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"DON'T QUOTE ME"

AN INSPIRING AND HONEST APPROACH TO DISCOVERING A HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER LIFE

Friendly inspiration for toastmasters, speechwriters, and anyone looking for bits of wit.

A debut book mixes common-sense advice with more than 200 notable quotes from famous figures.

Sounding a lot like dear old Dad (“Nothing in life is free—nothing!”), Pollack doles out practical observations, accompanied by quotes from a variety of personalities—such as President Donald Trump, Oscar Wilde, and hockey player Wayne Gretzky. This eclectic compilation also includes a hodgepodge of themes, including parenting, embracing friends, exercising, and achieving a balance in life. A breeze to browse, the book puts quotes in boldface and provides short chapters that can be read quickly. Often upbeat, Pollack begins with college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano, who, battling a rare cancer, urged: “Don’t give up....Don’t ever give up!” The author also showcases his favorite rocker, Bruce Springsteen, and his take on perseverance: “Well, keep pushin’ till it’s understood and these badlands start treating us good.” Some of the quotes are humorous, like the quip attributed to W.C. Fields: “Warning: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing with you.” Pollack also adds a few poignant personal anecdotes, like the time he held a loved one’s hand as she died. Smooth-flowing and conversational, Pollack’s voice is down-to-earth. On the subject of risk-taking, he describes gambling: “Hell, sometimes it’s worth going to the ponies just to get the blood flowing.” A couple of quote placements are ironic; for example, the rough-and-tumble Gen. George Patton and the soft-mannered TV sitcom character Frasier Crane appear on the same page. Leaping from one thought to the next (the subject of children having too many play dates quickly turns into the importance of taking videos of kids), Pollack offers well-worn conclusions, such as his advice on practice: “It’s not enough to have talent or a gift—it’s how hard you work to enhance your God-given talents that makes the difference.” Several unrelated topics—like the author's opinions on plastic surgery and gun control—seem messily strung together in the conclusion. Nevertheless, this spirited conversation is a pleasant day trip through familiar territory.

Friendly inspiration for toastmasters, speechwriters, and anyone looking for bits of wit.  

Pub Date: Dec. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4525-5545-4

Page Count: 170

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2017

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BRAVE ENOUGH

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

A lightweight collection of self-help snippets from the bestselling author.

What makes a quote a quote? Does it have to be quoted by someone other than the original author? Apparently not, if we take Strayed’s collection of truisms as an example. The well-known memoirist (Wild), novelist (Torch), and radio-show host (“Dear Sugar”) pulls lines from her previous pages and delivers them one at a time in this small, gift-sized book. No excerpt exceeds one page in length, and some are only one line long. Strayed doesn’t reference the books she’s drawing from, so the quotes stand without context and are strung together without apparent attention to structure or narrative flow. Thus, we move back and forth from first-person tales from the Pacific Crest Trail to conversational tidbits to meditations on grief. Some are astoundingly simple, such as Strayed’s declaration that “Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard.” Others call on the author’s unique observations—people who regret what they haven’t done, she writes, end up “mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions” of themselves—and offer a reward for wading through obvious advice like “Trust your gut.” Other quotes sound familiar—not necessarily because you’ve read Strayed’s other work, but likely due to the influence of other authors on her writing. When she writes about blooming into your own authenticity, for instance, one is immediately reminded of Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Strayed’s true blossoming happens in her longer works; while this collection might brighten someone’s day—and is sure to sell plenty of copies during the holidays—it’s no substitute for the real thing.

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-946909

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

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 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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