DISCIPLINE IS DESTINY

THE POWER OF SELF-CONTROL

Well-meant advice for making positive life choices.

A path to success through restraint.

In the second of four proposed books on the Stoic virtues of courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom, Holiday focuses on self-discipline as crucial to achieving temperance. The author argues that controlling emotions, thoughts, and actions can benefit everyone, even those who face obstacles and hardships. Pithy chapters extol the “restraint and dedication” evidenced by a host of individuals whom Holiday admires, including Lou Gehrig (among many other high-achieving sportsmen); political figures such as Angela Merkel, George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, and—one of Holiday’s favorites—Queen Elizabeth; writer Toni Morrison; inventor Thomas Edison; Beethoven; and leaders, military figures, and philosophers from ancient Greece. As an example of successful time management and dedication, he praises Morrison’s practice of focusing on her writing in the early-morning hours. As an example of physical self-discipline, he points to Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to remake his weak and asthmatic body and Franklin Roosevelt’s determination to overcome the limitations of paralysis from polio. “If greatness is our aim, if we want to be productive, courageous members of society,” Holiday asserts, “we need to take care of our bodies.” Challenging one’s body might involve “seeking out discomfort,” which Holiday believes will “toughen ourselves up.” Hoping to motivate readers to make changes in their lives, he advises being neat and organized, devoting oneself to practice, managing time well, pacing oneself judiciously, and avoiding addictions—including an addiction to power. “Of all the addictions in the world,” he points out, “the most intoxicating, and the hardest to control, is ambition. Because unlike drinking, society rewards it. We look up to the successful.” Self-discipline involves “pushing through frustrations. Pushing through criticisms and loneliness. Pushing through pain.” But it also involves self-affirmation. “It is an act of self-discipline to be kind to the self,” Holiday assures readers. “To be a good friend.”

Well-meant advice for making positive life choices.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-19169-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

CALL ME ANNE

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

The late actor offers a gentle guide for living with more purpose, love, and joy.

Mixing poetry, prescriptive challenges, and elements of memoir, Heche (1969-2022) delivers a narrative that is more encouraging workbook than life story. The author wants to share what she has discovered over the course of a life filled with abuse, advocacy, and uncanny turning points. Her greatest discovery? Love. “Open yourself up to love and transform kindness from a feeling you extend to those around you to actions that you perform for them,” she writes. “Only by caring can we open ourselves up to the universe, and only by opening up to the universe can we fully experience all the wonders that it holds, the greatest of which is love.” Throughout the occasionally overwrought text, Heche is heavy on the concept of care. She wants us to experience joy as she does, and she provides a road map for how to get there. Instead of slinking away from Hollywood and the ridicule that she endured there, Heche found the good and hung on, with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford starring as particularly shining knights in her story. Some readers may dismiss this material as vapid Hollywood stuff, but Heche’s perspective is an empathetic blend of Buddhism (minimize suffering), dialectical behavioral therapy (tolerating distress), Christianity (do unto others), and pre-Socratic philosophy (sufficient reason). “You’re not out to change the whole world, but to increase the levels of love and kindness in the world, drop by drop,” she writes. “Over time, these actions wear away the coldness, hate, and indifference around us as surely as water slowly wearing away stone.” Readers grieving her loss will take solace knowing that she lived her love-filled life on her own terms. Heche’s business and podcast partner, Heather Duffy, writes the epilogue, closing the book on a life well lived.

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781627783316

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Viva Editions

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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