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SCARE YOUR SOUL

7 POWERFUL PRINCIPLES TO HARNESS FEAR AND LEAD YOUR MOST COURAGEOUS LIFE

A sharply packaged self-help book with an emphasis on facing your fears.

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Simon advocates taking daily risks in this debut motivational work.

The author, an entrepreneur, is a fear-chaser; he believes that the secret to happiness is not to be found through self-care or comfort but rather by challenging one’s own fears. “It is the intentional choice we make to walk into the fire of fear with the hope of growing from its discomfort…that fosters a flourishing life,” Simon writes in his introduction (he’s describing his decision, at age 35, to confront a lifelong fear of singing in public by signing up for a busy brunch open mic). The book—which shares its name with the “movement” Simon created—is intended to challenge readers to confront their own deep-seated fears. The idea is inspired by a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that the author calls the “eight words that changed [his] life”: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” He has expanded the notion into a full-fledged life philosophy, distilling the concept into seven principles to help would-be fear-chasers break out of their normal routines. Simon describes himself as a “happiness entrepreneur,” and his prose is cheerfully imperative. He offers bullet points advising the reader on how to have an adventurous day without even leaving home: “Begin the day by waking up early. Drink in the quietness”; “Vary as many of your most basic routines as you can (brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, take a completely different route to work)”; “Put on an outfit or a hat that shows your true personality, even if you think it’s completely crazy.” The book follows a familiar self-help recipe—one part personal memoir, one part inspiring anecdotes, and one part exercises for readers to try out on their own. While little here is entirely original, the author’s fear-forward take on mindfulness should appeal to those meditation-allergic readers looking to become more exciting versions of themselves.

A sharply packaged self-help book with an emphasis on facing your fears.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1538722916

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Balance Integration Group

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2023

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  • New York Times Bestseller


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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

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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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