Category Archives: Self-Help

I’ll Be Looking at the Moon: A novel about finding Home by Lucia Barrett

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

I'll Be Looking at the MoonA fitting book for spring, since it is about rebirth and life, I’ll Be Looking at the Moon by Lucia Barrett will fill your lungs with the fresh smell of wild flowers. While it can easily be cataloged as romance, the novel has deeper layers to it, which surpass the stereotypical love connection between a man and a woman. It is also a story about family and above all about the Self.

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The story kicks off with a strong start. The reader is practically thrown into the inner world of the lead protagonist being exposed to her most personal thoughts. Once we share a glimpse of Elizabeth Parker Morgan’s present, we are torn away from it and sent back to the past, on a journey to discover (alongside her) why and how this present came to be. With a Freudian approach, the focus falls on her childhood and how the relationship with her parents and brother, but especially her mother, helped shape her as a person, and more particularly her capacity to give and receive love. As she matures into a successful businesswoman, she experiences France with all the romantic perils that would make such a cultural experience whole. She meets a man torn from her dreams in which she finds the coveted reciprocity she longed for all her life. But the illusion of a fairy tale love story soon shatters and both parts are left only with shards that will not fit together anymore. It is up to Elisabeth to rebuild herself and integrate this story into her life experience.

While the main focus falls on the love Elisabeth shared with Antonio, there are several other romantic strings that run through the pages of the book. Lucia Barrett takes on an intergenerational love story presenting very different type of relationships. First, there is the accomplished couple represented by Elisabeth’s grandparents, who are best friends for life and still care deeply about each other at their old age. The second pair, Elisabeth’s parents fell in love with each other easily, but they grew apart over the years. Their shared experiences uncovered mainly their differences and widened the gap between them. Finally, the love story of the heroine remains for you to discover in which category should fall, but hold your judgment until the last pages of the book.

I’ll Be Looking at the Moon is a play on perspectives. A surface will materialize before our eyes depending on how the light will cover it. Whoever controls the light source controls what we see. In this case, Lucia Barrett takes the steering wheel and directs your attention to unexpected details.

The Five Paths to Happiness: The Keys to Living a Happy Life According to Your Personality by Javier Ramon Brito

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The Five Paths to HappinessThe search for happiness is a central theme in our life paths; it seems to be the goal of mankind. Although many view it as a destination some, like Javier Ramon Brito, are here to remind us that it is in fact all about the road. In his book, The Five Paths to Happiness, he describes several means of materializing such an elusive concept.

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Unlike other self-help books which usually put forward a single universal solution, this one presents five ways, adding a layer of complexity to the approach. The author combines different disciplines and thought systems based on a common denominator (the number five) to outline his personal system. From psychology he takes the character structures, the five elements that govern everything (ether, air, fire, water, earth) from Eastern philosophy, also studying the interaction of these elements with the human body from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine.

Debt Cleanse: How To Settle Your Unaffordable Debts For Pennies On The Dollar (And Not Pay Some At All) by Jorge Newbery

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

Debt CleansePart how-to manual, part self-help book, and part-companion to the larger website DebtCleanse.com, Jorge P. Newbery’s Debt Cleanse: How to Settle Your Unaffordable Debts for Pennies on the Dollar (And Not Pay Some at All) is a definitive, exhaustive guide with the goal of forever ridding the reader from the crippling debt that so unfortunately saddles millions of Americans.

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Newbery begins with a set if staggering statistics. Literally millions of Americans are burdened with various forms of debt. Some of this debt is so massive that is it often feels to the victims that they (or even their progeny) will never be rid of it. Newbery himself once suffered from that kind of debtor’s fear. As he so candidly admits, at one point in his career as a businessman, he owed a debt amounting to over twenty-six million dollars. But today he is relatively debt-free. Sound impossible? Newbery’s guide illuminates step-by-step how he was able to emerge from that crippling figure by paying only a miniscule fraction of it. He further provides hundreds of exacting tips, tools, and tactics to aid any person who finds him or herself in debt to eventually walk away debt-free after only paying a very small portion of the overall cost.

Trauma, Shame, and the Power of Love: The Fall and Rise of a Physician Who Heals Himself
by Christopher E. Pelloski, MD

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Trauma, Shame and the Power of LoveAlthough sexual abuse and pornography of children is nothing new within this society, each time it is discovered and reported there is an accompanying knee jerk reaction of anger, disgust and distrust that follows so much so that it becomes hard to see the many facets of the whole truth about the situation such was the case with Christopher E. Pelloski M.D. In his book, Trauma, Shame and the Power of Love, which is a biographical work, he bares his soul and shares his experiences from arrest to trial as a non-productive participant of child pornography.

Be Your Own Brand of Sexy: A New Sexual Revolution for Women by Susan L. Edelman, M.D.

Be Your Own Brand of Sexy

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Positing a revamped sexual revolution for women, Dr. Susan L. Edelman invites the modern dating female to change their lives by changing their dating habits in her book, Be Your Own Brand of Sexy. This is a must have book for all women dating or looking to date, expertly suffused with invaluable guidance from Dr. Edelman that intelligently examines the current dating scene, and does away with the outmoded dating culture of the woman who settles for or accepts less than her ideal mate. In fact it poses a revolutionary change in standards for the modern dating woman that equips women with the means to know themselves and in turn help themselves and ends the potential for dating/relationship heartache.

The Four Horsemen of the Investor’s Apocalypse: The Four Evils That Will Crush Your Portfolio, and How to Fight Them by Robert J. Klosterman, CFP

The Four Horsemen of the Investor's Apocalypse: The four evils that will crush your portfolio, and how to fight them

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

The Four Horsemen of the Investor’s Apocalypse by Robert J. Klosterman, CFP, is a book that all investors should read and learn from, as it deals with four of the deadliest hindrances to investors finding success in their efforts to preserve wealth and maintain growth over time. The book is rightly subtitled “The Four Evils That Will Crush Your Portfolio, and How to Fight Them,” because the four hindrances that Klosterman details have often caused the best laid plans of investors to go terribly astray.

Ox Herding: A Secular Pilgrimage by Jackie Griffiths

Ox Herding

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

If you are looking for a different kind of a travel journal, you might want to take a look at Ox Herding: A Secular Pilgrimage by Jackie Griffiths. Unlike the classical books of this genre, this novel takes you on an expedition to the previously untouched continents of a person’s psyche.

Just as the title suggests, this book is based on the Ten Ox Herding Pictures which are as Jackie Griffiths explains herself: “a Zen Buddhist philosophical classic that depicts the journey to enlightenment through ten distinct and progressive stages of spiritual development”. In fact the author gives us a brief description of these stages in the Introduction section. Although she admits to having doubts about her interference in the reader’s comprehension of her text (“I write this introduction with great trepidation, acknowledging that I’m running the risk of attracting attention to the finger pointing at the moon, rather than to the moon itself”), I find that some of the associations and explanations she puts forward here are necessary. The most useful intervention she had was introducing the reader to the Ten Ox Herding Pictures. Without this, much of the meaning of the novel would have been lost to me. However, going into the actual plot of the novel in this context seemed unnecessary to me.

Laughing in the Rain: Self-Care for the Storms of Life by Hillary Saffran

Laughing in the Rain

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Permeated with challenges life often presents those moments when the stress rains down on you, drenching you in anxiety, fears, and woes. Instead of drowning in your personal sorrows, why not be your own savior and at least have the necessary knowledge for weathering the stress deluge. One fantastic place to start with your self–help, stress-relieving journey is by reading Hillary Saffran’s Laughing in the Rain – Self Care for the Storms of Life. This book is a creative, relatable, fun filled read that sparks many laugh aloud moments, combined with sagacious advice, and reasonably viable stress relief tips.

What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives by Bruce Grierson

What Makes Olga Run

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Olga Kotelko took up track and field at the age of 77. That’s right-when most people are slowing down, this dynamo of a woman ramped up her physical activity to an almost unheard of level. When What Makes Olga Run? was written, Olga was 93 years old and to the point in her track career that there were not always other competitors in her bracket so sometimes she competed in the men’s division. When competing, her times (or distances in the field events) were often so good that not only did she win and set records, she would have won and set records in two age brackets below hers. The author takes readers through a series of steps as scientists try to determine why. What makes this woman so special, so strong and so fast? What gives her the stamina and body of a person decades younger?

111 Inspirational Life Purpose Quotes & Exercises to Find Your Purpose in Life by Suzanne Strisower

111inspirationallifepurposequotes&exercisesReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Do YOU know what your “life purpose” is? If not, do you want to know how to find it, and learn how to use your true potential to fulfill your purpose and life? A perfect road map or guide to discovering what your life purpose really is and how to live to your full potential is Suzanne Strisower’s inspirational and extremely informative workbook, 111 Inspirational Life Purpose Quotes & Exercises To Find Your Purpose In Life. This truly interesting and helpful book contains, as the title mentions, 111 inspirational quotes that you’ll want to commit to memory, and exercises on worksheets that provide a holistic step-by-step approach so that you can achieve your full potential and discover what your life purpose is.

Realizing that wisdom and insight into human nature and what we’re all here on this planet for has fascinated and intrigued people around the world since time immemorial, and that these philosophies and religions have helped seekers after the truth find answers for thousands of years, the author has created the exercises in her workbook based on them. She also incorporates her knowledge of psychology, making her book a sort of GPS to locating what your life purpose is. The worksheets help you get attuned to this purpose, and they dare you to discover the role you play in the divine order of life.

What are some examples of these quotes and worksheets? Are they really that useful, you might ask? We all from time-to-time question why we’re here on Earth, and why we have been born in the era and place we find ourselves in. The exercises can be incredibly useful to guiding us towards this knowledge. They cover a wide range of subjects, each worksheet designed for a specific purpose to aid us in our quest.

In the first section of the book, “Your Hierarchy of Needs,” readers learn what their universal needs are, and how many of them you have personally met. This section is designed to help you recognize what your developmental and chronological goals and purpose are, and then to synthesize these insights. Worksheets in this section include ones such as “Your Numerological Life Purpose,” “Your God’s Eye View Life Purpose,” and “Your Mission and Calling Life Purpose.” Suzanne often provides the links of web sites where you can find out things like the meaning of your name based on numerology. The question that concludes the “Numerology” worksheet is: “What do you think is your purpose based on Numerology?”

Each area of your life is taken into account, like your career and professional side, your spiritual development, your physical health and well being, and your peer relationships. Our life purpose(s) are often multifaceted, combining one’s personal, professional, and spiritual goals. The author gets into this topic also, and the importance we place upon knowing what our life purpose is and in attaining it.

Quotes from famous authors, religious figures, etc. are at the top of each worksheet. The quotes were chosen to correspond to each topic. For instance, the quote at the top of “Exercise #21 – Your Meaningful Activities Life Purpose,” relates to these meaningful activities:

“Engaging in meaningful activities promotes bliss. Activities that provide meaning do so by engaging your values, what you feel is important. When uour activities are important, you’re doing something that makes a difference. You are infused with a sense of purpose, which lifts you above the mundane and dreary.”

111 Inspirational Life Purpose Quotes & Exercises by Suzanne Strisower is an excellent resource and guide to difining whatever your life purpose might be. There are so many things about our true natures that seem hidden from us, though if we’re guided in the right direction, it’s possible to learn some of life’s deepest mysteries. Discover your own life purpose, and take the first step to achieving important goals in your life by checking out this remarkable book today.

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