A self-help book recommendation: The Amateur: The Pleasures of Doing What You Love by Andy Merrifield

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iB9Jw1.
It’s a stirring book whose critique of contemporary work culture will be instantly recognisable. It also doubles as a moving memoir of a working-class intellectual.
Book description from Google Books:
A passionate call for independent thinking We have lost our amateur spirit and need to rediscover the radical and liberating pleasure of doing things we love. In The Amateur, thinker Andy Merrifield shows us how the many spheres of our lives–work, knowledge, home, politics–have fallen into the hands of box tickers, bean counters and pedants. In response, he corrals a team of independent thinkers, wayward poets, dabblers and square pegs who challenge accepted wisdom. Such figures as Charles Baudelaire, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edward Said, Guy Debord, Hannah Arendt and Jane Jacobs show us the way. As we will see, the amateur takes risks, thinks the unthinkable, seeks independence–and changes the world. The Amateur is a passionate manifesto for the liberated life, one that questions authority and reclaims the iconoclast as a radical hero of our times.
The book is rated 3.26/5 at goodreads.com, from 34 ratings. See 9 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h9IM2j.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iBhr9x.

A self-help book recommendation: The Amateur: The Pleasures of Doing What You Love by Andy Merrifield

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iB9Jw1.
It’s a stirring book whose critique of contemporary work culture will be instantly recognisable. It also doubles as a moving memoir of a working-class intellectual.
Book description from Google Books:
A passionate call for independent thinking We have lost our amateur spirit and need to rediscover the radical and liberating pleasure of doing things we love. In The Amateur, thinker Andy Merrifield shows us how the many spheres of our lives–work, knowledge, home, politics–have fallen into the hands of box tickers, bean counters and pedants. In response, he corrals a team of independent thinkers, wayward poets, dabblers and square pegs who challenge accepted wisdom. Such figures as Charles Baudelaire, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edward Said, Guy Debord, Hannah Arendt and Jane Jacobs show us the way. As we will see, the amateur takes risks, thinks the unthinkable, seeks independence–and changes the world. The Amateur is a passionate manifesto for the liberated life, one that questions authority and reclaims the iconoclast as a radical hero of our times.
The book is rated 3.26/5 at goodreads.com, from 34 ratings. See 9 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h9IM2j.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iBhr9x.

A self-help book recommendation: Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2izghLs.
Wright’s insight on this point is just one of the many truths in his delightfully personal, yet broadly important, new book Why Buddhism Is True.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Bestseller From one of America’s greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.Robert Wright famously explained in The Moral Animal how evolution shaped the human brain. The mind is designed to often delude us, he argued, about ourselves and about the world. And it is designed to make happiness hard to sustain. But if we know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, what do we do? Wright locates the answer in Buddhism, which figured out thousands of years ago what scientists are only discovering now. Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly—and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people. In Why Buddhism is True, Wright leads readers on a journey through psychology, philosophy, and a great many silent retreats to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age. At once excitingly ambitious and wittily accessible, this is the first book to combine evolutionary psychology with cutting-edge neuroscience to defend the radical claims at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. With bracing honesty and fierce wisdom, it will persuade you not just that Buddhism is true—which is to say, a way out of our delusion—but that it can ultimately save us from ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 1127 ratings. See 160 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h5LUfz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h7rgf9.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A self-help book recommendation: Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning by Claire Dederer

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iw3ucK.
Claire Dederer is different. She picks out private exploits that people rarely mention except to bosom buddies. By writing about them she makes her readers play the buddy role while she is the exhilarating friend: smart, clever, serious and funny.
Book description from Google Books:
From the New York Times best-selling author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, a ferocious, sexy, hilarious memoir about going off the rails at midlife and trying to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become. Claire Dederer is a happily married mother of two, ages nine and twelve, when she suddenly finds herself totally despondent and, simultaneously, suffering through a kind of erotic reawakening. This exuberant memoir shifts between her present experience as a middle-aged mom in the grip of mysterious new hungers and herself as a teenager–when she last experienced life with such heightened sensitivity and longing. From her hilarious chapter titles (“How to Have Sex with Your Husband of Seventeen Years”) to her subjects–from the boyfriend she dumped at fourteen the moment she learned how to give herself an orgasm, to the girls who ruled her elite private school (“when I left Oberlin I thought I had done with them forever, but it turned out …they also edited all the newspapers and magazines, and wrote all the books”), to raising a teenage daughter herself–Dederer writes with an electrifying blend of wry wit and raw honesty. She exposes herself utterly, and in doing so captures something universal about the experience of being a woman, a daughter, a wife.
The book is rated 3.45/5 at goodreads.com, from 822 ratings. See 149 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iwFVAE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ivkUqb.

A self-help book recommendation: Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2izghLs.
Wright’s insight on this point is just one of the many truths in his delightfully personal, yet broadly important, new book Why Buddhism Is True.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Bestseller From one of America’s greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.Robert Wright famously explained in The Moral Animal how evolution shaped the human brain. The mind is designed to often delude us, he argued, about ourselves and about the world. And it is designed to make happiness hard to sustain. But if we know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, what do we do? Wright locates the answer in Buddhism, which figured out thousands of years ago what scientists are only discovering now. Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly—and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people. In Why Buddhism is True, Wright leads readers on a journey through psychology, philosophy, and a great many silent retreats to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age. At once excitingly ambitious and wittily accessible, this is the first book to combine evolutionary psychology with cutting-edge neuroscience to defend the radical claims at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. With bracing honesty and fierce wisdom, it will persuade you not just that Buddhism is true—which is to say, a way out of our delusion—but that it can ultimately save us from ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 1113 ratings. See 158 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h5LUfz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h7rgf9.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A self-help book recommendation: Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning by Claire Dederer

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iw3ucK.
Claire Dederer is different. She picks out private exploits that people rarely mention except to bosom buddies. By writing about them she makes her readers play the buddy role while she is the exhilarating friend: smart, clever, serious and funny.
Book description from Google Books:
From the New York Times best-selling author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, a ferocious, sexy, hilarious memoir about going off the rails at midlife and trying to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become. Claire Dederer is a happily married mother of two, ages nine and twelve, when she suddenly finds herself totally despondent and, simultaneously, suffering through a kind of erotic reawakening. This exuberant memoir shifts between her present experience as a middle-aged mom in the grip of mysterious new hungers and herself as a teenager–when she last experienced life with such heightened sensitivity and longing. From her hilarious chapter titles (“How to Have Sex with Your Husband of Seventeen Years”) to her subjects–from the boyfriend she dumped at fourteen the moment she learned how to give herself an orgasm, to the girls who ruled her elite private school (“when I left Oberlin I thought I had done with them forever, but it turned out …they also edited all the newspapers and magazines, and wrote all the books”), to raising a teenage daughter herself–Dederer writes with an electrifying blend of wry wit and raw honesty. She exposes herself utterly, and in doing so captures something universal about the experience of being a woman, a daughter, a wife.
The book is rated 3.45/5 at goodreads.com, from 822 ratings. See 149 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iwFVAE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ivkUqb.

A self-help book recommendation: The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us by Bruce Feiler

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2xLiF7u.
Feiler plunges into this thicket with verve, intelligence and style. He’s done a miraculous thing, the literary equivalent of breathing life into a figure made of clay — taken a story I’ve been hearing since services were held in the old sanctuary and made me experience it again as if for the first time.
Book description from Google Books:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham comes a revelatory journey across four continents and 4,000 years exploring how Adam and Eve introduced the idea of love into the world, and how they continue to shape our deepest feelings about relationships, family, and togetherness. Since antiquity, one story has stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. One couple has been the battleground for human relationships and sexual identity. That couple is Adam and Eve. Yet instead of celebrating them, history has blamed them for bringing sin, deceit, and death into the world. In this fresh retelling of their story, New York Times columnist and PBS host Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from John Milton’s London to Mae West’s Hollywood, discovering how Adam and Eve should be hailed as exemplars of a long-term, healthy, resilient relationship. At a time of discord and fear over the strength of our social fabric, Feiler shows how history’s first couple can again be role models for unity, forgiveness, and love. Containing all the humor, insight, and wisdom that have endeared Bruce Feiler to readers around the world, The First Love Story is an unforgettable journey that restores Adam and Eve to their rightful place as central figures in our culture’s imagination and reminds us that even our most familiar stories still have the ability to surprise, inspire, and guide us today.
The book is rated 3.93/5 at goodreads.com, from 207 ratings. See 54 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yu9kVb.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yuryWX.

A self-help book recommendation: Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uLYvJn.
Along with the precision of her writing, it is Taylor’s lack of self-righteousness that lends this book its very special quality.
Book description from Google Books:
At the age of sixty, Cory Taylor is dying of melanoma-related brain cancer. Her illness is no longer treatable: she now weighs less than her neighbor’s retriever. As her body weakens, she describes the experience–the vulnerability and strength, the courage and humility, the anger and acceptance–of knowing she will soon die.Written in the space of a few weeks, in a tremendous creative surge, this powerful and beautiful memoir is a clear-eyed account of what dying teaches: Taylor describes the tangle of her feelings, remembers the lives and deaths of her parents, and examines why she would like to be able to choose the circumstances of her death.Taylor’s last words offer a vocabulary for readers to speak about the most difficult thing any of us will face. And while Dying: A Memoir is a deeply affecting meditation on death, it is also a funny and wise tribute to life.
The book is rated 3.92/5 at goodreads.com, from 872 ratings. See 155 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2utJKzA.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uLMYJG.

A self-help book recommendation: How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates

A critic review (source WSJ online) can be read at: http://on.wsj.com/2dl1vDY.
Today’s observer of human behavior may find Carnegie a bit fusty. Still, reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” eight decades later is akin to savoring those proverbs of old. We’re familiar with their truth, but it’s gratifying to be reminded again.
Book description from Google Books:
AN UP-TO-THE -MINUTE ADAPTATI ON OF DALE CARNEGIE ’S TI MELE SS PRESCRIPTI ONS FOR THE DIGITAL AGE DALE CARNEGIE’s commonsense approach to communicating has endured for a century, touching millions and millions of readers. The only diploma that hangs in Warren Buffett’s office is his certificate from Dale Carnegie Training. Lee Iacocca credits Carnegie for giving him the courage to speak in public. Dilbert creator Scott Adams called Carnegie’s teachings “life-changing.” In today’s world, where more and more of our communication takes place across wires and screens, Carnegie’s lessons have not only lasted but become all the more critical. Though he never could have predicted technology’s trajectory, Carnegie proves a wise and helpful teacher in this digital landscape. To demonstrate the many ways his lessons remain relevant, Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc., has reimagined his prescriptions and his advice for this difficult digital age. We may communicate today with different tools and with greater speed, but Carnegie’s advice on how to communicate, lead, and work efficiently remains priceless across the ages.
The book is rated 3.97/5 at goodreads.com, from 2744 ratings. See 246 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cLgo51.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2u2qMic.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A self-help book recommendation: Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives by Gary Younge

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2urGVPf.
Mr. Younge comes from a country that provides far more protections for the less fortunate. It may be the most valuable aspect of his sensibility: He recognizes that luck, by definition, is just that. It is not something you earn.
Book description from Google Books:
“On an average day in America, seven young people aged nineteen or under will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning Guardian journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during the course of a single day in the United States. It could have been any day, but Younge has chosen November 23, 2013. From Jaiden Dixon (9), shot point-blank by his mother’s ex-boyfriend on his doorstep in Ohio, to Pedro Dado Cortez (16), shot by an enemy gang on a street corner in California, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the powerful human stories behind the statistics. Far from a dry account of gun policy in the United States or a polemic about the dangers of gun violence, the book is a gripping chronicle of an ordinary but deadly day in American life, and a series of character portraits of young people taken from us far too soon and those they left behind. Whether it’s a father’s unspeakable grief over his son who was at the wrong place at the wrong time, a mentor who tries to channel his rage by organizing, or a friend and neighbor who finds strength in faith, the lives lost on that day and the lives left behind become, in Younge’s hands, impossible to ignore, or to forget. What emerges in these pages is a searing portrait of youth, family, and the way that lives can be shattered in an instant on any day in America. At a time when it has become indisputable that Americans need to rethink their position on guns, this moving narrative work puts a human face–a child’s face–on the “collateral damage” of gun deaths across the country. In his journalism, Younge is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and looking twice where others might look away. There are some things, he argues, that we have come to see as normal, even when they are unacceptable. And gun violence is one of them. A clear-eyed and iconoclastic approach to this contentious issue, this book helps answer the questions so many of us are grappling with, and makes it even harder to just look away”–
The book is rated 4.22/5 at goodreads.com, from 1934 ratings. See 348 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uIhZ1p.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uISvRv.