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December Book Review: The Choice: Embracing the Possible by Edith Eva Eger

A stunning, powerful, beautifully-written memoir of her life as a Jewish child in Hungary, as a holocaust prisoner at Auschwitz, and the years of recovery thereafter, Edith Eva Eger’s, The Choice: Embrace the Possible, left me speechless. Through her incredible story, Eger shows us how to move from a victim, to a survivor, and then to an empowered person. She demonstrates how this is done by the power of choice. If there is anyone who has the credibility to teach others how to truly thrive after enduring horrific experiences, it is this amazing woman!

As a holocaust survivor with most of her imprisonment at Auschwitz, Edith tells her story with first-rate prose, weaving her past with her present and taking the reader on an inspiring journey. Her book is divided into four major sections. She talks about her childhood and imprisonment as a teenager, her escape, her recovery, and lastly, her final healing which was not fully complete until she revisited Auschwitz decades later. It was then that she turned tragedy into triumph. Eger’s book covers how she watched her mother march to her death in the gas chamber; details her daily torture and starvation; explains how she and her sister, Magda, inspired each other to survive yet another, torturous day; covers how she was transferred to the Mauthausen and Gunskirchen camps in Austria; and finally, her rescue from a heap of dying bodies by U.S. soldiers.  This is the kind of book that gives you the chills, makes you gasp, makes you feel a multitude of emotions, and entices you to close it for a moment, put it down, and inevitably stare at the wall in awe.

In addition to her imprisonment, Edith explains how she kept her experiences in the concentration camp to herself for most of her adult life, until she realized she could not keep her secret any longer, if she wanted to heal from her past. As a clinical therapist, she explains how some of her clients were the catalyst in helping her eventually discover why she feared verbalizing her experiences during WWII. The Choice: Embrace the Possible is not only a story about a holocaust survivor, but also a story of hope, of courage, of forgiveness, of personal healing, and of how to escape the prison in our own minds.

I highly recommend The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eva Eger to those interested in learning about the Holocaust from the perspective of a thriving survivor, to those who are history or WWII buffs, or to those who want to read a beautiful, very inspiring story. I could not put this book down, and I definitely learned a lot.

A bit about the author, Dr. Edith Eva Eger:Dicu-e1467064906674

Dr. Edith Eva Eger holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and maintains a thriving practice in La Jolla, California. She also holds a faculty appointment at the University of California, San Diego. She serves as the consultant for the U.S. Army and Navy in resiliency training and the treatment of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Edith is eighty-nine years old, a dancer, an inspiring speaker, and ends her talks with a high ballet kick (a metaphor for the human spirit, her love of ballet, and the power of choice).

To learn more about Dr. Edith Eva Eger, follow her Facebook Page. To purchase a copy of The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eva Eger, visit Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 


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October Book Review: Creating a World That Works for All by Sharif Abdullah

“A human being is part of the whole, called [by us] “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison for us … Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

The above quotation from the brilliant Albert Einstein is found in the beginning pages of Creating a World That Works for All by Sharif Abdullah because it encapsulates the author’s belief and mission.  Mr. Abdullah is on a quest to encourage and teach people how to create a world that works for every human being because presently the world only works for a few. His book details how and why shifting our individual and collective consciousness, followed with action, will accomplish this much-needed and urgent vision.

Abdullah Sharif divides his book into three parts: the envisioning of true inclusivity; the analysis of a new, humane society for all; and the practical advice on moving from a broken world to an inclusive one.  He thoughtfully terms and discusses the three types of people in today’s world: the “Keepers”– those who live in harmony with the earth and believe the planet was not created for any one species, we should not try to control life, and we should keep doing what works; the “Breakers”– those who believe the earth and everything in it was created for man, and man has the right and responsibility to control it all; and the “Menders”– those who work towards an inclusive, habitable planet that works for all human and nonhuman beings. Throughout this reading, Sharif very thoroughly analyses why a world that works for all is not achievable without restructuring our attitudes, our priorities, and our culture. In addition, he describes how exclusivity destroys and why inclusivity builds. He concludes with specific alternative actions for each of us to take that will create a sustainable, life-affirming world based on fundamentally different ways of thinking.

I found Creating a World That Works for All by Sharif Abdullah compelling. It was also sometimes arduous to read because Sharif’s words forced me to acknowledge how I sometimes participate in exclusivity (or in that which harms greater society) and how I could improve. I highly recommend this reading to anyone seeking a solution for all our social, political, and environmental problems worldwide and to those interested in an analysis of our collective denial. It is a very pertinent read at this time in history!

A bit about the author, Sharif Abdullah:

Sharif-LCL-01-219x300

Shariff Abdullah, J.D., is a consultant, speaker, author and advocate for societal transformation.   His mission is to bring currently dysfunctional systems and structures into alignment with our common human and spiritual values for the goal of creating a world that works for all living things. He consults with people and organizations on the leading edge of change including government agencies, businesses, and social service organizations.  As director of Commonway Institute, he has visited over forty-three countries and over 100 distinct cultures, giving him a unique perspective on our global human and spiritual issues.

Shariff Abdullah was raised in Camden, New Jersey, a formerly prosperous Industrial Era city, now devastated by poverty, violence, and hopelessness. His early life was a study in toxic relationships, and he experienced living on welfare in public housing, violence, and pollution. The deep desire to facilitate a world that works for everyone resulted from his childhood experiences.

To learn more about Sharif Abdullah, or to purchase a copy of Creating a World That Works for All, visit: Sharif.Commonway.org.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 

 


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July Book Review: The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

Do you ever wake up and not want to get out of bed? Or, you just don’t want to face the day? I think we all do. We want to stay under the warm covers so we keep hitting the snooze over and over again.  Some of us might even be slightly depressed or just unmotivated. Well, there is a solution to this conundrum.

Mel Robbins, as she explains in The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, discovered an absolutely easy and successful way to stop the morning blues with a simple technique she calls the 5 Second Rule, a backwards count from five to one. Honestly, I thought this was too simple when I first read it in her book; even Mel agreed with me – she calls her child-like rule “stupid.” There are many life coaches, counselors, therapists, healers, experts, and gurus offering solutions to the “morning blues,” our lack of motivation, or our avoidance of what we know we need to do; however, I have found that Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule works!  Mel’s book shows how it is possible to change our behavior, five seconds at a time, so we can create the life of our dreams.

Mel’s story is unquestionably inspiring. In her book, she explains about how she managed to pull herself out of a very low point in her life by accidentally discovering the 5 Second Rule, and how she later found the scientific reasons why the rule works. She exposes how motivation is overrated and actually a destroyer of our goals. The book outlines how to end procrastination, how courage and fear affect our brain chemistry and what it means, and why we dread some activities and look forward to others.  She concludes with a chapter on how to become the most fulfilled person and how to build self-confidence. Her writing is truly encouraging, easy to comprehend, comical, and entertaining! Mel also includes many social media posts and emails throughout her book from people who have improved their lives dramatically by using her 5 Second Rule. After this reading, I have started to use the rule and have already experienced a positive difference in my life and in my attitude.

I recommend The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins to anyone who feels stuck or to those who are not sure why they can’t seem to take that first, scary step to achieve their goals. It will help propel your life in the right direction!

A bit about the author, Mel Robbins:

Mel Robbins is a dynamic speaker, TV personality, writer, coach, and influencer. Her TEDx Talk on “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” has over 10 million views across thirty seven countries, and her book on the brain and productivity, Stop Saying You’re Fine, is a business bestseller that has been translated into four languages. She started her career as a criminal defense attorney and went on to launch and sell a retail and internet technology company. Mel is currently one of CNN’s most popular on-air commentators and opinion writers. She has an extensive television résumé as an expert on human behavior and motivation for Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Oprah, The Today Show and Fox News. She was named America’s Outstanding News Talk show Host at the 2014 Gracie Awards. Mel Robbins is a Dartmouth College and Boston College Law School graduate; she lives in the Boston area but remains a Midwesterner at heart.

To learn more about Mel Robbins or to purchase The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, visit: MelRobbins.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 


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May Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

It’s 5 a.m. It’s quiet, and it’s my favorite part of the day.

Introverts love quiet: quiet mornings, quiet afternoons and a contemplative walk, quiet evenings with a great book and an animal (or two), quiet workplaces so they can create. I am an introvert. I’m a lucky introvert because I stumbled upon Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, a book that thoroughly demonstrates that not only is it okay to be introverted, but there are so many advantages to being one. Are you an introvert?  Did you know that you are okay as you are? If not, look no further – read Cain’s book!

Susan Cain in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, begins by explaining how extroversion became the norm in society (even how extroversion is preferred over introversion) followed by considerable evidence demonstrating how collaboration or “group work” actually kills creativity. Even though most of our workplace is designed for extroverts, evidence shows that working alone cultivates and sustains creative thinking. According to research psychologist Anders Ericcson, it is when we are alone that we can engage in deliberate creativity and practice; it is only then that we can identify knowledge just out of our reach, strive to upgrade our performance, monitor our progress, and improve. Working in a group setting, he advises, is counterproductive because it reinforces current cognitive mechanisms. But, how many of us have the capability of working alone, and why is society set up to value extroversion? Susan Cain discusses these important questions.

Cain discusses how charismatic leadership in our business world is a myth, and that introverts actually fair just as well, if not better, than extroverts in all areas of study and business. One out of every three people is introverted. Research shows that creative individuals became masters in their work by consistently spending time alone immersing themselves in their craft. Who are some of the world’s creative introverts? How about Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, George Orwell, J.K. Rowling, Marcel Proust, Charles Schutz, Steven Spielberg, George Orwell, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Steve Wozniak, Frederic Chopin, W.B. Yeats, and the list goes on. Can you imagine life without this list?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking also discusses temperament and the biology of introverts and extroverts, nature vs. nurture theories, different cultures in regards to introversion vs. extroversion, how to best communicate with both temperaments, when an introvert might have to act more extroverted and why, and finally, how to cultivate and sustain the introvert in an extroverted world. Cain ascertains that the world needs a better balance between extroversion and introversion. Her book is very well researched and a pleasure to read.

I highly recommend Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. This book is rich with valuable information, and this blog has only reviewed part of it. I recommend this reading to anyone interested in this topic but especially to introverts.  It will help you see that there is nothing wrong with you, that it is okay to be introverted. I also advise this reading to business owners or managers so you can better support your staff with their development and company goals.

A bit about the author, Susan Cain:Susan Cain

Susan Cain is the co-founder of Quiet Revolution and the author of the bestseller Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts in addition to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into forty languages and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for almost three years. Susan is also the co-founder of the Quiet Schools Network and the Quiet Leadership Institute. Her writing has appeared in the The New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 17 million times (which is where I discovered her!). She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s top fifty Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. Lastly, Ms. Cain prefers listening to talking, reading to socializing, and cozy chats to group settings, like a true introvert.

To learn more about Susan Cain, or to purchase a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, visit QuietRev.com.

I leave you with the Quiet Revolution Manifesto found on Susan Cain’s website, QuietRevolution.com:

  1. There is a word for “people who are in their heads too much”- thinkers.
  2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
  3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.
  4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There is always time to be quiet later.
  5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.
  6. One genuine relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.
  7. It’s okay to cross the street to avoid making small talk.
  8. “Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.
  9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.
  10. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 

 

 

Propaganda


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October Book Review: Propaganda by Edward Bernays

Considered a fascinating and controversial read, Propaganda by Edward Bernays-written in 1928 and revised in 1955-explains the role of public relations in government and business, or rather, explores how power is used by the ruling elite of our society to curb, control and manipulate public opinion. It is a summation of how the elite control how we think, how we act, what we buy, and what we do. I found Propaganda apropos to read in October of an election year.

The definition of propaganda, according to Edward Bernays, is “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses.” Not only is propaganda necessary for social order, but Bernays believed that it is also a vital and important element in democratic society, and without its use, the masses would be confused and lost.  Propaganda is used to sell an idea, a product or service, every day. Bernays, although insists that the use of propaganda is essential, does acknowledge that curbing its potentially destructive mass ramifications is impossible; essentially, he does not idealize his stance but rather understands that the use of propaganda is manipulative, covert and only serves the propagandist. Today, the word “propaganda” has a very negative connotation, and the Oxford Dictionary definition is: “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”  An example of this, of course, is the propaganda deliberately used by the mass media in this election year of 2016 with the goal of shaping public opinion in regards to the two major presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In addition to analyzing the role of propaganda in politics, Edward Bernays scrutinizes how it is used in education, social services, business, art, science, and what he terms “women’s studies.” He also briefly discusses the psychology of public relations. I found Bernays book a brief but thorough introduction of the subject of propaganda. Even though this book was originally published in 1928, it is still very pertinent today, almost one hundred years later. I recommend this reading to anyone who seeks to understand how the masses are covertly (and sometimes overtly) manipulated into thinking and acting on all levels. It is truly and eye-opener!

A bit about the author, Edward Bernays:Edward Bernays

Austrian-American intellectual Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion. During WWI, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda machine that sold the war to the American people as one that would “make the world safe for democracy.” The marketing strategies for all future wars would be based on this model. Bernays fashioned a career as a proponent of propaganda for political and corporate manipulation of the population. His career earned him the well-known title of “father of public relations.”

To learn more about Edward Bernays, visit Wikipedia.

To read a copy of Propaganda, visit Amazon or download a PDF version.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com. Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

 


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September Book Review: Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind by Brenda Shoshanna

Fearless“Whoever can see through [all] fear will always be safe.” -Tao Te Ching

Profound verse, isn’t it?

In a time of tremendous internal and external fear, I found Brenda Shoshanna’s Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind a breath of fresh air and very encouraging. Like the author, I believe that in order for us to change our collective consciousness of fear to that of love, we must learn to become fearless and find peace internally, primarily. Brenda Shoshanna, a practicing psychologist and therapist, discusses in detail her principles of peace of mind. They are: the courage to be who you are; letting go of attachment and grasping; recognizing the voices within; finding a safe harbor; blessing others: deeds of love; letting go of control and domination; and lastly, discovering your perfect nature: becoming a friend. The author then discusses what it means to live as a “whole” and healthy person.  Additionally, in the last part of her book, Dr. Shoshanna supplies very practical steps to dissolve our fears so we can live peacefully and powerfully.

I found Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind by Dr. Shoshanna very helpful personally. I was reminded that if I want to live in a loving world, I must be the one who promotes peace by living with peace in my own mind. Living fearless begins with my internal thoughts and emotions. This book has helped me recognize my unconscious fears and taught me how to remove them (of course, this is a work in progress). I highly recommend Shoshanna’s book to anyone seeking to learn how to confront fear for what it is – a bully. This book is a keeper!

A bit about the author, Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D.:

brenda-shoshanna-bio

Dr. Shoshanna, psychologist, author and workshop leader, works with individuals and couples who wish to find relief from stress, anxiety, depression, loss, and relationship difficulties. She helps clients discover inner resources, engage in heathy communication and build uplifting, satisfying relationships both with others and themselves. She works with a wide variety of life problems and issues, from depression, anxiety and stress relief, to relationship difficulties, grief, loss and more.

She has lectured and taught psychological subjects at the New York State Psychological Association, Barnard College, John F. Kennedy Medical Center, The Center for Practical Nursing, Marymount Manhattan College, Adelphi University and more. Dr. Shoshanna has published five books about various aspects of psychology such as relationships, mourning, and personal achievement.

To learn more about Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, visit: DrShoshanna.com. To purchase a copy of Fearless: 7 Principles of Peace of Mind visit: Amazon.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com. Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

 


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January Book Review: you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps by Price Pritchett

Price PritchettA short, concise and very inspiring book (easily carried in a briefcase or small purse), you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps by Price Pritchett encouraged me to go after my dreams and omit the excuses! More importantly, the book helped me to realize that my dreams are in reach. And, yours are too!

you2 (squared) promotes an unconventional strategy for achieving breakthrough performance in everything you want to achieve. Pritchett presents this powerful method in eighteen key components and explains how these build massive success with expending less effort and bypassing the gradual and conventional methods. His books showed me how to “quit trying harder,” to think beyond what common sense would allow, and how to make a move towards my dreams before I feel ready.

Price Pritchett

I recommend this short book (which can be read in less than an hour) to anyone who needs inspiration, motivation and encouragement to take a leap towards their dream. If you want to be challenged and learn that you can attain your goals, read this book! If you find yourself living a dull life because you have settled for the “status quo” and have no idea how you will ever create a life of abundance, Pritchett’s book will inspire you to move and take action with faith and belief. It will show you how to take what he calls a quantum leap.

A bit about the author, Price Pritchett:

Price Pritchett

Price Pritchett is CEO of Pritchett, LP, a Dallas-based consulting and training firm with offices in numerous other cities and countries. Specializing in change management, corporate culture and merger integration, he holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is recognized worldwide as an expert on personal and organizational change. He has been featured on CNN, CNBC and other major television channels. Pritchett has sold over 20 million copies of his books and is one of the world’s best-selling business authors.

To learn more about Price Pritchett or to purchase a copy of you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps, visit his website: pritchettnet.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being