Archive for October, 2012

Conflict Unravled: Fixing Problems at Work and in Families

October 12, 2012

Medea, Andra. Conflict Unraveled: Fixing Problems at Work and in Families. PivotPoint. May 2004. c.264p. ISBN 0-9745808-0-5. pap. $19.95. SELF-HELP

“Flooding,” as Medea (conflict management, Univ. of Chicago) terms adrenaline overload, “shorts out” our brains and leaves us “irrational, mule-headed, and quarrel-some.” Controlling flooding and its aftereffects is key to unraveling the titular conflicts. Specific kinds of situational conflict are discussed, and good tactical advice (e.g., “shorten your sentences” if you have to communicate while flooding) is provided in pithy and often funny examples of overload situations. Medea’s friendly, almost conspiratorial tone dovetails nicely with her direct writing. Though marred by occasionally indiscriminate advice (e.g., take a bat and literally smash glass bottles to relieve stress), this book is thorough and has a lot of heart. Along with titles that advise readers on structuring their lives, e.g., Bill Jensen’s The Simplicity Survival Handbook: 32 Ways To Do Less and Accomplish More, this book will form the nucleus of a nice little serf-help collection. Recommended for medium and larger public libraries.

This review appeared in Library Journal 129.9 on May 15, 2004 (p.103); the galley was shredded and recycled on October 12, 2012.

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Swim Lessons: Ten Secrets for Making Any Dream Come True.

October 11, 2012

Irons, Nick. Swim Lessons: Ten Secrets for Making Any Dream Come True.Clydesdale. Oct. 2003. c.205p. ISBN 0-9729606-0-0. $24.

A regular guy from a loving family glows about self-discovery and his father. Irons is essentially a big kid: he loves Christmas, Clydesdales, and his family. And, oh yeah, swimming. In fact, Irons swam almost the entire length of the mighty Mississippi River (1550 miles, from Minneapolis to Baton Rouge)–five hours a day, six days a week for four months–to honor his father, afflicted with multiple sclerosis, and to fund-raise for the condition. Readers are encouraged to follow the “swim lessons,” for example, gain self-confidence by drawing on past experiences or go forward on blind faith. Irons engages readers with an infectious enthusiasm and an endearing, homespun style. While the father/son relationship has been riffed on aplenty (e.g., Terry Pluto’s Our Tribe: A Baseball Memoir, now in paperback), this is particularly charming. For public libraries as interest warrants.

This book was reviewed in Library Journal, 128.15 on September 15, 2003 (p.76) ; the galley was shredded and recycled on October 11, 2012.

What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons from the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

October 10, 2012

Flaherty, Tina Santi. What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons from the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Perigee: Putnam. 2004. c.256p. ISBN 0-399-52988-8. $19.95. SELF-HELP

Former Colgate-Palmolive VP Flaherty (Talk Your Way to the Top) fairly idolizes Camelot’s First Lady. In chapters padded with cursory biographical snippets, she purports to explore what Jackie “taught” the world. Take, for instance, the chapter “Men and Marriage,” wherein readers learn that Jackie made herself attractive and “followed her heart.” Much is made of the “beautiful, cultured, and intelligent” icon of our collective (and idealized) cultural memory. Instead of wasting money on this hardcover trifle, commemorate the tenth anniversary of Jackie’s death by dusting off some respectable biographies, e.g., Sarah Bradford’s America’s Queen: A Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis or even Pamela Clarke Keogh’s photographic Jackie Style.

This review appeared in Library Journal 129.9 on May 15, 2004 (p.103); the galley was shredded and recycled on October 9, 2012.