For seekers of self-betterment, a mostly intriguing new slant to personal transformation.

THE AS IF PRINCIPLE

THE RADICALLY NEW APPROACH TO CHANGING YOUR LIFE

“The most-followed psychologist on Twitter” re-examines the process of creating personal change and growth.

Rather than thinking about making changes and trying to act on those new thought processes, Wiseman (Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There, 2011, etc.) suggests a new approach to changing your life by performing a motion that in turn changes your thoughts. Most self-help books, writes the author, "preach the same simple mantra: if you want to improve your life, you need to change how you think”—positive thoughts will make you happier and bring greater wealth and success. However, Wiseman believes that actions can speak louder than words, so his method, based on research by William James and others over the past century, states that one's behavior causes an emotional response, rather than the emotion being the catalyst for the behavior. Smile and you'll feel happier, feel loving and love will manifest, eat only when your body says “I'm hungry” and lose weight—these are just some of the many arenas Wiseman explores. The data from current research proves that by clenching your jaw, you develop more willpower, and by standing up straight, you become far more confident. By flipping current psychology theories upside down and putting motion before emotion, one can have better relationships, fight depression and anxiety, lose weight and stop smoking (or curb other addictive behaviors), grow more confident and slow down the effects of aging. Throughout the book, Wiseman includes exercises that will "encourage you to actually experience these phenomena rather than just read about them." For those seeking quick change, the appendix includes a list of simple actions with the appropriate positive reaction or expected change stated.

For seekers of self-betterment, a mostly intriguing new slant to personal transformation.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-7505-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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