The eyes don’t lie, so the saying goes, but apparently neither does any other part of your body. You can use basic knowledge of body language to understand and be successful when dealing with other people in love, career and life, in general. At least this is so, according to Reading Everyday Body Lanugage – Become a Human Lie Detector, by Sanjay Burman (Burman Books 2012). One can assume that Burman Books is the author’s own publishing company and the “as seen on..” gold seal on the cover is nothing more than a way to catch your eye. The book has too many personal references that seem at times, irrelevant, and it’s wordy, but all that aside (and the fact that the slim book is $16.95), there are some interesting insights mixed into the body language basics that might help you manipulate your own body language, and read someone else’s. Surely it’s fascinating and could be useful to invaluable. I wouldn’t slavishly learn and follow every idea in the book. But knowing more about how your body reacts to subconscious feelings that can send signals to someone else, can help you manage your own body language. Want to manipulate someone else? You might get a few ideas to do this in a positive and not harmful, way. There are plenty of other books on the market focusing on the topic of body language, but you might just call this one “body language 101 for dummies” and have a lot of fun “reading” others.
I’ve been meaning to do my Spring cleaning since well…Spring! But Summer is here and I am still not organized. Good thing I got a copy (and you should, too) of ORGANIZED MOM: From the Overflowing Closets to the Chaotic Play Areas: A Room-by-Room Guide to Decluttering and Streamlining Your Home for a Happier Family by Barbara Reich (Atria, February 26, 2013). I briefly met Barbara at a Container Store event (the absolutely best place ever, for getting the goods to organize your home). Barabara has a four step method of organization that can help anyone (even me, once I get down to business) to de-clutter a home, no matter how large, messy and crazy! I’m not giving the contents of the book away by saying that if you find a spot in your home that’s depressing you and driving you crazy because it is so unorganized and messy, simply: Purge – if it’s broken or unneeded, get rid of it; Design – create the infrastructure for organizing your space; Organize –put everything in its place; and’ Maintain –stick to staying on track in for the long term. Sounds easy, but actually, it is, once you get started. This book really motivated me to begin cleaning up. No matter how disorganized or organized you tend to be, you’ll find plenty of clever ways to help you bring some peace back into your life. And yes, I really mean that. A cluttered home is not a tranquil one. One thing I really like is that the author isn’t trying to overwhelm you. She somehow realizes that women, moms especially, lead very busy lives and can’t do it all, or at least not all at once. The idea is to make decisions that don’t make you feel bad, sad or guilty. For example, not keeping every holiday card or kid’s drawing from the year one. So hard to throw out, but even more stressful to keep! So she gives tips about how to re-mediate effectively and without too much stress. Additionally, while I did get this book through an event a Container Store, the author doesn’t make you purcahse tons of stuff. But if you want to, the Container Store has it. LOVE the Container Store, and now I’m a fan of Ms. Reich, too!
I was sad when I finished Finerman’s Rules- Secrets I’d Only Tell Me Daughters About Business and Life by Karen Finerman (Hachette Book Group 2013). Ms. Finerman is CNBC’s “The Chairwoman.” I really liked this book, not so much because there are “secrets” to be shared by the author, but because she has a no-nonsense way of dispensing tough love and practical advice that women don’t often get enough us. Raised a Calvinist, she recounts her mother as saying: “I buy my girls Calvin Klein clothes… Then when they graduate from college, they have to figure out how to pay for them themselves.” Karen got the message, went to work on Wall Street. She and her siblings all did well for themselves. The book focuses on three topics that are essential to happiness: Career, Money, and Love). I don’t agree with everything the author says, but this is her personal view of what works and what doesn’t and she’s a little vague on love relationships. But still, a lot of what she advises makes a lot of sense. She talks directly to women with such pearls are: “You wouldn’t let a man tell you where to live, how to vote, or what to wear. Then tell me why 80 percent of women have a man in charge of their money?” Particularly useful are sections on how to choose a mentor, how to doubts the doubts, making and messing up plans, and six ways to show confidence and conviction. You’ll get at least a few good ideas and a lot of inspiration from the book, well worth the investment in time and money. Finermans Rules, rocks!
Do you like poetry and lots of words on every page that may or may not immediately make sense? Then you’ll like Loving Yourself, the Mastery of Being Your Own Person by Sherrie Campbell, Ph.D. (Author House, 2013). The premise of this very wordy book filled with the author’s poetry is that we can be happy but we just don’t know how to use the tools we’ve been given, to do so. The author is quoted as saying that she is an “out of the box psychologist” and that each person is completely unique. I am sure she is unusual in her approach, but her 379-page book was just too much of a mish-mash of words, thoughts, and therapies (not to mention all that strange poetry) to figure out how it might help someone. I hate to be harsh. I applaud anyone who can sit down and write a book to share his or her thoughts. But while there might some pearls of wisdom imbedded in the pages of this book to help people learn to love themselves more, finding them will be difficult. Her approach seems to be so mixed up I couldn’t spend the time to decipher it. It’s as though she just threw everything she knew at the proverbial wall and invited readers to see what sticks, : humanistic, movie therapy, psychodynamic, projective therapy, reality therapy, human design, cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology and neurolinguistic programming, choice therapy, attachment theory and journal writing and reading. There is even some new-age-y Jonathan Livingston Seagull quote in there for good measure. Like all self-help books, this one might somehow (in a new age-y galaxy, light years away) strike a chord with someone who is unhappy, but trying to read the book made me literally dizzy and frustrated and not terribly happy. Luckily, I like myself the way I am, but if I was really looking for comfort, Loving Yourself wouldn’t be the book I’d choose to read.
RU Looking? A Guide to Navigating Gay Dating by Selrach Smith (iUniverse, 2013) is a self-proclaimed “gay dating expert’s” book that helps gay men who are single and looking to find whatever it is that they’re looking for (but primarily, a serious relationship). Although I am also a dating & relationship expert with a number of published books on the topic, and a two websites (http://leatherandlaceadvice.com and advicesisters.net) to my credit, but I’m not gay. And even if I was, this book is directed towards gay men, not the gay community as a whole. I was really interested to see what the author would say that would shed some light on what gay men have to face when finding partners, but I was disappointed that this slim, 83-page book didn’t really provide any insights. Smith Most of the information is very basic social interaction that would work whether you were gay or straight, and it’s nothing new. There are just a few pages on sex, and I assumed there would be more, especially about safe sex and how to have that conversation. Sadly, that is reduced to a few basic paragraphs. A suggestion in this chapter to get a man to have sex with you, however, is to tell him about a past sexual encounter, and then ask him to share one as well. That is supposed to get both parties “hotter than a gay farm boy’s first time in NYC.” I raised an eyebrow to this, but maybe this “gay dating expert” knows better? If you are a gay man new to dating other men, this might be a good book to read to start thinking about what you want and how to get it, but you’d need to supplement with other books or suggestions as well. There is just not enough “meat” in this “gay meet market” book.
Do you know a woman who is moving into her first home or apartment? Then get her a copy of Hammers and High Heels – An Illustrated Guide to Do-It-Yourself Home Projects By Jo Behari and Alison Winfield-Chislett (Cedar Fort, Inc. July 2013). This book along with a basket (or box) of basic tools, will make the most useful housewarming gift she is likely to get! Originally published as: The Girl’s Guide to DIY in 2011, this book has girly graphics showing smiling women “at work” on various DIY home projects. such as how to assemble a basic tool kit, hang blinds, and wallpaper a room, as well as everyday repairs like fixing wobbly tables and clogged drains. There are lots of tips you can use that can save you time, money and frustration, but while it might be easy to hang something on a wall, other projects such as removing tiles or re-grouting them take at least some skill and experience. If you get “stuck,” there isn’t enough information provided to help you out. Some of the projects really are DIY for dummies, with basic information you probably already know unless you have never held a screw driver or a hammer, but more step by step information (and graphics or photographs) would have helped a great deal. Still, it’s a good place for a newbie to start learning home repair and a way to interest women to learn more from other sources. However, the next time a drain clogs, you might just reach for Hammers and High Heels, instead of your phone to call the super or a man, to help you out.