: Jesus Speaks. These Aeons, Cook says, are available to help us transcend the ego in time to participate in the great changes of the Ascension of the Earth’s consciousness. In the first section of his book, Cook chooses extended quotations from his sources to present a world in which, despite humanity’s efforts to evolve, most of us are spiritually asleep. However, individual souls can attain “fourth-density consciousness” by learning, meditation and service to others. The second section, an autobiography through the lens of Cook’s journey through mystical organizations, lovingly highlights each individual teacher that came into his life while also incorporating the stories of his more worldly work as a NASA whistleblower after the explosion of the Challenger spacecraft. The third section is a less coherent mix of Cook’s ideas about revisionist economic history and monetary reform, the founding of the United States by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin as intergalactic Wanderers, and conspiracy theories related to the assassination of JFK, UFOs and 9/11. The density of the material makes for tough reading, but compared to some other New Age fare, the book’s thoughtful organization, thorough presentation and clear writing amount to a solid choice for believers looking for alternative ideas about Earth’s evolution. Especially welcoming is Cook’s humility when honoring his teachers.

Otherworldly but approachable New Age philosophy through a personable lens.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479364268

Page Count: 454

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2013

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

GREENLIGHTS

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: tomorrow

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Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.

THE GUCCI MANE GUIDE TO GREATNESS

A hip-hop star who went on his first international tour wearing an ankle monitor explains how to succeed.

“The words you are about to read can help you,” writes Gucci. “That’s because there is truth in them. These are words of wisdom, like the Bible and its proverbs.” Unquestionably, Gucci likes to aim high, as many of his proverbs attest: “Stop Underestimating Yourself”; “Whatever You’re Thinking, Think Bigger”; “Nobody Cares. Work Harder”; “When They Sleep, I’m Grinding”; “Do More, Get More.” And never forget, “Women Are Brilliant.” Gucci not only shares his recipes for success. As in a cookbook that shows pictures of the end result, the author includes dozens of dazzling photos of himself and his beautiful wife, among them a series on his surprise wedding proposal at an Atlanta Hawks game. After the success of his bestselling debut, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, Gucci has realized there is money to be made in the book business. In addition to the Bible, he has his eye on Malcolm Gladwell and his reported $5 million advances. While he is “cool with Malcolm Gladwell being more celebrated than me as an author…the difference between Malcolm Gladwell and me is that I’m going to make more money because I’m going to make so many books for my following….You can enjoy this book or not, but I’m going to make my fifty-second book, my hundred and eighth book.” Many readers will hope that one of them will be a diet book, as the 100-plus pounds Gucci has lost and kept off are a frequent topic—alas, he doesn’t reveal his weight loss secrets here. Until the next book, try to live the Gucci Mane way. “Avoid lazy and miserable people,” and “Find something to be excited about every day.”

Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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