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Reviews of what you should be reading next.

Category: Self Help (page 1 of 2)

Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines

Two-year-old Rachel Haines didn’t know that she would be committing to twenty-one years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance as she jumped into the foam pit during her first “mommy and me” gymnastics class. She had no idea that one day she would become a two-time National Team Member, two-time National Champion, and a Division I college gymnast at the University of Minnesota. Nor could she have known that she had just signed herself up for serious injury, emotional distress, and continuous sexual assault by world-renowned trainer turned serial molester, Larry Nassar.

In Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture, Rachel details her experiences as a competitive gymnast and the painful realities of being one of Nassar’s many victims. With honesty and candidness, Rachel shares how the sport she loved that gave her so much—friendships, accomplishments, a college education—is also tangled in a dangerously toxic culture that needs to be fixed. In a world that was setting her up for a lifetime of recovery, she tells how faith, family, and an army of survivors made healing possible.

 

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

This story will grab you and not let you go until you reach the last word. It may even stay with you, with the atrocities and pressure that author Rachel Haines sustained buried deep in the back of your mind.

It is easy to think of gymnasts the same way we consider ballerinas: ethereal, feminine, able to perform superhuman feats of leaping and twisting that doesn’t seem possible. However, the two fields possess a few more similarities that are not so desirable. Both contain instances of eating disorders, perfectionism, toxic cultures….and abuse. In 2018 the prestigious New York City Ballet fired two male dancers after harassment charges had been brought against them. The history of abuse, both physical and sexual, is storied in the ballet world. Men (whether dancers or choreographers) hold all the power, and women are treated as second class citizens.

It seems that men hold all the power in gymnastics as well. Last year the horrific story about Larry Nassar’s hundreds of victims surfaced, which empowered other victims to come forward and share their story of the abusive culture they experienced. Coaches such as John Geddert and Bela Karolyi used their temper to mentally and physically abuse gymnasts under the guise of “encouragement” or to “toughen them up for competition”. The athletes were surrounded by a cloak of silence, looking inward and wondering if they were misreading Nassar’s “treatments”, which included taking pills and/or enduring digital manipulation (internal and external). As time went on, the gymnasts became inured to what was happening to them and accepted it as part of their lot in life. After all, they had chosen to be gymnasts, and to deny or expose this part would result in them being shunned or removed from the environment they knew and loved. As Haines notes, being a gymnast was her reason for living. No matter how painful or stressful it was, she was first and foremost, an elite athlete who performed gymnastics for a living. She knew of no other world, nor did she want to.

As Haines became more competitive, she sustained a horrific injury to her back (it was broken in multiple places) and had to work through pain on a daily basis. Nassar made sure to give her many “treatments” while telling her that while her back was injured, she was still cleared to perform her routines. As time went on, her legs grew numb. Her pre-competition ritual consisted of slathering immense amounts of Icy Hot on her legs, then punching them or cutting them so she would be able to detect a modicum of sensation. As I read further into the book, I was speechless at how she was able to keep performing (check out her videos on YouTube). Once, her legs betrayed her during competition. She bravely took a moment, then got back on the beam to complete her routine. If that is not courage, strength, pluck, bravery, and badassery, then I don’t know what is. Yet, through all of this, she was filled with self-doubt and impostor syndrome. Haines felt like she could never be equal to others and would often compare herself to other gymnasts. This left her wanting to be better, to be worthy, to be deserving.

Women are usually their own worst critics. The pressure Haines put on herself was unbelievable, as her fierce spirit held her in good stead throughout multiple years of practice, excruciating pain, and sexual abuse. Despite all her achievements, Haines still believed she was not good enough. This book will take you through her entire gymnastics journey, the highs and lows, the pain and the victories. It will also give you new respect for Haines and the other gymnasts who had to suffer through Nassar’s years of abuse. Haines bares her soul, her doubts, and her faith in this book, and I am sure it was not an easy task. Looking inward, then speaking out is one of the most intimidating things a woman can do; and Haines showed us her strength and wisdom, even as she confronted Nassar at his trial.

If this story does not move you or fill you with pride at how these women were able to overcome adversity, you had better check your pulse. Pick up your copy here.

 

HOW TO BE AN EVEN BETTER MANAGER by Michael Armstrong

 

This new edition of How to be an Even Better Manager covers 50 topics organized into three key areas in which every manager needs to be competent: managing people, managing activities and processes, and managing and developing oneself. With new chapters on how to learn, achieve continuous improvement, foster engagement, make a business case, and prepare a business plan, this is an up-to-date handbook for existing and aspiring managers.
How to be an Even Better Manager provides sound guidelines that will help readers develop a broad base of managerial skills and knowledge and build on existing skills. Even the most experienced manager needs to keep abreast of new developments and brush up on essential skills. This new edition will continue to be a valuable aid.

 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an review!

New managers are inundated with books to read and advice from well meaning coworkers. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out the best use of your time and which books to read. HOW TO BE AN EVEN BETTER MANAGER is not a new book per se; it’s been updated and modernized for today’s work world. The original edition has sold over 170,000 copies worldwide, so you know this is advice that gets results.

Wondering how to promote a learning culture? How to have those difficult conversations with an underperforming associate? How to gain confidence and engage your team? This book has those answers, and more!

There are 5 sections: Managing People, Developing People, Management Skills, Personal Skills, and Business and Financial Management. Armstrong provides a guideline for the new and seasoned manager alike by putting forth situations (something went wrong, here is how to fix it) in simple language with reasons why this works.

Another great thing about this book is that you don’t have to read it from chapter to chapter – you can pick and choose what you need to know and get to that section quickly. The sections are not overly long and are digested easily.

The final chapter gives an overview of reading balance sheets, financial ratios and what they are used for. I found this wonderful because a lot of beginner management books never touch on the money aspect of things; they just show you how to be more of a people person.

Taking a few moments each night to read a few pages at a time will help fledgling managers immensely, as well as encourage “old hats” to try some new things and think outside the box.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”0749471549″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

 

No Limits – Blow The Cap Off Your Capacity

no limits

#1 New York Times bestselling author John C. Maxwell’s latest book will enhance the lives of leaders, professionals, and anyone who wants to achieve success and personal growth. We often treat the word capacity as if it were a natural law of limitation. Unfortunately, most of us are much more comfortable defining what we perceive as off limits rather than what’s really possible. Could it be that many of us have failed to expand our potential because we have allowed what we perceive as capacity to define us? What if our limits are not really our limits? In his newest book, John Maxwell identifies 17 core capacities. Some of these are abilities we all already possess, such as energy, creativity and leadership. Others are aspects of our lives controlled by our choices, like our attitudes, character, and intentionality. Maxwell examines each of these capacities, and provides clear and actionable advice on how you can increase your potential in each. He will guide you on how to identify, grow, and apply your critical capacities. Once you’ve blown the “cap” off your capacities, you’ll find yourself more successful–and fulfilled–in your daily life.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

If you are feeling down, all you need to do is pick up a John C. Maxwell book and you are guaranteed to become empowered fast. To me, there is nothing greater than the mini pep talks on every page.

So many books encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and work on learning new things. In this latest work by the management genius, Maxwell tells you how to increase your capacity by concentrating on things you are good at. I found this refreshing and unique. Most of us take our strengths for granted and concentrate on things we struggle with, hoping to get better at them. Imagine if you worked on things you ARE good at; how much better would you be with practice?

Some of Maxwell’s suggestions are easily implemented, such as always assuming there is a solution to a problem, discussing your ideas with mentors before they are “perfect” and using your gifts to help others who may need a push forward.

I believe you are always learning and growing. Maxwell holds the same view – no matter what you are doing, there are always things you can take away to benefit either yourself or others. His writing style is clear without being preachy, with generous examples thrown in using real people and actual situations.

On every page you can find a phrase or sentence that can be used as a daily affirmation or work focus point – which is the golden part of this book. I fully intend to buy a hard copy and highlight the things I find valuable.

The author’s love of inspiring others shines through loud and clear. He has created an empire of empowerment with his books and lectures, and you can tell he truly loves his fellow man. No one cares more about your personal growth than Maxwell, and that is refreshing.  He’s like a businessman’s Mr Rogers – no judgement, always upbeat and full of confidence.

Simon Sinek is all about the “why”, while John Maxwell is about the “how”. The combined information from these books creates a powerful message for managers, which in turn creates a harmonious and wondrous work message for staff.

This latest book is truly a winner! You can pick up your copy [easyazon_link identifier=”1455548286″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Breaking Faith by E. Graziani

 

Breaking Faith high rez coverFaith Emily Hansen is the eighteen-year-old narrator with a lot of life to talk about in this gritty novel about family, mental illness, and addiction. All Faith wants is to be loved, to have a stable home, and to live without the need to “chase the dragon” – the heroin addiction that seemed to keep the Darkness at bay but ultimately led to her life on the street. As the story begins Faith appeals to other kids battling their own inner darknesses. Ultimately Faith wants to tell her story to show that there is hope and that she herself was pulled back from her ledge by an unlikely champion – the sister who she blamed for many of her problems.

 

 

Many thanks to the author for this review copy!

BREAKING FAITH is the hard hitting, roller coaster story of a girl from a dysfunctional family that just wants to be loved. Her mother is on drugs, her grandmother is frigid, and her two sisters are normal. As the middle child, Faith takes things a lot harder than the others, due to a murder she witnessed when she was just a child. She has the Darkness (what I feel to be depression and anxiety) inside her, and she turns to drugs to escape life.

The plot goes into stark detail about how easy it is to get hooked, especially when you feel like an outsider in your own skin. We see Faith as she struggles through school, experiences letdowns, and finally runs away. It is not a book for the faint of heart. Just as I thought things would finally go right for her, she falls back down the rabbit hole into the Darkness.

Graziani is known for her strong female leads, but this is the first time she has explored a plot like this. Faith is indeed strong, but as those who have battled depression or addiction, sometimes intentions are not enough to save you.

My heart ached for the girl as she existed, homeless, during a freezing Canadian winter. It seemed the world conspired against her until she was ready to give up. The author is adept at investing the reader into Faith’s story so as you read, her struggles become real, almost larger than life. One cannot help feeling devastated at how Faith gets so close to being loved, only to have it ripped away again. The plot turns are done realistically in the author’s capable hands – nothing is too removed from reality.

I yearned to be able to put my arm around this sad girl and tell her that everything was going to be all right. Sometimes it’s easy to take the path of least resistance; even though Faith showed early signs of strength, her circumstances made it easy to turn to drugs again.

This was an excellent read, with just the right touch of despair and joy. Graziani knows exactly what details to include so the reader never has that “suspension of belief” moment. As I read, I felt connected to Faith and her battles throughout the entire book. I can only hope that a girl who is struggling as Faith did, will read this and understand that there is love in the world for her. I also believe that there will be those who read this and gain strength from it.

Perhaps Graziani will be able to change lives with this book. I certainly hope so.

You can pick up your own copy [easyazon_link identifier=”1772600245″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young

sucess

It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake.

If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not alone. From the high-achieving Ph.D. candidate convinced she’s only been admitted to the program because of a clerical error to the senior executive who worries others will find out she’s in way over her head, a shocking number of accomplished women in all ca­reer paths and at every level feel as though they are faking it—impostors in their own lives and careers.
While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, women are more apt to agonize over tiny mistakes, see even constructive criticism as evi­dence of their shortcomings, and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. They often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfec­tionism, overpreparation, maintaining a lower pro­file, withholding their talents and opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed, they think, Phew, I fooled ’em again.
An internationally known speaker, Valerie Young has devoted her career to understanding women’s most deeply held beliefs about themselves and their success. In her decades of in-the-trenches research, she has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women experience this crushing self-doubt.
In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Young gives these women the solution they have been seek­ing. Combining insightful analysis with effective ad­vice and anecdotes, she explains what the impostor syndrome is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it mani­fests in your life. With her empowering, step-by-step plan, you will learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel—and act—as bright and capable as others already know you are.

Have you ever felt that you didn’t deserve that job you have? Or the grades in school, or praise from peers? Do you feel as if there was a mistake somehow, and you are not as good as others say you are? You are not alone; you may be suffering from Impostor Syndrome.

Many high-achieving women feel as if they got something they didn’t deserve, and are waiting to be “found out”. I picked up this book because I was recently promoted, and still couldn’t believe that I was the “one in charge” – and was sure once I was in the job for a little while, I would be “found out” to be incompetent. At times I felt like a child playing at being grown up.

The author was plagued by similar thoughts – instead of faking it til she made it, she decided to do research into this emerging phenomenon. She came to realize that many things come together to cause this self doubt in women: being “feminine” means not being “bossy”, interacting with men on an uneven playing field causes women to shrink from conflict and quietly overcompensate, plus the emotional makeup of the female means constructive criticism sounds like denigration.

It almost sounds like a given that being successful and a woman means you are in for a lot of self doubt. The author is aware of this, and offers many uplifting thoughts along the way. She takes every excuse that you have, every reason that cements your failure, and cancels them out with infallible stories and truths that help banish the deadly Impostor. Her tone is never judgemental, but encouraging.

Some of her anecdotes are eye opening. There was one comparing two managers who were given a project; one they knew nothing about. One shrunk back and said they couldn’t do it, the other got through it by convincing everyone that they had the background to handle the project. The difference? The first one was a woman, the second, a man. How many times have we heard a man bluster his way through things, and if he fails, he just laughs it off and tries again? Why can’t a woman do this?

The author encourages you to change your mindset by replacing crippling thoughts with positive ones, and offers activities at the end of every chapter to show you that no, you are not a fake. Her style is easy to read while getting her point across in a powerful way. I felt as if I had an older sister who put her arm around me and gave me a push in the right direction!

This is not a book you can skim through; I think it would work best by digesting the chapters slowly while doing a good deal of self reflection. Years of a certain thought pattern doesn’t go away easily, and the author acknowledges this. Everything takes practice. Thanks to this book, banishing the Impostor Syndrome is something I do every day!

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”B00DEKR52E” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

happiness

Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.
Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential.

 

I was told about this book at a management seminar; almost immediately I ordered it from Amazon.

The author’s writing is clear and often self deprecatingly funny. He uses relevant stories to illustrate his points, and offers reasons that explain the “why” of why being happy makes things better.

Before I read this book, I was personally aware of a phenomenon in my own life: since changing jobs I was a lot happier, and things always seemed to go my way in that new job. This book seemed to be about my own life changes! We all have that mindset that “once I get this job, I’ll be happy”, and for me, it was the reverse. My job made me happy, and I had that spill over in the rest of my life. There were promotions, responsibilities, knowledge, and success for me. Was this all due to my happiness? Or was it my hard work that did it?

In any case; THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE should be required reading for anyone wondering how they can make their life better. Imagine a world where everyone was smiling at each other – Achor tells a story of how people became more engaged with each other as they took a moment to smile at and acknowledge their co-workers. This is similar to the management adage that the boss sets the tone of the office; if the boss comes in and is happy, the office is happy and more productive. This makes perfect sense and I’m quite sure this would work almost everywhere.

One of the great things about this book is that each chapter is a separate point. It’s easy to reach a chapter and then go out in the world to practice the tenets he puts forth. As  you get further into the book you will want to search your own life for signs of happiness, and then create more of it in your personal circle. It’s not a sappy self help book; it’s an encouraging way to look inward and understand the workings of your mind in such a way to truly make a change for the better.

Don’t have time to read? (Horrors!) You can also catch some TED talks with Shawn Achor – he is super personable and makes relevant points in an entertaining and thoughtful way.

You can pick up your copy [easyazon_link identifier=”B015QK3RB2″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Living With ADD – A Workbook for Adults by Roberts and Jansen

living with add

An estimated 3 to 10 million adults in the US struggle with the symptoms of attention-deficit disorder (ADD.) If you’re among this group, this interactive workbook will enable you to identify the personal problems caused by your condition and develop skills for coping with it. Learn how to assess yourself and the ways in which ADD affects your daily life. Then, work through exercises structured to help you deal with self-esteem issues; find out how to change distorted thought patterns, manage stress, and develop a structured approach to starting and finishing tasks. Final chapters offer specific suggestions for handling common problems at work and school, dealing with intimate relationships, and finding support.

 

Thanks to New Harbinger Publications for this review copy!

While LIVING WITH ADD is a book designed to help the individual struggling with ADD symptoms better understand his or her own situation, I believe that this book would be better sold as a “couples therapy” book than a “self help” book. Kyle and I read this book together, and it did much more to help us understand each other than it did to help me understand myself (to be fair, that may have more to do with my having read multiple books on this topic than with any quality inherent to the book itself).

LIVING WITH ADD follows a format of:
• Introducing a problem faced by ADDers – mood swings, for example
• Describing different ways in which people with ADD typically handle or experience the problem
• Asking the reader about his or her own experience with the problem being discussed, prompting him or her to write and answer directly onto the page
• Providing advice on how to limit the negative impact of the problem on the reader’s life

The idea of this workbook is to help the ADD’er work through frequently encountered problems related to ADD. You don’t have to follow the chapters in order, which may bring joy to an ADD’er’s heart! What’s important is that the reader take the time to think about the exercises and answer truthfully. The questions are both probing and simple, and most all of them provoke a thought process.  I found that some of the questions really forced me to come to terms with some of my actions, both in the past and recently.

Kyle would read a chapter first, and then I would read it, filling in the blanks as I went along. She would then look again to see my answers. Since she would have already read the chapter, she would have had time to think about how I might have answered, so that when I would answer differently from how she expected, it would lead to a conversation that made us understand each other more deeply.

I think that people who struggle with ADD symptoms are tired of hearing themselves explain themselves. We feel like we’re making excuses, and our experiences over time teach us that people don’t want to hear it. It’s helpful to have a disinterested third party, like this book, initiate the conversation. For couples who often find themselves getting defensive when they would really just like to get closer, this book might be the right tool to make that happen. If that doesn’t sound like you, you may still stand to learn more about each other.

The wealth of value in this workbook is bolstered by the easygoing, unambiguous prose that neither assumes prior knowledge in the reader, nor disrespects his or her intelligence. It’s an easy read even though it maintains a high level of information density. That is, you won’t find yourself sojourning multiple pages into a chapter wondering when the author will move on. Examples are usually employed to introduce new dimensions to the the problem being discussed. Otherwise, they are included to flesh out a topic that may be difficult to identify with, where the reader might think, “That isn’t me… oh wait. That actually is me.” In LIVING WITH ADD, Ph.Ds. Roberts & Jansen have provided us with a case study for the judicious use of examples in a self-help text.

Finally, the margins on these pages are enormous, leaving tons of room for notes. I was compelled to leave a doodle here and there in my copy!

I feel compelled to conjure up some criticism for this workbook, but nothing serious has come to mind. I would really have to nitpick. One or two of the writing prompts don’t leave enough room for a broad range of possible answers, forcing me to leave them blank. If this wasn’t such a fantastic book, something like this would genuinely irk me. In this case, however, this was a mild curiosity sandwiched by reams of goodness. That these questions stood out to me at all speaks to the overall quality of the rest of the book.

Want your own copy? Know someone with ADD who would like this? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1572240636″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

Woman on Fire by Amy Jo Goddard

woman on

Based on her sought-after sexuality workshops, the coauthor of Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men shows women how to master the 9 elements of sexual empowerment to reclaim their desire and live the sexually fulfilling lives they want.

The prevalence of low sexual desire ranges from 26.7% among premenopausal women to 52.4% among naturally menopausal women. That is an enormous segment of women who are frustrated about their lack of desire and wonder what’s wrong. But in Woman on Fire, Amy Jo Goddard shows us that the more whole we are as sexual beings, the more fulfilled we are as human beings. In this accessible, prescriptive book, Amy Jo reveals her holistic, inside-out approach to developing Sexual Empowerment. Women from 20 to 70 come to her workshops with issues like these: “What am I missing?” “I don’t like sex the way everyone else seems to.” “How do I maintain desire after having kids?” “How do I build sexual confidence?”

In answer, Amy Jo shows us how to master the 9 Elements of a Sexually Empowered Life and includes stories from the thousands of women she has worked with. She shows us how to get (back) in touch with desire, explore vulnerability and play, and push the boundaries of what we think is acceptable. We will not just have better sex, we will have more pleasure throughout life and more intimate relationships, whether we have many partners or one.

Thanks to  Roshe Anderson at Penguin Random House for gifting me this review copy!

Amy Jo Goddard is a world reknowned sexual empowerment coach. She has done many things to promote sexuality, feminism, and couple’s communication. With those credentials under her belt, I expected a whole lot from this book –and I wasn’t disappointed!

I started highlighting stuff about 20 pages in. Goddard’s vision is refreshing in that, if society would stop sending women sex-negative messages, they would be able to enjoy themselves more. Women are shamed and made to feel guilty on a regular basis. Mothers tell their daughters to be protective of their body and not be a tease. Girlfriends talk about each other behind their backs, using terms like “slut” and whore”, when peer pressure is at its most effective. Men use their strength against women and hurt their psyche with rape or other types of abuse. Goddard’s message is to let go of your “story”, the tale you may tell yourself and live your life around it (I am a victim, I am a slut, I am someone who has strange sexual tastes) and embrace who you really are. People identify so strongly with their own stories that it can keep them from moving forward.

Goddard says that some of your story, while relevant in the past, may be outdated now. Perhaps you are divorced; perhaps you feel attracted to women now instead of men; perhaps there are things going on in your life that has changed you in other ways. No matter what is happening, it’s time for you to find your voice and speak up for yourself. There is no need for any woman to feel powerless in her life. There is no reason for any woman to hold onto beliefs that don’t serve you (sex before marriage is bad, good girls don’t have that type of fantasy).

In WOMAN ON FIRE, the author outlines 9 elements that are essential to sexual empowerment. She also includes an online portal with exercises and resources that will help the reader get the most out of her book.

As I read each chapter, I could feel myself figuratively “catching on fire” and wanting to become the woman that Goddard says is inside all of us.

I was especially moved by the chapter on emotion and showing up emotionally powerful. Goddard says there is a cause and effect for everything, and that YOU are the cause and your life circumstances are the effects. It makes perfect sense to me—and somehow no other book has every conveyed that in such a clarifying way before.

The writing is supportive, empowering, powerful and bold. This is not a burn-your-bra missive; this is a search-within-yourself journey that just happens to have sex at its core. Women that have contented sex lives will benefit from reading this as well, because Goddard forces you to think about things in a new way.

Her theory is acceptance: of yourself, of your needs, of your desires, of your body. Element 4 is all about your body and the media lies that force unobtainable standards upon women. There is also a section that illustrates the sex organs and explains their function.

Goddard is frank about her past abuse and how she freed herself of her own story, lest there be some women who discredit her theories as being too glib for comfort. Healing from past shame/abuse/loss of power is not easily gained, yet the author is open about her situation and the ways she learned to let go and regain self esteem again. To me, this makes her words more real and more empowering.

Women must learn to be whoever THEY want to be, not trying to live up to someone else’s idea. True, the major portion of this book urges you to awaken your erotic core, but it is also helpful for anyone wanting to gain more self love, confidence, and mindfulness. Here’s an example of how much Goddard wants women to make themselves the best they can be: her confidence quiz. Her website is full of information and encouragement for women of all ages.

Today’s world is full of self help books and buzzwords to make women feel empowered–WOMAN ON FIRE is a book that delivers and supports this attitude with real stories, real scenarios, and authentic support. Kudos to Amy Jo for telling it like it is, free of shame or embarrassment. I hope this book takes the world by storm.

Get your own copy [easyazon_link identifier=”1594633762″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Loving Someone With Attention Deficit Disorder by Susan Tschudi

LovingSomeonewithADD-CF.indd

Your partner’s attention deficit disorder (ADD) may not seem like a big deal at first, but eventually, the dynamics surrounding his or her impulsivity, forgetfulness, distractibility, and restlessness can really strain your relationship. You don’t want to act like a parent, yet you may feel like you can’t rely on your partner to get things done. Loving Someone with Attention Deficit Disorder is your guide to navigating a relationship with someone with ADD so you can create healthy boundaries while remaining sympathetic to your partner’s symptoms. An essential resource for every couple affected by ADD, this book will help you:

• Understand medication and other treatments
• Recover quickly when your partner’s symptoms frustrate you
• Establish personal boundaries to avoid excessive caretaking
• Identify and take care of your own needs so you can feel more relaxed

 

Thanks to Cassie Kolias at New Harbinger Publications for providing this review copy!

This book is an addition to my AD/HD  shelf. Having read work by renowned author Gina Pera, I was eager to see what this author had to say.

The first chapter was golden. Tschudi’s style is very simple, easy to understand, and speaks to the reader in an understated tone that seems comforting somehow. I especially was affected by the part where she states that ADD is a neurobiological issue—you cannot change your partner no more than you can expect a paraplegic to walk. Obviously you can assist  your partner in managing his life better, but first and foremost, he must see the issue and want to do something about it.

That is where the book begins to break down. Much of the rest of Tschudi’s advice is partly helpful, but not relevant to some situations. I did feel that this work would be most helpful to couples whose communication skills are either minimal or non existent. Many ways to broach uncomfortable subjects are offered, with scenarios detailing “real” couples and ADD-related problems.

Example: Due to the husband’s procrastination, both Clark and Marilyn were always late to church. Marilyn hated this, and was upset that nothing seemed to work; not nagging, not threats, etc. So they both sat down and tried an exercise that Tschudi puts forth: brainstorm and come up with solutions to the problem, no matter how outrageous. Write them all down and discuss each one.

This couple did just that, and came up with the idea that Marilyn would take her own car to church, thereby arriving on time and avoiding the stress and arguing that inevitably occurred. Both parties were happy.

Now for my problem with this: I’m sure there are a lot of situations where the woman would take herself to church and grow old waiting for her ADD husband to show up. The only thing changing here is the woman’s behavior. No one is helping the ADD’er to manage his issue. And this seems to be the tone of the rest of the book: to save yourself from anguish, realize that the ADD’er is suffering from neurobiology and may never be able to live a “normal” life. You must learn to live with it, and the sooner you realize this, the better.

I showed this to my resident ADD’er, and he was nonplussed. He said that just because the woman made it to the church on time, that didn’t address the man’s procrastination, and possibly even rewarded it. His take on it was this:

“When you tell someone that you no longer expect of them something that you have expected of them in the past, you may be relieving them of a responsibility, but you’re also taking something away from them. That person can feel the respect you lose for him, and he see the chance to repair it vanish when you take away the opportunity for him to get it right. Strong relationships are built upon respect. We fight for that respect when we think we can win it, but when we think that we can’t, the motivation to do anything may be gone. Obviously, both parties have a stake in the husband getting out of the house on time, but if our solution is going to be for nobody to expect anything from anyone, then these people might as well just break up. That would be even better because it would eliminate all of the conflict. Problem solved!”

 

Another scenario was a do it yourselfer leaving his unfinished projects in the garage, forcing the wife to park on the street. The “solution” was to have her say to him, “In 3 days I’m going to move your stuff so I can park in the garage”. (Apparently the man hated anyone touching his stuff.) Then she was to say. “In 2 days I’m going to park in the garage, so please move your stuff.”

If the project was not moved, the “solution” was to have the WOMAN MOVE IT HERSELF. Sure, Mr Fix It was mad that his things were touched, but that seems to be adding insult to injury to his wife. Not only did her request go unheeded–but she had to clean up his mess to boot! Not acceptable in my house. My resident ADD’er said this:

As for the matter of the garage that needed cleaning, the author concludes her tale by describing the worst possible outcome. Spoiler: the wife cleans the garage herself. She solved the problem by telling the husband to clean the garage by such-and-such date, or else “I’ll clean it myself.” What did this solve? This husband is being dealt with as if he were a particularly indolent 5th grader. I personally felt embarrassed when Kyle read this passage to me. I said something to the tune of, “I would like to think that this is not a highly recommended way of dealing with me.” We talked about it, and we decided that this book is probably meant for couples with poor communication skills. However, if this is the case, then the book still commits the crime of teaching couples with poor communication skills to deal with each other by acting in antisocial, dysfunctional ways toward each other.

As I continued to read, it seemed as if the only advice being offered me, the non ADD’er, was to understand that this is how the brain works, and the only solution is for ME to change, by not being bothered by the distractability, the mood swings, the unfinished projects, and the empty promises.

This disturbed me. I felt this was akin to putting earplugs in your ears to avoid hearing your child’s tantrum in a crowded restaurant. Yes, AD/HD is neurobiologic in origin, but that doesn’t mean you can try to make your life the best it can be, by taking your meds,  listening to those around you, making lists to help you remember, and knowing your triggers. Sure, spouses of ADD’ers need to take care of themselves too, but hiding your head in the sand about problems and offering a bandaid solution is kind of no solution at all.

So, a mixed review on this one. The sub title does say “improving communication and strengthening your relationship”, and I agree that it accomplishes this task well. Many ways are offered for partners to talk and get the lines open for a meaningful dialogue. However, I do feel that eventually, after the talking is over, the bottom line is that the non ADD’er is supposed to feel better about the improved communication but will still be dealing with the issues. The non ADD’er will have developed healthy personal boundaries and the ability to forgive, but that (to me) only goes so far.

Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, considering my communication skills are excellent; but I was also hoping for more advice than “Your partner has ADD–forgive him for what he does, as he cannot help it”.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”B00DIKV0TY” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

The ADHD Advantage

adhd

 

 

Why ADHD could be the key to your success

For decades physicians delivered the diagnosis of ADHD to patients as bad news and warned them about a lifelong struggle of managing symptoms. But The ADHD Advantage explodes this outlook, showing that some of the most highly successful entrepreneurs, leaders, and entertainers have reached the pinnacle of success not in spite of their ADHD but because of it.

Although the ADHD stereotype is someone who can’t sit still, in reality people with ADHD are endlessly curious, often adventurous, willing to take smart risks, and unusually resilient. They are creative, visionary, and entrepreneurial. Sharing the stories of highly successful people with ADHD, Dr. Archer offers a vitally important and inspiring new way to recognize ADHD traits in oneself or in one’s loved ones, and then leverage them to great advantage—without drugs.

As someone who not only has ADHD himself but also has never used medication to treat it, Dr. Archer understands the condition from a unique standpoint. Armed with new science and research, he hopes to generate public interest and even debate with his positive message as he guides the millions of people with ADHD worldwide toward a whole new appreciation of their many strengths and full innate potential.

 

As a reviewer of multiple ADHD books, I was eager to see what this author had to say.
Unfortunately, I was not impressed. The book seems to be padded with lots of stories about those “lucky” enough to have ADHD and had the ability to spend time traveling around the world and failing at multiple jobs before finding the “right” place for them. Not everyone has the money or the support to do this. That is not how the average person with ADHD lives. Moreover, that solution could have been illustrated with a few stories, not over and over again in each chapter. At some point, it goes from inspiring to overkill.
Archer is a big proponent of no drugs for ADHD’ers. I agree that children should be evaluated carefully and not just have pills thrown at them, but the idea of everyone not needing medication is absurd. The author has a series of questions that determine where you are on the ADHD scale, and  claims that anyone that is an 8 or lower (out of 10) does not need medication. I feel that would make for a lot of frustrated people.
He also postulates that ADHD’ers are resilient and can deal with failure well, because their constant failure makes them stronger. I can also tell you that is patently untrue, as I live with an ADHD’er and his failures just make him depressed.
If you are a person with lots of money and a personal assistant to take care of the minutiae of daily living, then you will agree with what Archer has to say.
Otherwise–pass this one up, take your meds, and get on with your life.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1594633517″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

 

 

 

 

 

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