Self-Help Reviews, February 15, 2012

Billieon, Maxwell & Ray J. Death of the Cheating Man: What Every Woman Must Know About Men Who Stray. Strebor: S. & S. Feb. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9781593093990. $24. SELF-HELP

Admitted former cheaters recording artist Ray J and branding expert Billieon address this book primarily to women. They explain why men cheat, how they cheat, and what both women and men can do to create a new monogamy where both members of a couple have their needs met. It reads like a conversation between the two coauthors as they discuss the exploits of cheaters, the excuses men use, the consequences of cheating, and how a man can change his deceitful ways. They also detail how women can help prevent a man from cheating by making him feel like a conqueror, being available (most of the time), and letting him steer. VERDICT While the text tends to wander and wind back on itself, this inside look into a man’s mind is most interesting.

Hale, Pamela. Flying Lessons: How To Be the Pilot of Your Own Life. Through a Different Lens. Mar. 2012. c.216p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780982869611. pap. $19.95. SELF-HELP

In this beautifully illustrated memoir, life coach Hale uses her experience obtaining a private pilot’s license as a metaphor for life. She applies the language of flight as she instructs readers not only to break free of limits but also to soar beyond them, to know where they’re going to land, and to communicate with air-traffic control. She also connects each of her lessons to a chakra, yoga pose, or archetype, so all levels of mind, body, and spirit are covered. VERDICT The messages of overcoming fear, taking responsibility, and nourishing oneself‚ to name a few‚ fit nicely into Hale’s scheme. Aerial photographs interspersed with the text add richness to the reading experience.

Kuczykowski, Tara & Mandi Ehman. All in Good Time: When To Save, Stock Up, and Schedule Everything for Your Home. Berkley: Penguin Group (USA). 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780425245163. pap. $15. SELF-HELP

In this handy little book, Kuczykowski (founder, and Ehman (founder, provide a comprehensive guide to streamlining schedules and cutting costs. They break down the typical house by room and give each area related suggestions, e.g., the best time to fertilize the lawn (Backyard), when to get a good deal on mattresses (Bedroom), and an inexpensive way to make microwave popcorn (Kitchen). The authors provide money- and time-saving tips for just about everything, offering suggestions for the best time to work out or even purchase safety detectors. VERDICT While families with young children will especially appreciate this book, all readers will find it useful.

McCown, Donald & Marc S. Micozzi, M.D. New World Mindfulness: From the Founding Fathers, Emerson, and Thoreau to Your Personal Practice. Healing Arts: Inner Traditions. Feb. 2012. c.288p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781594774249. pap. $16.95. SELF-HELP

Mindfulness teacher and therapist McCown (integrative health, West Chester Univ.) and physician Micozzi (former director, Ctr. for Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson Univ.) present a case for practicing mindfulness that all readers‚ especially skeptical ones‚ can understand, connect to, and stick with. The authors begin with a history of mindfulness in the United States and conclude with a discussion of humanity’s connection to the cosmos. The book’s center is a set of instructions for cultivating awareness in the present moment, and the authors show how readers can experience the now through the four dignities (or modes of deportment) of reclining, sitting, standing, and walking. VERDICT While it presents sound mindfulness theory and practice techniques for general readers, this is hardly an introductory text and will be appreciated best by those already inclined toward the practice of mindfulness.

Moffitt, Phillip. Emotional Chaos to Clarity: How To Live More Skillfully, Make Better Decisions, and Find Purpose in Life. Hudson Street. May 2012. c.304p. index. ISBN 9781594630927. $25.95. SELF-HELP

Moffitt (former editor in chief, Esquire; founder, Life Balance Inst.) describes emotional chaos as a reaction to negative life situations rather than an honest and clear response. He shows how a proactive response, using the skills of mindfulness and intention, can transform life’s challenges into opportunities for growth. Through Moffitt’s explanations, exercises, and assessments, readers can cultivate the practices of skillful living, e.g., learning to let go of expectations, ending the cycle of self-violence, and living life with gratitude. VERDICT Moffitt includes case studies and psychological insights geared toward general readers. A helpful book for those who need a clear focus.

Oliver, Joan Duncan. The Meaning of Nice: How Compassion and Civility Can Change Your Life (and the World). Berkley: Penguin Group (USA). 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9780425240878. pap. $14. SELF-HELP

In the February 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, actress Rita Wilson was quoted as saying, Nice is the new black. According to Oliver (former founding editor, People magazine; Coffee with the Buddha), having good intentions, a pleasing personality, and a caring heart will benefit both the individual and society in the long run. She goes into the historical philosophy and psychology of niceness and its association with kindness and etiquette. She also helps readers show kindness and consideration without going overboard. VERDICT Not just providing self-help instruction, Oliver presents a dissertation on the concept of nice. In today’s rude world, nice is, well, nice.

Pate, Jennifer & Barbara Machen. The Mothers of Reinvention: Reclaim Your Identity, Unleash Your Potential, Love Your Life. Vanguard: Perseus. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9781593156831. pap. $15.99. SELF-HELP

Creators of the award-winning web series Jen and Barb: Mom Life,Pate and Machen here show mothers how they can reach their own potential as women while still enjoying their roles as wives and mothers. They use their experiences and that of 25 other women to show readers how to reinvent themselves by changing expectations, letting go of guilt, assigning tasks to others, and managing changes in the respect they receive from children and family. VERDICT The book aims to function like a community of women ready to support and encourage mothers of all ages, from new moms reeling from the changes babies bring to empty nesters ready to start a new chapter.

Potter-Efron, Ronald. Healing the Angry Brain: How Understanding the Way Your Brain Works Can Help You Control Anger and Aggression. New Harbinger. Apr. 2012. c.200p. bibliog. ISBN 9781608821334. pap. $16.95. SELF-HELP

Practicing therapist Potter-Efron (Rage: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Explosive Anger) examines the biochemical reasons why some people are wired for anger and more likely to fly into dangerous rages that leave them feeling out of control. He reviews the structure of the brain, the limbic system in particular, and details how it regulates anger in both helpful and detrimental ways. Potter-Efron delivers a measure of hope to people who accept that they can lose control but who also recognize that they can change their behavior and neural pathways to create a more balanced personality. Appendixes on medications round out the guidance. VERDICT Potter-Efron helps sufferers recognize unconscious anger activation, avoid conscious bad choices, and develop empathy. Of great use to those who realize they have such a problem.

Vaden, Rory. Take The Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success. Perigee: Berkley. Feb. 2012. c.224p. ISBN 9780399537233. $22.95. SELF-HELP

According to motivational speaker Vaden, successful individuals have developed the ability to routinely get things done even when they don’t feel like doing them. In other words, they take the stairs rather than waste time looking for the escalator. In this very readable book, Vaden outlines seven principles for overcoming procrastination, including understanding that short-term difficulties lead to long-term ease, that success is not owned but rented, and that the rent is due every day. Essentially, the book is about developing self-discipline, necessary for any measure of success. VERDICT Vaden writes with clarity and practicality, and his message will resonate with readers who need a shove to progress positively with their lives.



  1. George L. says:

    I love this subject!