A useful and insightful guide to dealing with being fired from a job.

INVOLUNTARY EXIT

A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO THRIVING AFTER BEING FIRED

A debut business book offers recommendations for people—women in particular—who have been fired.

In this guide, Merle focuses her attention on women but notes that the advice about grappling with and moving on from being fired is applicable to people of all genders. Using the stories of several women fired from jobs as executives at for-profit and nonprofit organizations as the core of the narrative, the author explains to readers how to react immediately and in the long term to a dismissal, how to process the related emotions, and how to position themselves for success in a new role when they are ready to move forward in their careers. The book combines hard-nosed practical advice (“Do not tie your value to the severance package. It’s a negotiation, not a value statement”) with a nuanced look at the psychology of organizational loyalty and the grief that results from the end of a professional relationship. Merle also discusses what she calls “being faux-fired,” or pushed into a position in which resignation is the only option, and the challenges of sharing the news of being dismissed with relatives, friends, and colleagues. The concluding chapters address the logistical, professional, and personal aspects of applying for new jobs after being fired. The book is well written and fast-moving, treating a complex and emotionally charged subject with sensitivity. The anecdotes that make up the core of the volume are well chosen and compelling without becoming melodramatic. The manual is clearly written for an audience of high-achieving professionals (“You’re the woman who worked fourteen-hour days, then went to the gym and answered emails while running on the treadmill”), but much of the counsel, particularly about coping with emotions in preparation for shifting to a new role, is applicable to less-privileged readers as well. Merle does a solid job of steering readers through a complex and challenging process, and the book is easy to digest, with a substantial amount of information presented in a relatively concise text.

A useful and insightful guide to dealing with being fired from a job.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-64742-309-4

Page Count: 168

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

THE COMFORT BOOK

Bestselling author Haig offers a book’s worth of apothegms to serve as guides to issues ranging from disquietude to self-acceptance.

Like many collections of this sort—terse snippets of advice, from the everyday to the cosmic—some parts will hit home with surprising insight, some will feel like old hat, and others will come across as disposable or incomprehensible. Years ago, Haig experienced an extended period of suicidal depression, so he comes at many of these topics—pain, hope, self-worth, contentment—from a hard-won perspective. This makes some of the material worthy of a second look, even when it feels runic or contrary to experience. The author’s words are instigations, hopeful first steps toward illumination. Most chapters are only a few sentences long, the longest running for three pages. Much is left unsaid and left up to readers to dissect. On being lost, Haig recounts an episode with his father when they got turned around in a forest in France. His father said to him, “If we keep going in a straight line we’ll get out of here.” He was correct, a bit of wisdom Haig turned to during his depression when he focused on moving forward: “It is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” Many aphorisms sound right, if hardly groundbreaking—e.g., a quick route to happiness is making someone else happy; “No is a good word. It keeps you sane. In an age of overload, no is really yes. It is yes to having space you need to live”; “External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind.” Haig’s fans may enjoy this one, but others should take a pass.

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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