A rousing pamphlet that deserves to spread like wildfire.

READ REVIEW

RUDY'S BLUEPRINT

A brief self-help volume that covers the basics of life in a humorous, no-nonsense manner.

Blunce, formerly a workaholic investment banker, has plenty of candid advice for living a happy, emotionally healthy life. His book is broken into chapters corresponding to potential readers’ teenage years, the decades beyond and the challenges unique to the various stages. Early on, he emphasizes respect for oneself (i.e., maintaining good hygiene, getting an education) and for society (paying taxes gladly, drinking responsibly). Throughout, he adds bullet-point specifics and “offhand bits of advice.” His discussion of life in your 20s (“The Go-Go Years”) mainly covers—for the purpose of broad appeal—graduating from college, getting an office job and navigating the perils of the workplace. Subsequent chapters, “30 to 40—The Making It Years” and “50 to 60—The Worldly Years,” detail practical ways to raise children, buy property, see the world, retire and acquire the proper health care. Blunce includes funny, insightful visuals (an image about “the chains that hold us” shows a horse tied to a plastic chair) and famous quotes (“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”). More controversial subjects appear, like religion’s negative effect on the world and the emptiness of accumulating wealth (rather than earning and enjoying it). For his debut, Blunce boldly dives into the self-improvement arena, offering a refreshing, down-to-earth work that isn’t padded with anecdotes. There’s also unabashed playfulness; in a segment on dressing for a job interview, Blunce says, “If your suit exudes ‘loser,’ your interview might as well have the sound of a toilet flushing in the background.” He also admits to being a Type A personality, and his advice may not appeal to those seeking a more creative, reflective life. His finale is a frank denunciation of religion as an unnecessary barrier toward living in global harmony. Luckily, Blunce remains jovial even here, sending us off with the message, “I love you...see you soon.”

A rousing pamphlet that deserves to spread like wildfire.

Pub Date: March 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1481169066

Page Count: 192

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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