In the past decade, perhaps with the publication of Richard Layard’s Happiness (LJ 1/05), which presented research studies on the subject, happiness has been explored and sought as an end state in itself. This month’s column covers books that offer paths to happiness and use mindfulness to achieve contentment and a more spiritual life stance. Also featured are works centered on public speaking, employing power in the workplace, how to address low-self esteem, grief, and loss. Some of the usual self-help topics are here but tweaked for a variety of audiences.
Hoogterp, Bill. Your Perfect Presentation: Speak in Front of Any Audience Anytime Anywhere and Never Be Nervous Again. McGraw-Hill. 2014. 256p. index. ISBN 9780071825009. pap. $22; ebk. ISBN 9780071837002. SELF-HELP
Hoogterp, founder of Own the Room public speaking academies, believes that anyone can be a great speaker. Using the methods taught in his classrooms, the author explains how to “work the stage,” convert nervousness to fun, eliminate weak language, and be memorable. He offers abundant exercises, role-plays, and suggestions for doing just that. Hoogterp describes how to talk on stage or in front of an audience, and provides questions for interacting with them. His comprehensive book also supplies guidelines for giving team presentations, mapping out meetings and conference calls, and delivering an elevator pitch. VERDICT Hoogterp generates enthusiasm for his subject matter, and that in itself is a high recommendation.
Rufus, Anneli. Unworthy: How To Stop Hating Yourself. Tarcher. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780399164217. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101616291. SELF-HELP
Rufus (Stuck; Party of One) sees self-loathing as an epidemic. After suffering for almost 40 years from low self-esteem herself, the author decided to research not only the causes but the societal, historical, and biological factors that tend to make certain people uncomfortable in their own skins. A rather compelling read, the text details the “personality flaws” of the inability to choose, the need to apologize, and the difficulty in saying no. Rufus does more than just detail the problem, she describes the upside of low self esteem (yes, there is one) and a variety of healing strategies that the reader might try. VERDICT An essential title on the topic of low self-esteem.
Sayers, Steven L. Coming Back Together: A Guide to Successful Reintegration After Your Partner Returns from Military Deployment. New Harbinger. 2014. 200p. bibliog. ISBN 9781608829859. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781608829873. SELF-HELP
The goal of this timely book by Sayers (director, Advance Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Ctr.) is to help service members and their families readjust after long periods apart. Basing his suggestions on cognitive behavior principles, the author includes information on specific challenges (e.g., depression, PTSD) and strategies for developing communication. He addresses everything from reestablishing household roles to recovering intimacy, and offers guidelines for helping one’s partner rebuild a relationship with his/her child through play and positive reinforcement. VERDICT Because of Sayer’s experience working with veterans, he is able to cover all the bases in describing problems and presenting solutions. Highly recommended.
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Becker-Phelps, Leslie. Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy, and Worried, and What You Can Do About It. New Harbinger. 2014. 192p. ISBN 9781608828159. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781608828173. SELF-HELP
Donovan, Jim. Happy @ Work: 60 Simple Ways To Stay Engaged and Be Successful. New World Library. 2014. 176p. ISBN 9781608682508. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781608682515. SELF-HELP
Gammill, Joani. Painkillers, Heroin, and the Road to Sanity: Real Solutions for Long-Term Recovery from Opiate Addiction. Hazelden. 2014. 180p. ISBN 9781616495213. pap. $14.95. SELF-HELP
Herceg, Rose. The Power Book: 200 Ways To Make Power Work for You. Allen & Unwin. 2014. 323p. index. ISBN 9781743316016. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781743433140. SELF-HELP
Kurtz, Ernest & Katherine Ketcham. Experiencing Spirituality: Finding Meaning Through Storytelling. Tarcher. 2014. 352p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780399164170. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101615942. SELF-HELP
Lechter, Sharon. Think and Grow Rich for Women: Using Your Power To Create Success and Significance. Tarcher. 2014. 352p. index. ISBN 9780399170829. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698160750. SELF-HELP
Madson, Jenifer. Head to Heart: Mindfulness Moments for Every Day. Conari. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781573245982. pap. $16.95. SELF-HELP
Mundy, Jon. Lesson 101: Perfect Happiness: A Path to Joy from A Course in Miracles. Sterling Ethos. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781454908180. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9781454908197. SELF-HELP
Oakley, Barbara. A Mind for Numbers: How To Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra). Tarcher. Aug. 2014. 272p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9780399165245. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101621615. SELF-HELP
Romer, Joanna. The Widower’s Guide to a New Life. MSI Pr. 2014. 154p. index. ISBN 9781933455488. pap. $12.95. SELF-HELP
Sheehan, Martina Lehane. Whispers in the Stillness: Mindfulness and Spiritual Awakening. Veritas. 2014. 192p. ISBN 9781847305558. pap. $22. SELF-HELP