Genuinely thought-provoking strategies for the various stages of life.

THE PRINCIPLE OF 18

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF EVERY STAGE OF YOUR LIFE

A life guide organized around five major stages.

Danon, a Columbia University Certified Life Coach and founder of a successful consulting company, puts forward a new vision for personal development, one that flies in the face of many rise-and-grind business motivation books by drawing a broader, longer map of what constitutes success. Danon makes no small claims about his system, which he says will “minimize your regrets, decrease your worries, and enable you to lead a joyous, meaningful life.” Whether this is warranted or not, Danon’s outline is intriguingly blocked off into five 18-year segments—“The Dreamer,” “The Explorer,” “The Builder,” “The Mentor,” and “The Giver”—each of which has its own restrictions, priorities, and joys. But Danon stresses that the positives of his system hold true at every stage. “One of the key benefits of allowing yourself to explore your options for 18 years is that it will minimize your regrets—and the fewer regrets, the better, since you never know what life may throw at you,” he writes. “If you wait around for something important to happen to you, you may never get to do it.” In keeping with Danon’s long experience as a coach and motivator, his prose is bright and compulsively readable. And the main strength of his approach is that it far more closely conforms to everyday lived experience than most of the more hustle-oriented volumes of this kind. He reiterates that learning takes time, and opportunities flow as much from chance and experience as from blue ocean strategy (creating new demand rather than battling for market share). Danon is at his most interesting when he’s leaning into this individualistic bent, declaring business-world heresies like: “There is no need to try to make serious money before you turn 36.” This is a skillful rearrangement of the paradigm.

Genuinely thought-provoking strategies for the various stages of life.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73629-944-9

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Blue Branch Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

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WILL

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars delivers a memoir of success won through endless, relentless work and self-reckoning.

“My imagination is my gift, and when it merges with my work ethic, I can make money rain from the heavens.” So writes Smith, whose imagination is indeed a thing of wonder—a means of coping with fear, an abusive father with the heart of a drill instructor, and all manner of inner yearnings. The author’s imagination took him from a job bagging ice in Philadelphia to initial success as a partner in the Grammy-winning rap act DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Smith was propelled into stardom thanks to the ministrations of Quincy Jones, who arranged an audition in the middle of his own birthday party, bellowing “No paralysis through analysis!” when Smith begged for time to prepare. The mantra—which Jones intoned 50-odd times during the two hours it took for the Hollywood suits to draw up a contract for the hit comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—is telling, for hidden within this memoir lies a powerful self-help book. For Smith, all of life is a challenge in which one’s feelings are largely immaterial. “I watched my father’s negative emotions seize control of his ample intellect and cause him over and over again to destroy beautiful parts of our family,” he writes, good reason for him to sublimate negativity in the drive to get what he wanted—money, at first, and lots of it, which got him in trouble with the IRS in the early 1990s. Smith, having developed a self-image that cast him as a coward, opines that one’s best life is lived by facing up to the things that hold us back. “I’ve been making a conscious effort to attack all the things that I’m scared of,” he writes, adding, “And this is scary.” It’s a good lesson for any aspiring creative to ponder—though it helps to have Smith’s abundant talent, too.

A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984877-92-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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