A well-balanced guide to changing vital parts of one’s life for the better.

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REPROGRAM YOUR LIFE

Debut author Reynolds’ self-help book aims to motivate and educate readers on how to effect real, positive change in their lives.

The Australian author establishes himself as something of a Renaissance man who found million-dollar success in a variety of fields, including computer science, finance, and real estate. But he’s also had his fair share of struggles, including the tragic loss of dear friends, depression, and a financial crisis that bankrupted him. Now a motivational speaker, he shares what he’s learned throughout his life. First, he asserts that one must have the courage to change—to let go of negative emotions and perceptions, and commit oneself to personal growth using positive motivation. In terms of relationships, he says that one should strive to become mentally and emotionally independent, and to develop love for oneself; however, he also points out that “being independent doesn’t mean living like a hermit.” Finally, Reynolds shares his wisdom about maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle and becoming financially literate, as well as offering additional resources for further study. At first glance, this might seem like just another, generic self-help book, but one quickly finds that its quality is above and beyond other works of its type. The prose reads effortlessly, for one thing, and it’s organized in a way that smoothly and topically guides readers through its ideas. It also includes elements that some self-help books miss, such as specific, practical financial tips and the reasons behind them (“Pay off the high-interest debt first, so that you can actually keep any money you make by investing”); there’s even insightful instruction on how to best use other instructional books (“Information in self-help books cannot be digested like novels”). Reynolds promotes self-confidence, but not arrogance, and personal progress, but not at the expense of others. This is a book that will keep on giving, as long as readers are willing to study and apply it.

A well-balanced guide to changing vital parts of one’s life for the better.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-0596-9

Page Count: 92

Publisher: BalboaPressAU

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2017

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you...

YEAR OF YES

HOW TO DANCE IT OUT, STAND IN THE SUN AND BE YOUR OWN PERSON

The queen of Thursday night TV delivers a sincere and inspiring account of saying yes to life.

Rhimes, the brain behind hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. She describes herself as a young girl, playing alone in the pantry, making up soap-opera script stories to act out with the canned goods. Speaking in public terrified her; going to events exhausted her. She was always busy, and she didn’t have enough time for her daughters. One Thanksgiving changed it all: when her sister observed that she never said “yes” to anything, Rhimes took it as a challenge. She started, among other things, accepting invitations, facing unpleasant conversations, and playing with her children whenever they asked. The result was a year of challenges and self-discovery that led to a fundamental shift in how she lives her life. Rhimes tells us all about it in the speedy, smart style of her much-loved TV shows. She’s warm, eminently relatable, and funny. We get an idea of what it’s like to be a successful TV writer and producer, to be the ruler of Shondaland, but the focus is squarely on the lessons one can learn from saying yes rather than shying away. Saying no was easy, Rhimes writes. It was comfortable, “a way to disappear.” But after her year, no matter how tempting it is, “I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary.” The book is a fast read—readers could finish it in the time it takes to watch a full lineup of her Thursday night programing—but it’s not insubstantial. Like a cashmere shawl you pack just in case, Year of Yes is well worth the purse space, and it would make an equally great gift.

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

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