In an uneven but spirited follow-up to his 2007 self-help guide Do You!, the co-creator of Def Jam Records and a cavalcade...

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SUPER RICH

A GUIDE TO HAVING IT ALL

The “godfather of Hip-Hop” shares the secrets to cultivating a bountiful, carefree life.

In an uneven but spirited follow-up to his 2007 self-help guide Do You!, the co-creator of Def Jam Records and a cavalcade of lucrative multimedia ventures extols the virtues of living a “super rich” life unencumbered by “toys” and their “clutter.” Sure, extraneous physical objects are to be enjoyed, he writes, but never to become attached to; becoming spiritually “enlightened” will make those possessions immaterial. Simmons ascribes spirituality to personal wealth rather than monetary affluence and believes that true happiness is “actually a state of needing nothing” except “being conscious and connected to God.” Recounting his own rocky road to success, the author notes that in order to be successful, the heart must be present in every endeavor, and talents should be given away for free in order to attract attention. Significantly influenced by yoga, Simmons lets the Buddhist quotations, mantras and parables flow freely. The author encourages significant time commitments to meditation and nurturing “stillness,” while denouncing neediness and “uninspiring actions” like smoking cigarettes and meat consumption. Collaborating with journalist Morrow, Simmons employs many examples from his career and personal struggles to create a platform based on sensible guidance and responsible, timeless ethics. Still, despite the universal messages, and his insistence that he is not attempting to convert anyone, the author’s endeavor to “write a book where yoga, philanthropy, and God played a major role” may alienate those of different affiliations. The author’s at his most convincing when delivering jaunty, positive messages about achieving personal fulfillment through patience and hard work—e.g., “you should take great comfort in the knowledge that each sunrise presents another day to do things right.”

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-592-40587-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Gotham Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

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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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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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