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Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zoneby Beth Lisick
"From Richard Simmons to Stephen Covey, Lisick spends a month on each self-improvement task and distills it all, very wittily, for our reading pleasure. What is most surprising about Lisick's record of her experiences is her complete lack of guile. While exposing some of the most absurd or ineffective advice of our most famous self-help gurus, Lisick seems to genuinely try to follow their precepts in earnest..." Danielle Marshall, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Grappling with her lifelong phobia of anything slick, cheesy, or remotely claiming to provide self-empowerment, Beth Lisick wakes up on New Year's Day 2006 with an unprecedented feeling. She is finally able to admit to herself that she's grown tired of embracing the same old set of nagging problems year after year. She has no savings account. Her house feels unorganized and chaotic. She and her husband never hang out together. The last time she exercised regularly was as a member of her high school track team almost twenty years ago.
Instead of turning to advice from the abundant pool of local life coaches, therapists, and healers readily available on her home turf of northern California, Beth confronts her fears head-on. She consults the multimillion-dollar-earning pros and national experts, not only reading their bestselling books but also attending their seminars and classes. In Chicago, she gets proactive with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In Atlanta, she tries to get a handle on exactly why "women are from Venus," and in a highly comedic bout on the high seas of the Caribbean, she gamely sweats to the oldies on a weeklong Cruise to Lose with Richard Simmons.
Throughout this yearlong experiment, Beth tries extremely hard to maintain her wry sense of humor and easygoing nature, even as she starts to fall prey to some of the experts' ideas, ideas she thought she'd spent her whole life rejecting. Beth doesn't think of herself as the typical self-help victim. But is she?
"Lisick...is sharp, irreverent and endearingly screwed-up. Her experiment may not have solved all of her problems, but she got an enjoyable book out of it. Funny, perceptive and surprisingly open-hearted under the cynicism." Kirkus Reviews
"[Lisick] recounts her hilarious experiences with experts including Steven Covey, business coach extraordinaire...and describes sailing while exercising with Richard Simmons." Booklist
"[N]ot only hilarious but enlightening." People
"[A] hilarious, knowing tale of a year of willing ridiculousness." San Francisco Chronicle
"[Lisick]'s developed a 12-step program for hip, creative, thirtysomething parents whose lives are almost perfect. She may even become a self-help guru herself — who wouldn't want a life-coach who dresses like a banana?" Oregonian
"[S]weetly neurotic, funny and occasionally insightful — like Lisick herself." Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Beth Lisick, author of the New York Times bestselling book Everybody into the Pool, is also a performer and odd-jobs enthusiast. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies including Best American Poetry, the Christian Science Monitor, and Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Movement. She has contributed to public radio's This American Life and is the cofounder of the monthly Porchlight storytelling series in San Francisco.
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