An unconventional and ultimately uplifting call to reclaim your own life story.

WRITE YOURSELF INTO YOUR DREAMS

WITH THE ESSENTIAL LIFE STORY METHOD

A debut guide advocates self-improvement through autobiographical exercises.

Wade presents to her readers what she labels the Essential Life Story Method of transforming how they view their pasts and reshaping how they live in the future. The ELS Method, she asserts, will allow you to open “a window into your soul.” Going through that window “will uncover the blueprint of your own psychology and change that blueprint in ways that will immediately improve how you think, feel, and behave.” The ELS Method revolves around a deceptively simple core exercise: writing a brief (only five pages to start) autobiographical sketch. Take a pen, some paper, a private space, and then ponder and write your life story, at first in broad outline and then in increasing detail. In clear and very encouraging prose, Wade notes a handful of “best practices,” including write first by hand and transcribe to a computer later, read each chapter twice, and get feedback. These practices are intended to guide ELS participants as they expand their autobiographical drafts. Those expansions are likewise delineated, step by step, portion by portion. Readers are given a helpful series of writing prompts like: “What positive qualities, habits, and/or patterns do you admire in your mom? Which of these could you benefit from emulating more strongly?” The personal drift of such upbeat questions points to the ELS Method’s inner purpose, which is to use autobiographical exercises to take control of your own personal narrative. “The energy of your story radiates outward,” Wade writes, “producing a field around you that attracts everything that matches your story’s frequency and repels everything that doesn’t—good or bad.” The author deftly emphasizes that although ELS participants can’t change the past, they can reframe it—and that this can all happen through the power of storytelling. It’s a basic and thrilling claim, one that will cause readers at all stages of writing expertise to seriously consider putting their own stories down on paper.

An unconventional and ultimately uplifting call to reclaim your own life story.

Pub Date: March 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9708809-0-1

Page Count: 220

Publisher: TEA HOUSE PRESS

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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