Monday, March 5, 2018


Self improvement advice is easy to buy and some of it has set readers on a better path.  "get your SH*T" together" is perhaps written for a younger generation, but might be the nudge that an older reader might need.  The advice is not incompatible with much of what is available,  just the presentation is different.   This might be what you need, or it might just reinforce your other efforts.

What will get your attention on the cover is the use of profanity. There is a lot more swearing  (without astericks) on most pages.  In some ways it is colloquial and used by a wide range of classes and ages.  More educated people expect advice to be more refined, however those who understand the street language might be more responsive.  For the rest of us snobs the important goal might be to get our attention, but really we understand the language.

Profanity has been a part of my life from early days.  I suspect to some degree most people indulge in it, but don't feel comfortable in many situations.  Of course that is changing on all fronts.  I have a a nephew with his own business who talks in a similar manner to the author.  For several years I have worked in an ad agency and have been struck how their creativity is often expressed.  Profanity lends itself to creativity and much of their best ideas don't reach the drawing board.  My attitude in an earlier blog:

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, we can consider the advice.  Sarah sees that people, her readers, need to identify what they want and then uses three actions to obtain it: strategize, focus and commit, symbolized by key, phone and wallet.  A key is to prioritize and she boils the list of things you want to do down to the list of things you must do involving clarification of what is really important to you.  Then you strategize the best method forward, in small manageable chunks.  Focus refers to the necessity of setting aside enough time to accomplish.  Commitment means the determination to overcome all obstacles.

Her metaphors of key, phone and wallet are easily understood by today's generations, including a good chunk of baby boomers

Often negative thinking can be useful.  Sometimes it is easier to decide what you don't want than on what you do want.  An example might be you don't want to be fat.

She tackles such problems as saving money, managing time, clearing out emails, developing or discarding relationships and deciding on your priorities.

A few of her suggestions struck me as common sense, but ones we might need reminding on.

Ask what you have to do to get what you want.  Avoiding uncomfortable conversations delays resolution.  She gives a personal example of trying to deal with bulimia and finally asking her mom for help.  Maybe not surprisingly, her mother provided sympathy and also the necessary hard support.

Happiness is a goal in and of itself.  Happiness is different for each person  after you do what you must do then work towards what you want--after all that is what motivates you  Don't be self-righteous regarding recovered drug addicts, born agains, health food fanatics who love to tell everyone how much better they are now.  And they are better off.  You can be too and choose what you want in the end.

"Brevity is the soul of wit" borrowed from Shakespeare.

Perfectionism can prevent you from doing something else instead.

One of the superficial differences Sarah has with a favorite mentor of mine, Stephen R. Covey is to do with urgency.  With Sarah, urgent matters are put on her must do list.  Stephen spends a lot of time emphasizing how important it is to do important things so that you can over time minimize urgent but unimportant matters.  Nonetheless both advisors realize really urgent matters must be attended to.  If you don't take care of urgent matters the problems will get worse.  To learn more about Stephen R. Covey check:

Acknowledgements are sometimes interesting and give their own insights.  While writing this book she and her husband had temporarily moved from their Caribbean home back to New York to finish up business.  Sarah acknowledges many friends and relatives helped provide accommodation and other support.  I should acknowledge that I became aware of this book by a Facebook posting of my sister Jennifer.  Of course there are lots of people who contribute to any book and she is gracious and humorous in her appreciation.

To get more provocative creative insights you can visit her website: 

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