Ebullient and uplifting advice.

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LEGENDARY

A SIMPLE PLAYBOOK FOR BUILDING AND LIVING A LEGENDARY LIFE, AND BEING REMEMBERED AS A LEGEND

A guide offers an inspirational prescription for living life to the fullest.

In this impassioned debut, Breedlove explains why he left a career at a leading financial consulting firm to become a “mindset coach” who empowers people to “build and live Legendary lives.” The notion of becoming a “Legend” is arguably one of the more aspirational approaches in self-improvement literature, and the author’s brimming enthusiasm for the concept pervades every paragraph. Fourteen chapters cover familiar self-help territory, such as living with purpose, developing a positive mindset, creating a personal mission statement, and making the right choices. Each chapter incorporates the author’s own anecdotes, a smattering of examples, references to other contemporary sources, lots of chatty advice, and a bulleted closing section that combines suggested actions with a summary of key points. One of the more useful chapters concerns time management. Breedlove’s technique of “time blocking” (assigning a period of time to focus on one important thing) is not unique but it is applicable to anyone who struggles with setting priorities and boundaries. Another relevant chapter addresses noise control: “All the distractions in life keeping us from living our purpose, truly being ourselves, and following our passions are noise.” The author has a nifty way of turning a phrase and explaining a concept. In discussing a positive mindset, he writes: “The word try is code for ‘I will never do this as it is not important’.…When we say we will try, we aren’t committing to the action and therefore never reach our goals.” As for the ability to focus, Breedlove advises that “we must commit to living and working where our passions and talents intersect. I call this sweet spot our ‘zone of brilliance.’ ” The content of this work is not markedly different from typical power-of-positive-thinking books, but the author’s friendly, first-person writing style makes for an enjoyable reading experience. He capably writes about some of the more common impediments—such as fear, worry, and distrust—to living a successful life and supplies legitimate, helpful suggestions for improvement. Throughout, Breedlove comes across as compassionate and generous—qualities he reinforces in his well-executed manual.

Ebullient and uplifting advice.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64279-953-8

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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