Awards & Accolades

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An enlightening, smart personal development primer.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

An executive coach urges business leaders to develop better self-awareness, providing case studies, exercises, and more in this self-help guide.

A human resources consultant who has spent more than 3,000 hours coaching executives, Metheny (Solution-Focused Leadership: Coaching Employees to Generate Solutions, 2014) notes that business leaders’ lack of self-awareness is often a “disaster waiting to happen.” He provides an overview of research studies regarding the importance of this quality in business, touching on several helpful organizational psychology evaluation/assessment tools. He shares many of his own stories as well as those of his clients (first names only) who have effectively dealt with career challenges by becoming more aware of “default settings,” or unconscious thoughts, behaviors, and values. For example, one of Metheny’s clients was often frustrated with his team but then realized he had unconscious “rules,” including that everyone should pitch in during a work crunch. Once this leader articulated his rules, everyone was less stressed and performed more effectively. To help others with this critical personal development work, Metheny suggests an array of mindfulness exercises, including how to recognize and thus re-evaluate one’s “default stories” and conduct morning and evening check-ins with oneself. He stresses the importance of soliciting regular feedback (preferably on a quarterly basis and from a range of people) and of adopting the perspective of “neutral thinking,” i.e., not to be self-critical but instead be open to the “complex symphony” of the ongoing journey of self-knowledge. While the subject of this book is certainly not news, Metheny has created an engaging narrative that, particularly in the context of his own personal revelations, demonstrates the power of enhanced self-awareness in and of itself. His examples from his client base, as well as his own life, are relevant and relatable, with some nifty road-tested ideas (such as one exec’s personal “Stupid Box” used to record and store complaints, which curbed his career-damaging outbursts at others). While Metheny sometimes circles the same points, his book is on the whole a wonderful guide to improving mindfulness in business and overall life.

An enlightening, smart personal development primer.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016


If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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