A self-help book recommendation: Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares by Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2CGnnYv.
…honestly, reading about you stepping out and trying all these things was invigorating, hilarious – in a good way, and inspiring.
Book description from Google Books:
Fighting midlife inertia, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley chose to stare down fear through The 52/52 Project: a year of weekly new experiences designed to push her far outside her comfort zone. These ranged from visiting a nude beach with her seventy-five-year-old mother in tow to taking a road trip with her ex-husband–and then another one with his girlfriend. She also went on a raid with a vice squad and SWAT team, exfoliated a rhinoceros (inadvertently giving him an erection), and crashed a wedding (where she accidentally caught the bouquet). While finding her courage in the most unlikely of circumstances, Sherry ultimately found herself. For midlifers, fatigued parents, and anyone who may be discontent with their life and looking to shake things up, try new things, or just escape, Finding My Badass Self is proof it’s never too late to reinvent yourself–and that the best bucket list of all may be an unbucket list.
The book is rated 4.36/5 at goodreads.com, from 42 ratings. See 25 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CenEkk.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CJA053.

A self-help book recommendation: Every Third Thought: On Life, Death and the Endgame by Robert McCrum

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2ChxD8t.
Mr McCrum’s bravery in staring into the abyss cannot be overestimated; reading his book inevitably brings moments of terror. But “Every Third Thought” has something positive to offer, too.
Book description from Google Books:
AS READ ON BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK’Thoughtful, subtle, elegantly clever and oddly joyous, Every Third Thought is beautiful’ Kate Mosse In 1995, at the age of forty two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke, the subject of his acclaimed memoir My Year Off. Ever since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. And now, twenty-one years on, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries’ every third thought. The question is no longer ‘who am I?’ but ‘how long have I got?’ and ‘what happens next?’ With the words of McCrum’s favourite authors as travel companions, Every Third Thought, takes us on a journey through a year and towards death itself. As he acknowledges his own and his friends’ ageing, McCrum confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with what Freud calls ‘the necessity of dying’? Searching for answers leads him to others for advice and wisdom, and Every Third Thought is populated by the voices of brain surgeons, psychologists, cancer patients, hospice workers, writers and poets. Witty, lucid and provocative, Every Third Thought is an enthralling exploration of what it means to approach the ‘end game’, and begin to recognize, perhaps reluctantly, that we are not immortal. Deeply personal and yet always universal, this is a book for anyone who finds themselves preoccupied by matters of life and death. It is both guide and companion.
The book is rated 3.61/5 at goodreads.com, from 31 ratings. See 9 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CMieOx.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CMiFbD.

A self-help book recommendation: The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading by Anne Gisleson

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2CEQPxS.
This search for purpose and connection amid chaos and loss permeates even the most heart-wrenching moments of The Futilitarians — and it’s what turns the book from a meditation on reading to a celebration of being.
Book description from Google Books:
Recommended Summer Reading — Louise Erdrich, New York TimesA memoir of friendship and literature chronicling a search for meaning and comfort in great books, and a beautiful path out of griefAnne Gisleson had lost her twin sisters, had been forced to flee her home during Hurricane Katrina, and had witnessed cancer take her beloved father. Before she met her husband, Brad, he had suffered his own trauma, losing his partner and the mother of his son to cancer in her young thirties. “How do we keep moving forward,” Anne asks, “amid all this loss and threat?” The answer: “We do it together.” Anne and Brad, in the midst of forging their happiness, found that their friends had been suffering their own losses and crises as well: loved ones gone, rocky marriages, tricky child-rearing, jobs lost or gained, financial insecurities or unexpected windfalls. Together these resilient New Orleanians formed what they called the Existential Crisis Reading Group, which they jokingly dubbed “The Futilitarians.” From Epicurus to Tolstoy, from Cheever to Amis to Lispector, each month they read and talked about identity, parenting, love, mortality, and life in post-Katrina New Orleans,In the year after her father’s death, these living-room gatherings provided a sustenance Anne craved, fortifying her and helping her blaze a trail out of her well-worn grief. More than that, this fellowship allowed her finally to commune with her sisters on the page, and to tell the story of her family that had remained long untold. Written with wisdom, soul, and a playful sense of humor, The Futilitarians is a guide to living curiously and fully, and a testament to the way that even from the toughest soil of sorrow, beauty and wonder can bloom.
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 185 ratings. See 45 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CfugPa.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CFa625.

A self-help book recommendation: Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares by Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2CGnnYv.
…honestly, reading about you stepping out and trying all these things was invigorating, hilarious – in a good way, and inspiring.
Book description from Google Books:
Fighting midlife inertia, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley chose to stare down fear through The 52/52 Project: a year of weekly new experiences designed to push her far outside her comfort zone. These ranged from visiting a nude beach with her seventy-five-year-old mother in tow to taking a road trip with her ex-husband–and then another one with his girlfriend. She also went on a raid with a vice squad and SWAT team, exfoliated a rhinoceros (inadvertently giving him an erection), and crashed a wedding (where she accidentally caught the bouquet). While finding her courage in the most unlikely of circumstances, Sherry ultimately found herself. For midlifers, fatigued parents, and anyone who may be discontent with their life and looking to shake things up, try new things, or just escape, Finding My Badass Self is proof it’s never too late to reinvent yourself–and that the best bucket list of all may be an unbucket list.
The book is rated 4.36/5 at goodreads.com, from 42 ratings. See 25 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2CenEkk.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2CJA053.

A self-help book recommendation: The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2jd9RTu.
An unexpected conclusion, and perhaps one of the most effective and imaginative features of this highly readable book — and to the credit of its author, not at all the book you’d expect from a young and personable Republican senator with high prospects for the political future.
Book description from Google Books:
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERIn an era of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and an unprecedented election, the country’s youth are in crisis. Senator Ben Sasse warns the nation about the existential threat to America’s future.Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America’s youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy. Many of the coming-of-age rituals that have defined the American experience since the Founding: learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant—are being delayed or skipped altogether. The statistics are daunting: 30% of college students drop out after the first year, and only 4 in 10 graduate. One in three 18-to-34 year-olds live with their parents. From these disparate phenomena: Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse who as president of a Midwestern college observed the trials of this generation up close, sees an existential threat to the American way of life.In The Vanishing American Adult, Sasse diagnoses the causes of a generation that can’t grow up and offers a path for raising children to become active and engaged citizens. He identifies core formative experiences that all young people should pursue: hard work to appreciate the benefits of labor, travel to understand deprivation and want, the power of reading, the importance of nurturing your body—and explains how parents can encourage them.Our democracy depends on responsible, contributing adults to function properly—without them America falls prey to populist demagogues. A call to arms, The Vanishing American Adult will ignite a much-needed debate about the link between the way we’re raising our children and the future of our country.
The book is rated 3.98/5 at goodreads.com, from 1814 ratings. See 395 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2Bu52vV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2jb7mB1.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A self-help book recommendation: Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

A critic review (source LA Times) can be read at: http://lat.ms/2ByN4br.
Part nostalgia, the book is also a reckoning by Abdul-Jabbar of the racism he faced as a young athlete during the tumultuous civil rights era, of how he and Wooden dealt with that racism and of Abdul-Jabbar’s realization much later in his life of the effects he had on Wooden’s beliefs and of the ways Wooden had supported him.
Book description from Google Books:
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLERKareem Abdul-Jabbar explores his 50-year friendship with Coach John Wooden, one of the most enduring and meaningful relationships in sports history.When future NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was still an 18-year-old high school basketball prospect from New York City named Lew Alcindor, he accepted a scholarship from UCLA largely on the strength of Coach John Wooden’s reputation as a winner. It turned out to be the right choice, as Alcindor and his teammates won an unprecedented three NCAA championship titles. But it also marked the beginning of one of the most extraordinary and enduring friendships in the history of sports. In COACH WOODEN AND ME, Abdul-Jabbar reveals the inspirational story of how his bond with John Wooden evolved from a history-making coach-player mentorship into a deep and genuine friendship that transcended sports, shaped the course of both men’s lives, and lasted for half a century.COACH WOODEN AND ME is a stirring tribute to the subtle but profound influence that Wooden had on Kareem as a player, and then as a person, as they began to share their cultural, religious, and family values while facing some of life’s biggest obstacles. From his first day of practice, when the players were taught the importance of putting on their athletic socks properly, to gradually absorbing the sublime wisdom of Coach Wooden’s now famous “Pyramid of Success”; to learning to cope with the ugly racism that confronted black athletes during the turbulent Civil Rights era as well as losing loved ones, Abdul-Jabbar fondly recalls how Coach Wooden’s fatherly guidance not only paved the way for his unmatched professional success but also made possible a lifetime of personal fulfillment.Full of intimate, never-before-published details and delivered with the warmth and erudition of a grateful student who has learned his lessons well, COACH WOODEN AND ME is at once a celebration of the unique philosophical outlook of college basketball’s most storied coach and a moving testament to the all-conquering power of friendship.
The book is rated 4.39/5 at goodreads.com, from 493 ratings. See 105 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2jg0zpL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2jgsztx.

A self-help book recommendation: A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2j2Zxxx.
…as with The Last Act of Love we get the subtle feeling that the very process of writing this book was a kind of therapy. It comes from a place of bleakness, but turns into a tender appreciation of life’s beauty.
Book description from Google Books:
‘I devoured A Manual for Heartache in one sitting . . . a kind, honest and wise book about how to make a friend of sadness.’ Rachel JoyceWhen Cathy Rentzenbrink was still a teenager, her happy family was torn apart by an unthinkable tragedy. In A Manual for Heartache she describes how she learnt to live with grief and loss and find joy in the world again. She explores how to cope with life at its most difficult and overwhelming and how we can emerge from suffering forever changed, but filled with hope.This is a moving, warm and uplifting book that offers solidarity and comfort to anyone going through a painful time, whatever it might be. It’s a book that will help to soothe an aching heart and assure its readers that they’re not alone.
The book is rated 3.99/5 at goodreads.com, from 194 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2Bol0HX.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BocJUc.

A self-help book recommendation: The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age by Andrew O’Hagan

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2j7eluY.
This book is too fragmentary and recycled to be a definitive encounter with the internet. Only a brief foreword and a few updated sections are new material. And O’Hagan’s position in the pieces – as the invited confidant of his subjects – ultimately feels too comfortable.
Book description from Google Books:
A Top 10 Book of Essays & Literary Criticism for Fall 2017, Publishers Weekly | Books We Can’t Wait to Read in the Rest of 2017, Chicago ReaderThe slippery online ecosystem is the perfect breeding ground for identities: true, false, and in between. The Internet shorthand IRL—“in real life”—now seems naïve. We no longer question the reality of online experiences but the reality of selfhood in the digital age.In The Secret Life: Three True Stories, the essayist and novelist Andrew O’Hagan issues three bulletins from the porous border between cyberspace and IRL. “Ghosting” introduces us to the beguiling and divisive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose autobiography the author agrees to ghostwrite with unforeseen—and unforgettable—consequences. “The Invention of Ronnie Pinn” finds the author using the actual identity of a deceased young man to construct an entirely new one in cyberspace, leading him on a journey deep into the Web’s darkest realms. And “The Satoshi Affair” chronicles the strange case of Craig Wright, the Australian Web developer who may or may not be the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto—and who may or may not be willing, or even able, to reveal the truth.O’Hagan’s searching pieces take us to the weirder fringes of life in a digital world while also casting light on our shared predicaments. What does it mean when your very sense of self becomes, to borrow a term from the tech world, “disrupted”? Perhaps it takes a novelist, an inventor of selves, armed with the tools of a trenchant reporter, to find an answer.
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 106 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2BtcDuN.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BsuSQW.

A self-help book recommendation: How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A Memoir in Essays by Mandy Len Catron

A critic review (source Toronto Star) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2Btha05.
Clear-eyed and full of heart, How to Fall in Love With Anyone is mandatory reading for anyone coping with — or curious about — the challenges of contemporary courtship.
Book description from Google Books:
An insightful, charming, and absolutely fascinating memoir from the author of the popular New York Times essay, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” (one of the top five most popular New York Times pieces of 2015) explores the romantic myths we create and explains how they limit our ability to achieve and sustain intimacy.What really makes love last? Does love ever work the way we say it does in movies and books and Facebook posts? Or does obsessing over those love stories hurt our real-life relationships? When her parents divorced after a twenty-eight year marriage and her own ten-year relationship ended, those were the questions that Mandy Len Catron wanted to answer. In a series of candid, vulnerable, and wise essays that takes a closer look at what it means to love someone, be loved, and how we present our love to the world, Catron deconstructs her own personal canon of love stories. She delves all the way back to 1944, when her grandparents first met in a coal mining town in Appalachia, to her own dating life as a professor in Vancouver, drawing insights from her fascinating research into the universal psychology, biology, history, and literature of love. She uses biologists’ research into dopamine triggers to ask whether the need to love is an innate human drive. She uses literary theory to show why we prefer certain kinds of love stories. She urges us to question the unwritten scripts we follow in relationships and looks into where those scripts come from in the first place. And she tells the story of how she decided to test a psychology experiment that she’d read about—where the goal was to create intimacy between strangers using a list of thirty-six questions—and ended up in the surreal situation of having millions of people following her brand-new relationship. In How to Fall in Love with Anyone Catron flips the script on love and offers a deeply personal, and universal, investigation.
The book is rated 3.68/5 at goodreads.com, from 541 ratings. See 117 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2j6Fezd.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2j6QYSh.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A self-help book recommendation: A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2j2Zxxx.
…as with The Last Act of Love we get the subtle feeling that the very process of writing this book was a kind of therapy. It comes from a place of bleakness, but turns into a tender appreciation of life’s beauty.
Book description from Google Books:
‘I devoured A Manual for Heartache in one sitting . . . a kind, honest and wise book about how to make a friend of sadness.’ Rachel JoyceWhen Cathy Rentzenbrink was still a teenager, her happy family was torn apart by an unthinkable tragedy. In A Manual for Heartache she describes how she learnt to live with grief and loss and find joy in the world again. She explores how to cope with life at its most difficult and overwhelming and how we can emerge from suffering forever changed, but filled with hope.This is a moving, warm and uplifting book that offers solidarity and comfort to anyone going through a painful time, whatever it might be. It’s a book that will help to soothe an aching heart and assure its readers that they’re not alone.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 194 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2Bol0HX.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BocJUc.