A debut book offers a “survival guide” to life.
The idea of “neuroplasticity” is at the heart of this pithy collection of tips: the importance of always learning from and mentally adapting to the surprises and setbacks that life inevitably throws in the way. The inborn nature of the readily available survival tools is key: The authors stress throughout that readers have the equipment they need to solve their own problems and remake their initial assumptions. “Just like you choose to landscape your property or your body hair, remove a stain from your favorite shirt, remodel your Harley, or purposely rip a pair of jeans to make them stylish,” the Therapy Twins write, “if you don’t like where you are you can change it!” They emphasize to readers that the mind is the steering wheel of the brain, and they underscore the pragmatic side of their advice-giving by weaving into the narrative snippets of their own personal lives and the lessons they’ve learned both from their own strengths and their own weaknesses. This is all done briskly and without sentimentality, since they likewise caution against carrying around negative memories like badges of honor. How can readers live in the present, they ask, if they’re letting their pasts govern their lives? “Take back your power and free yourself from the grips of the past,” they assert in a typically upbeat line. Indeed, this note of optimism is struck repeatedly in the book, with the authors reminding their readers to be kind to themselves and choose “some tip-top thoughts” to help them steer their reflections and possibly reshape their realities. As a result, they will become the drivers of their own stories instead of wounded and resentful recipients of personal narratives that only do harm. Although most of the maxims provided in these pages are simple (and sometimes trite) enough to be ubiquitous in the self-help genre, the clear and optimistic tone the authors maintain makes the book very approachable. And their personal tales greatly enhance what might otherwise have been a fairly lightweight assemblage of aphorisms.
A fast-paced and appealingly personal self-help manual.