Hard-won and often moving life lessons delivered to young athletes.

A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF

In this debut book, contributors offer a series of letters to their younger selves.

Murray’s slim work uses a rhetorical gambit that should be familiar to all readers: what they would write if they could send letters back in time to their younger selves. The author is an avid football fan and former player for the University of Texas at El Paso. He returned to the university to further his studies, and he was on friendly terms with fellow competitors, some of whom went on to play professional ball. Murray himself founded Student Athlete Transition Symposium, a motivational and performance-based program designed to help high school and college athletes figure out what they want to do in order to achieve their life goals. Murray and the friends he’s enlisted to contribute letters to the book look back at their earlier selves and craft letters designed to impart the good and bad of what they’ve learned in the intervening years. One of the evocative work’s most intriguing threads is the similar notes sounded in each letter. Murray, for instance, writes to his younger self: “It is at your most selfish times that you will make your worst decisions.” And his friend and fellow ball player Larry Linne, among others, has a similar sentiment: “The majority of who and what you will become will not be caused by positive experiences in your life. The majority of your character, success, joy, happiness, wealth, and positive relationships will have been founded from your going through difficulty, pain, struggles, loss, and adversity.” Murray summarizes each letter (somewhat unnecessarily, considering the missives’ brevity) in end-of-chapter bullet points. But these and other common ideas are immediately obvious in any case, and they’re views any young athlete should value hearing: believe in your dreams, learn from your mistakes, and rise above your setbacks.

Hard-won and often moving life lessons delivered to young athletes.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5462-0564-7

Page Count: 108

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: April 25, 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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