Super Sized Success

Super Sized Success, 9 Steps to Maximum Riches in Minimum Time ISBN: 9780996659079, Maxar Press, a self-help e-book by Linda Zander.

The book is presented in Three parts: Part One – Success and God: the Supreme Joint Venture. Part Two – Success and You: Building Your Total Package. Part Three – Unleashing Your Inner Tycoon Epilogue: Super Sized, A League of Your Own. Success Superheroes. Part One includes seven steps in the first chapter, number 8 in the second and step #9 in the third. Part Two includes the Cornerstones of building – Mental, chapter 4; Physical, Chapter 5; Financial, #6; Moral Character, #7 which “Initiates the Way of Christ: Identifying Your Own i-Christ-like values. The 49 Moral Values of Christ Owning Your Top 4 Values.” Part Three follows “Unleashing Your Inner Tycoon Epilogue: Super Sized Success Superheroes. A League of Your Own.” A plethora of suggestions are included throughout the book.

Discussion: This is a book that can provide much for a person who is searching for ‘a proper path to follow in their life to gain the level of accomplishment they wish to attain while doing so in a manner compatible with God’s teachings’. The heavy emphasis on God and Christian beliefs becomes obviously understandable as we read and learn more of the author’s personal life. She is a “self-made multimillionaire, success coach and award-winning athlete, who ‘beat’ addiction (remarkably now clean for 26 years) and a bout with cancer (now clear for more than 9 years) after refusing to accept the physicians’ directions for treatment. Reportedly, her refusal was the result of acceptance of a strong ‘sense’ that to follow their recommendations would be fatal. She quotes an anonymous author: “God gives miracles to those who believe, courage to those who dream, and love to those who accept.” Numerous other famous and near-famous quotes are included along with positive suggestions that individuals seeking help certainly will find quite useful. Regrettably, there is an overabundance of redundancy such as lecturers frequently employ for emphasis. In such an arena activity of this nature often is helpful, but it is tedious when transferred to a written form. Another gross error, at least in this reviewer’s understanding, is inclusion of controversial figures as examples of persons to be emulated. Specifically the author states: “Having feelings is normal but allowing them to control you is not a healthy procedure. Learning to control them for the benefit of a positive outcome is having the emotional intelligence of a champion and a leader. Here are a few examples of world leaders who led with emotional intelligence. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Mahatma Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Hilary Clinton, Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King, Jr.” Application of the criterion to most of those mentioned undoubtedly would generate immediate acceptance. Granted, inclusion of Margaret Thatcher may be somewhat marginal because of the controversy that flourished during her last days in office. However, inclusion of Hilary Clinton certainly would not appear to be a good choice because: 1) she still is extremely active so her decisions are too ‘new’ to properly be evaluated and 2) regrettably, her personal position as the center of tremendous controversy with respect to the intelligence of some past decisions as well as the veracity of some of her statements are much in question. It is entirely immaterial whether this situation is politically initiated or even whether the questions are right or wrong in this instance. Inclusion of ANY person still involved in political activity, in this reviewer’s belief is a huge mistake and more especially if validity, rightly or wrongly, is in question. Such inclusion immediately opens the author’s hypotheses to question and even can provide a massive negative reaction that can undo all of his/her serious, and often beautiful presentation.

Conclusion: A well-intentioned presentation that could provide some help to numerous searching individuals that most regrettably has been compromised.

3* Best evaluation possible because of reasons listed.

The Mud Dance

The Mud Dance
ISBN: 0781780363042, Peach Publishing, an e-book by Neil Grimmett.

Plot/Characters: The setting is the ‘Rock & Roll’ era of the ’70’s. The story is centered upon Kenny whose family, in an attempt to save a marriage that was beyond saving, moved from Birmingham to a Somerset coastal village. He is brought along with vehement objections because it is his senior school year and will tear him from his familiar environment and friends. Further shock occurs when he discovers he is far removed from the structured formality to which he is accustomed, to a very lax one peopled with students who “grunted in thick slurring accents linked with a strange, archaic grammar” and non-formerly robed faculty who have difficulty exerting authority. He does meet one boy, Larry, who is different, from an apparently wealthy family but one also with mother/father problems. He establishes a strong bond with him that lasts for a lifetime. Kenny is a jazz drummer and Larry, trained as a classic pianist is desirous of playing contemporary music. They graduate, form their first band, gain a certain amount of local success and expand and the tale continues with a recounting of their attempt to gain that intangible pinnacle of success that combines both personal satisfaction with strong monetary compensation. They obtain contracts to record and perform in prestigious national/international venues and gradually move through the years with a changing personal relationship that leads to a somewhat dismal termination.

Discussion/Conclusion: The author appears to have provided as graphic a picture possible of the periods of success and defeat of a modern musician’s life and has centered their activity in the frenetic ‘Rock & Roll Era’. All is provided by apt descriptions of the often hidden, but at times explosive hostile and/or jealous, ego conflicts among band members, the highs followed most often by post-performance lows, the need for ‘pick-up’ drugs, the sexual excesses, the groupies, the unnatural ‘work’ hours and the host of other distractions to a ‘normal’ life. No doubt the author best, and beautifully, describes the basis for his story with his description of: “why musicians don’t dance – Dancing kills the ego. Like those whirling dervishes. Round and round they go into a state of beautiful, open, naked vulnerability, destroying the only bearing between their spirit and God until they are liberated. We were doing the opposite, laboring to close ourselves in, ensnared by vanities and false pride until nothing – musically or mentally –had any chance of escape. Dancing our dance – The Mud Dance”. Thus, perhaps most compellingly, the story describes the formation of a strong but unhealthy bonding between talented but highly flawed individuals and its slow dissolution as it moves toward its depressing inevitability.

3*            5* Rivetingly provided character study; 3* depressing read for this reviewer.