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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Honest messages from one of America's best known women.

WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE

A compilation of advice from the Queen of All Media.

After writing a column for 14 years titled “What I Know For Sure” for O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Winfrey brings together the highlights into one gift-ready collection. Grouped into themes like Joy, Resilience, Connection, Gratitude, Possibility, Awe, Clarity and Power, each short essay is the distilled thought of a woman who has taken the time to contemplate her life’s journey thus far. Whether she is discussing traveling across the country with her good friend, Gayle, the life she shares with her dogs or building a fire in the fireplace, Winfrey takes each moment and finds the good in it, takes pride in having lived it and embraces the message she’s received from that particular time. Through her actions and her words, she shows readers how she's turned potentially negative moments into life-enhancing experiences, how she's found bliss in simple pleasures like a perfectly ripe peach, and how she's overcome social anxiety to become part of a bigger community. She discusses the yo-yo dieting, exercise and calorie counting she endured for almost two decades as she tried to modify her physical body into something it was not meant to be, and how one day she decided she needed to be grateful for each and every body part: "This is the body you've been given—love what you've got." Since all of the sections are brief and many of the essays are only a couple paragraphs long—and many members of the target audience will have already read them in the magazine—they are best digested in short segments in order to absorb Winfrey's positive and joyful but repetitive message. The book also features a new introduction by the author.

Honest messages from one of America's best known women.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1250054050

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Flatiron View Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION

The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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