A wide-ranging and insightfully empathetic exploration of pain and guilt’s root causes and ultimate succors.




A Christian-oriented debut guide focuses on pain and healing.

“Our natural tendency as humans is to proceed with our lives, forgetting the past,” Gienty writes in her manual. “The problem is the past is never really forgotten unless it is healed by Jesus.” That emotional healing takes four forms or steps, which Gienty lays out and then patiently explains: The faithful must be willing to look honestly at their sins; examine how others have sinned against them; confess those sins to God (and maybe, where appropriate, to others); and finally be open to receiving prayers for healing. The author seeks to concentrate on “woundedness” by urging readers to delve deeply into their own pasts for the roots of both the pain they experience and perhaps the pain they’ve caused others. The chapters include spaces for written answers to the many discussion questions designed to help readers zero in on the realizations Gienty believes they need to reach in order to move forward (for example, “What consequences have you experienced that have broken your heart because of not trusting others?”). The author fleshes out her musings on the nature of tangled human emotions with stories from various individuals, who reveal the rocky roads they experienced while contending with sin and poor self-esteem (“I’d been living with one foot in and the other foot out of my Christian walk”). That tone of honest disclosure gives the book a great deal of its immediacy. And the backbone of that immediacy is a personal relationship with Jesus. “We must learn to minister to the Lord,” she writes, and if we do, he “promises that He will empower us” to overcome both our own inner woundedness and the pain we may have caused others. The goal of all this is deliverance—from addiction, from guilt, from pain—and Gienty wraps the whole concept up in engaging, inquisitive prose that effectively simulates a series of long, probing conversations with a levelheaded (and scripturally literate) friend.

A wide-ranging and insightfully empathetic exploration of pain and guilt’s root causes and ultimate succors.

Pub Date: April 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-8046-8

Page Count: 218

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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