A tangible, motivational life-planning approach with useful examples.

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Fulfilled!

CRITICAL CHOICES: WORK, HOME, LIFE

An organizational psychologist provides tools and insights to achieving professional and personal happiness in this debut self-development guide.

Schiemann (co-author: The Rise of HR, 2015, etc.), the founder and principal of Metrus Group, says that his management consulting firm’s work over 25 years has “led us to the concept of fulfillment as a critical quality” that people may achieve with “a plan that brings out the best in themselves.” In this book, “intended not for my academic colleagues but for practical application by readers like you,” Schiemann discusses “ACE,” which he sees as the guiding acronym for achieving fulfillment: one thinks about one’s “Alignment” by creating life goals, pursues the “Capabilities” that one needs to achieve them, and makes choices that bring about continuous “Engagement.” He then provides an array of flowcharts and tracking tools by which people may pinpoint and make progress on said life goals, including mapping out steppingstones, or “lighthouse goals,” to reach larger objectives (such as doing well on the LSATs in order to get into law school and then become a lawyer). Schiemann also shares his own personal story about struggling to focus and sketches out the life maps of both fictional and real people. The latter includes a woman who responded with passion and power to her pancreatic cancer diagnosis; she served as Schiemann’s key inspiration in developing this book. In this guide, the author effectively widens the lens of HR–type planning tools to serve a larger context. His advice to take time to specifically map out one’s goals, with specific targets and measures, is indeed practical, applicable advice, and it stands in contrast to the fuzzy positivity found in many happiness-oriented tomes. Although some readers may balk at having to fill out the several trackers provided here, it’s clear that such homework may be beneficial to anyone seeking to assess his or her work/life balance. Schiemann’s use of life stories, including his own, also enlivens what could have been a dry, prescriptive text.

A tangible, motivational life-planning approach with useful examples.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944962-22-7

Page Count: 242

Publisher: Secant Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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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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The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION

The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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