Inspirational/Self-help

Book Review: Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning
Author: 
Frankl, Viktor E.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Man’s Search for Meaning gives a rare perspective on life during the Holocaust. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was forced into four different labor camps during WWII, and ultimately survived, while his family members were all slaughtered. Most books from the Holocaust are centered around horror stories from prison camps, and the sheer brutality of one of human history’s most devastating genocides. Frankl gives the psychiatrist’s view on life after camp and works to answer one essential question - how do we move on from grief? He recounts the moment he was free to leave as confusing - almost more shocking than freeing. What do you do after your entire family is killed? Where do you go after being released from a death camp hundreds of miles from home?

The book’s storytelling is devastating and beautifully crafted, and its exploration of humanity’s search for lives worth living - lives significant for the individual - has become one of America’s most influential pieces of literature. The book is heartbreaking, but so is any story worth telling. It has everything to be expected from such a terrifying chapter in our history, but what makes it so unique is the way it addresses life after the terror ends. Anyone wanting to search for meaning in their own lives, or at the very least get a new perspective on the Holocaust, needs to read this.

Reviewer's Name: 
Malachi

Book Review: The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer

The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer
Author: 
Kotler, Steven
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

As the title would suggest, "The Art of Impossible", by Steven Kotler, prescribes a regime for achieving what he calls the "Infinite Game". In other words, achieving goals to continually improve, even in ways that might be considered impossible. Kotler depicts what top performers do on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis, and even adapts such habits into ways the average reader can understand and implement them. And while he does so in a systematic and understandable fashion, he also goes in-depth into the science behind each of the things he says. Although it sometimes gets deeply analytical, it never stops being intriguing. There are some parts that aren't completely family friendly, but the content remains solid.

Reviewer's Name: 
Noah

Book Review: The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage
Author: 
Achor, Shawn
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Happiness Advantage is a wonderfully helpful book. Through many staggering statistics, Shawn Achor proves beyond a doubt that a positive mindset is essential for success and well-being. In addition, Achor's seven simple practices are easy to implement and will have a drastic impact in your career and personal life. This book is also easy to read and quickly moves from point to point so as not to be too repetitive. Whether you are a student, well into your career, or are retired, this book can have a dramatic effect on your life. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B.

Book Review: Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of Success
Author: 
Gladwell, Malcolm
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Malcolm Gladwell takes a unique perspective on success in Outliers. Rather than focusing on the brilliance, innate talent, or incredible work ethic of successful people, Outliers concentrates on the advantages and unique opportunities surrounding the successful. Gladwell analyzes the culture, families, generation, and the upbringings of many successful people and groups of people from Bill Gates and successful New York lawyers to Canadian Hockey Players and airline pilots. Above all, Gladwell emphasizes that the truly successful do not do it alone, and Outliers encourages people to examine their own opportunities and advantages so that they too may become successful. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: 
John

Book Review: Fortitude

Fortitude
Author: 
Crenshaw, Dan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book is fantastic! Dan Crenshaw offers brilliant advice on mental toughness and how to combat the outrage culture with critical thinking. Crenshaw's methods are simple, easy to practice, and are what is missing in today's society. Written from his life experiences of being a Navy SEAL and United States Congressman, Crenshaw makes this book relatable and applicable to everyone's lives. Crenshaw also cites many articles, studies, and medical experts to backup his advice. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to become a well-informed voter, contributing citizen, or successful person.

Reviewer's Name: 
John

Book Review: Working with Difficult People

Working with Difficult People
Author: 
Hakim, Amy Cooper
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Occasionally, I come across a book that doesn’t really work as an audiobook. Working with Difficult People is certainly a must-have for any working-class bookshelf. Still, it was difficult to follow the thread of different difficult personalities when it was being read aloud. Sure, there were useful descriptions of the types of people you’ll encounter in the workforce, but there were at least a few of them where I wanted to slow down and read through those archetypes again to better understand the people who irk me in life. Of course, going in, I was hoping I could read this book and understand how to handle people who I find difficult to work with. Instead, I kept listening to these people's descriptions and finding individuals who nearly matched them in my life. This was my main qualm with the book: people are more complex than a single difficult personality type. They often have two or three of these attributes combined in varying amounts to create their unique level of challenge. Alternatively, I also listened to this book and tried to identify where I fell in the “difficult people” spectrum. It can be a bit of an eye-opener when you realize, “Oh, I do that. That difficult person is me.”

I may still want to get this book in physical form, not only to appreciate its handbook format but to use it as a writer resource. I do try and strive for an amount of realism in the villains I write, so using this book as a structure for why certain difficult people (read: antagonists) are the way they are can help me create more meaningful and relatable villains and should help me avoid the standard supervillain archetypes that paint an antagonist as “purely evil.”

A simple resource for classifying difficult people, I give Working with Difficult People 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Author: 
Covey, Sean
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Seven Habits remade!

6 stars. (This helped me a LOT with my state of mind ☺)

I loved seven habits because it helped me see that a lot of the stuff that we blame on others is actually the fault of ourselves, and it taught me to be kind to both myself and others. I highly recommend Seven Habits for Teens to anyone who is having a tough time. It taught me to have a clearer mind, a better outlook, and to trust myself. Although it is very hard to implement these changes in yourself, it helps you be so much better. Anyone can read this book and feel better about themselves if they follow the book's
instructions. If you don’t read this book, then it’s your loss.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ethan

Book Review: Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age

Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age
Author: 
Goins, Jeff
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

I’m a little conflicted with this book’s message, mostly because it downplays its definitions at the beginning of what an “artist” really is. It would be nice to make a living on my writing, but this book isn’t about how to do that. In fact, I’m already the artist that this book describes: someone who sells their creative hobby while pursuing it on weeknights and weekends. I have a full-time job, so my art isn’t my primary profession like the term “starving artist” is meant to invoke. Sure, there are bits of useful advice sprinkled throughout this book, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t already picked up by now.

Perhaps the audience for this book is the individual who is thinking of taking a considerable risk and quitting their job to jump wholly into being an artist? Any more, the current Millennial mindset of “hustles” makes this an old way of thinking. We don’t have just one job: we have many, which we also juggle with our relationships and our hobbies. Furthermore, with online communities bringing together like-minded creative individuals with no limitations of geographical separation, some of the advice in this book is already dated three years after it was published.

Even if I already knew a lot of the advice in this book, it was encouraging to know that I’m on the right track for the artist I want to be. There are plenty of examples of successful artists in this book that give me hope that I’m doing the right things to advance my artistic career. It even filled in a few gaps that connected pieces of information I had learned but hadn’t put together yet. In the end, being an artist is a mindset, and it’s not a binary “all or nothing” that we used to consider it. Hopefully, we can soon retire the “starving artist” moniker because many artists don’t make a living on their art.

Fairly evident advice for a redefined group of artists, I give Real Artists Don’t Starve 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Author: 
Singer, Michael A.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Wow...reading this book will take you on a spiritual journey unlike any other. If the idea of becoming more mentally and emotionally free, mindful, concious, happy and self-actualized interest you, then give this #1 New York Times Bestseller a read today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Alyssa

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