Monday, June 9, 2008

Why Good People Do Bad Things: How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy by Debbie Ford

In Why Good People Do Bad Things, Debbie Ford focuses on the two sides of our personalities, the light loving side and the dark destructive side, that exist in each of us and how these sides influence our daily decisions and actions. She also describes the masks people wear in public and private lives that act as shields against danger. In the second section of the book that deals with healing, Ford gives the reader some direction for mending ourselves.

This book was enlightening and extremely interesting, but hard to read at times. It forces the reader to look inward at their dark sides and confront the ugly aspects of their personalities. At first, I didn’t think the book was going to be that useful for me because it started out with examples of cheating, adultery and abuse. I haven’t had experience with those things. However, once the author got into more general items like cheating on your diet, acting out in anger, telling that little lie, negative self-talk, and other self-sabotaging things, I was pretty sure I was going to like this book. These are things to which I relate.

This isn’t self-help book that offers a series steps to follow. Instead Ford explains how our dark sides operate and how they came into being. She then presents some “signposts” to look out for, which indicate destructive behavior and “antidotes” for dealing with them. In the healing section, she stresses the importance and power of forgiveness. I wish she’d spent more time on healing, but she did give the reader a good start.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the story of the chief describing his “inner wolves” to a young brave. One good wolf, one bad wolf. The chief knew that each had its place and each needed nourishment and attention. Very interesting story.

Several times throughout the book, I suddenly felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I think I was really meant to read this book. There’s so much to take in, I’ll have to read it again.

I’ve already mentioned this book to a few people and each of them has expressed an interest in reading it.


Friday, June 6, 2008

When Organizing Isn't Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life

In When Organizing Isn’t Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life, Julie Morgenstern walks the reader through a 4-step program designed to help individuals through transition periods or big changes in their lives. SHED is an acronym that stands for “Separate the treasures”, “Heave the trash”, “Evaluate yourself”, and “Drive yourself forward” and can help readers lead more fulfilling and rewarding lives after marriage, divorce, retirement, job change or any other major life changes.

This book is easy to read and offers down-to-earth and practical advice. It focuses on what happens or should happen before and after you clear away the clutter in your life to keep that clutter at bay and to make the changes long lasting. The author suggests a certain order for tackling the chapters, however, for the purposes of this review, I read the book straight through.

Of the four steps in the SHED program, “Separate your treasures” and “Heave the trash” are definitely the more concrete steps and easier to grasp. Each step is important, though, and the author warns the reader about skipping steps. In addition to these SHED steps, the author outlines the work the reader must do before tackling the program in order to be successful. No one ever said change and transition were easy.

The author uses real life examples liberally. It was very helpful that she used the same people throughout the whole book so that we could “follow” their journeys through the SHED program. These examples allowed me to understand the program better and I found them to be interesting, relevant and necessary.

This book isn’t for everyone. If your physical space is clutter-free, your schedule is fulfilling, and you have no bad habits, this book won’t help you. Even if this doesn’t describe you, but you are perfectly happy with how your life is, you don’t need this book. However, if you’re stuck at a point in your life and having trouble moving forward or if there’s something that just doesn’t quite thrill you in your life, this book can help tremendously. It won’t be easy, but it promises to be rewarding.

I’m definitely going to go through this book again this time tackling the chapters as the author suggests, doing the necessary work between chapters and reflecting on the contents.

Highly recommended.

This review copy was provided by the publisher through the wonderful people at Edwards Magazine.