A thin, oddly theistic self-empowerment workbook.

EMERGENCY KIT

SURVIVAL GUIDE TO ABUNDANCE

Debut author Wallace encourages readers to listen to their conscious mind while quieting their subconscious in this self-help workbook.

We often know what we want (or think we do), and yet we are somehow unable to realize our goals. The problem, according to Wallace, is that our subconscious isn’t always on the same page as our conscious mind. The author demonstrates this in a fictional dialogue: “SELF: Yes, I can! I love and approve of myself. All is well in my world. I am in a loving space. SUBCONSCIOUS: I do not love and approve of myself—screw the world! SELF: I am now a size four and looking good. SUBCONSCIOUS: Who are you trying to kid? You are a large size fourteen.” In the dialogue, the subconscious starts to beat out the self until God himself swoops in to set things right. Wallace offers an explanation of why it’s important to understand what both halves want in order to make sure we are listening to our true selves and not becoming derailed by our subconscious. The bulk of the book is a series of near-identical work sheets where readers can fill out lists of their wants in an assortment of categories (relationships, health, careers) as well as blank spaces to construct small vision boards. The writing here is light and sometimes infused with humor, though it replicates the jargon of the motivation genre: “This condition of emergency can cause you to send out negative frequencies that will attract more unwanted, negative thoughts, creating a vicious cycle. Recognize this pattern of dialogue.” The inclusion of God (also referred to as the Higher Power or the Universe) is a somewhat incongruous choice. Wallace claims that by listening to ourselves we are really listening to God—which calls into question the ultimate agency of the self. The text sections of the book are brief and somewhat muddled, while the workbook section is rather repetitive and simplistic. Readers will be able to find the same ideas presented more clearly and comprehensively in numerous other works.

A thin, oddly theistic self-empowerment workbook.

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5043-3496-9

Page Count: 70

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2018

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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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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