Beyond Balancing the Books: Sheer Mindfulness for Professionals in Work and Life by George Marino

Beyond Balancing the Books: Sheer Mindfulness for Professionals in Work and Life by George Marino is The Power of Now for accountants. It takes the somewhat complex ideas of gurus such as Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz, and Meister Eckhart and shows how accountants can apply mindfulness to their work and home life. 

Although the title suggests that the ideas in this book could be applied to other professionals, the metaphors, examples, parables, and situations are tailored to accountants. It is masterfully crafted in that regard. The challenges unique to financial tasks, including stress during tax season, working with demanding clients, and the accountant’s own personal baggage regarding money, were addressed. 

There are biblical excerpts, quotes from famous people like Einstein, and short poems that the author wrote to aid readers in finding inner peace through mindful activity. In addition, there are some links to the author’s YouTube channel for further guided meditations, while others are written out for the reader. 

I’m not sure that I could pick my favorite part. I enjoyed the meditation exercises. I loved the short poems. I chuckled at the conversation between the accountant and their friend (a reminder to be kind to yourself). The information about the practical application of mindfulness, both in professional and personal lives, resonated with me. The Mindfulness at Work Questionnaire for Professionals was beneficial in pinpointing how I could become more present. I thought the Thirteen Qualities of an Awakened Workplace was a helpful guide in helping employees determine how healthy their work environment is. I especially liked the section about the Money Attitude Scare (MAS) and how mindfulness can change how I look at money and financial planning. As you can see, this book is jam-packed with mindful goodies!

Beyond Balancing the Books should be on every accountant’s required reading list. Other professionals may also find it useful, disregarding the extreme CPA focus. People who are not ready to start down the mindful living path will probably find this book not as helpful. It’s a longish book, so not something that could be read in one sitting. However, that’s the point of being in the present, taking things as they come, isn’t it?

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

conscious Breathing: The Art of Meditation by Larry Snyder, MD

Having read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, I felt I could more than handle Conscious Breathing: The Art of Meditation by Larry Snyder, MD. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this little gem was not only a more accessible guide to meditation but also that it addressed the number one obstacle to mindful living, addiction.

My favorite chapter was entitled “Anxiety, Addiction, and Acceptance.” It begins by defining addiction and demonstrating how it contributes to anxiety. When we accept that addiction and anxiety are part of human existence, we can find ways to mediate their effects on our well-being. The author gives the example of two individuals injured in an auto accident. One seeks retaliation against the other driver through a lawsuit. The other concentrates on physical therapy and recovers sooner. What we focus on influences our future happiness. 

The author isn’t judgemental, merely suggestive as he discusses meditation practices. All things are temporary, including our thoughts and emotions. Conscious breathing through meditation allows us to let it all go. The book is short enough that it can be read several times. After all, meditation isn’t something that can be mastered but rather practiced day in and day out. 

On the other hand, just as substance addition is a relapsing neurobiological disease, surrendering our belief in control is something we need to do repeatedly, much like Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the mountain for eternity. Along the same lines, Sisyphus had options. It makes you wonder if he railed against his fate or enjoyed the climb. Considering he tried to outwit death several times, which resulted in his punishment, I imagine he spent eternity looking for another opportunity to control the situation, his addiction, as it were.

Anyway, just as meditation isn’t for everyone, this book might not appeal to all readers. The essays are short and separated by nice, if not exceptionally inspiring, photographs. So many things are out of our control, and not everyone is ready to accept that; thus, the act of “letting go” encouraged in the book isn’t obtainable for some yet. 

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can find my review here.

50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life by Maria Leonard Olsen

In her inspirational book 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life, Maria Leonard Olsen bravely chronicles her less-than-ideal childhood and struggles with sobriety. Part one centers on why she made a list of 50 activities she wanted to experience after the age of 50. Part two goes through the list, one by one, grouped by category. Part three includes two other lists created by daring senior women, a list of recommended reading, and book club discussion questions.

Rapidly approaching the big five-oh myself, I was fascinated to read about the author’s adventures and accomplishments. Her list included international travel, further education, social daring, physical challenges, spiritual quests, lifestyle changes, and some thrill-seeking behaviors.

The first section dealt with the author’s journey through rehab and the AA community. Some who have not experienced addiction, whether of a loved one or themselves, might not be able to identify as much with the author’s struggle. However, the information is relevant to the story since it was the catalyst for the author to create a new life and experience new things.

While extremely motivating, not all the activities on the list are within reach of the average 50-something woman. The author had the advantage of living in the D.C. area and access to the upper crust social circle, which made some of her accomplishments less challenging. She admits to that in the book’s conclusion. Also, not all of the things the author chose will appeal to every woman, but that’s not to say that other women won’t enjoy reading about them.

With the premise of “challenge yourself,” the author presented her after-50 list. I especially appreciated the self-reflection question at the end of each list item. It made me pause and think about where I stood concerning this aspect of things, such as travel or spirituality. The quotes introducing each list item were also apropos and thought-provoking.

While I appreciated categorizing the items, it might have been interesting to have them ordered chronologically instead as the author moved toward her own self-actualization. I’m positive her list choices correlated with self-discovery. I imagine the trekking through the mountainous regions of Nepal was early on while random acts of kindness occurred when she was more settled with herself, but with no timeline, that’s pure speculation on my part.

There was a lot for me to ponder in 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life by Maria Leonard Olsen as I, too, approach my fifth decade. If you are in a similar position, I heartily recommend a little armchair adventuring with Ms. Olsen.

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind: Spatial Strategy to Success and Happiness by Alex Neumann

I enjoyed reading Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind: Spatial Strategy to Success and Happiness by Alex Neumann for a variety of reasons. First, there were the CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) references throughout. Then, the parables were apt. Finally, the references to real life individuals who beat the odds were inspiring. 

If you are interested in becoming your best self, then this is a book that should be in your library. The author attacks several “givens” found in society that hinder us from reaching our full potential, such as commercialism, not saying no, self-limitation, and having a negative mindset. Each chapter has several parables illustrating a better course of action and at least one example of someone who succeeded where others failed. 

NOTE: The author had his editor fix these issues in the book that is now available on Amazon. 😉

That being said, I would have liked to have seen a little bit more attention to detail by the author. There were a handful of typos and some inaccurate information. For example, Helen Keller was not born blind and deaf. You don’t have to be naked to procreate. There aren’t nine planets anymore in our solar system. Sarah Breedlove was not born on a plantation in Pennsylvania. And the phrase “fake it til you get it” should be “fake it til you make it” and actually is more in line with what the author suggests (having an optimistic mindset which helps realize goals) than not.

Despite those oversights in the proofreading, I found Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind: Spatial Strategy to Success and Happiness by Alex Neumann to be both positive and practical.

I received an advanced reader copy from the author.

Intentionally Becoming Different: Coach yourself by Alexander Trost

If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to make your life better. I don’t mean career-wise, although that is important. I don’t mean improving relationships, even though that too is essential. I mean improving myself. If I can improve myself, all other aspects of my life will naturally follow. I believe that so much I even chose the word “improve” as my single focus for this year. 

Intentionally Becoming Different by Alexander Trost provided “provocative statements, transformational quotes, and guided exercises” to help me improve, well, me. As a lover of word origins, I enjoyed how the author illustrated his points with word syntax. For instance, did you know the world develop is the opposite of envelope. So developing refers to an unfolding. What an amazing visual for the process of self-development–an unfolding of self! 

Another imagery that appealed to me was the idea of our lives being a book. The chapters are our life goals. Our life mission is the title. I don’t know about you, but I want a well-written book as evidence of my life, not some dull or ridiculous storyline. In order to do that, I certainly would want to live an intentional life, wouldn’t you agree?

There were a few things that I thought could have been better explained by the author. He discusses the GROW model accredited to Sir John Whitmore in one chapter. I spent some time contemplating this model only to find out that it wasn’t the coaching method that the rest of the book focused on. Instead, the premise of the self-examination exercises is based on the Wheel of Life. The author says that the concept originates from the Buddist wheel of life. However, I’m not all that familiar with that and had a hard time understanding the connections.

Despite the poor understanding I had of the framework, the chapters were clear, the self-reflection questions were useful, and the application/mind shift activities were enlightening. There were explicit examples to help me formulate my own thoughts throughout. Furthermore, I learned quite a bit about the functioning of my own brain and the mechanical, emotional, and rational parts that make it up both through the informative text and the self-exploration questions. 

This isn’t a book you can read through and voila become the person you always dreamed you’d be. Once you have the tools the author provides, it is up to you to chisel away at your own life to discover the deeper meaning of it. Answers to the self-reflective questions will undoubtedly change as you develop (unfold) and you’ll need to reevaluate where you stand regularly. If you are ready for some hard self-examination and soul-searching, then Intentionally Becoming Different by Alexander Trost is the book for you.

I received an ARC of this book from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

Finding Happiness After COVID-19 by Pam and Peter Keevil

Self-quarantining has taken a lot out of me, as I’ve sure it’s done to you. The ups and downs of new cases, anti-maskers, death rates, and vaccine prognosis keep me from finding any sort of equilibrium on a daily basis. When I saw Finding Happiness After COVID-19 by Pam and Peter Keevil, I decided that it might be just what I needed. And, in the end, it certainly was. 

Many of the concepts in the book were familiar ones. I have been working through some CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) courses, after all, this year. However, it really helped to see how these actions and thoughts can be applied to the current pandemic situation, and more particularly, my own life right now. 

Happiness builds on itself. It is reflected in all aspects of our lives. And yet, sometimes, like right now, it’s hard to find even a glimmer of a silver lining in the situation. This book was exactly what I needed to refocus on reframing what I have now as being enough instead of focusing on what I can’t have just now. 

Since happiness is subjective, I can’t say which sections will resonate with you personally. However, I can say that you’ll have plenty of useful information with which to rethink your life as you work towards finding happiness after COVID-19. The concepts are clear. The examples are helpful. The self-assessment questions are enlightening.

I recommend Finding Happiness After COVID-19 by Pam and Peter Keevil to everyone struggling with the current global pandemic situation. Really, what have you got to lose?

Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life by Thomas Jordan, Ph.D.

It was obvious that Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life was written by a researcher. The book begins by explaining what book will cover. Then the book discusses those points, one by one. Finally, the conclusion recaps the information, exactly as if it were a research paper. 

While I personally felt that the section on what will be covered in the book was unnecessary, the rest of the book was well-presented. Appropriate citations were included throughout the book to reinforce the main points. The author also used his own love story to make the message personal. When I finished the book, I felt like I had attended a “love relationship class”, which I believe was the author’s intent all along.

So what did Dr. Jordan have to say about love relationships? In a nutshell, our relationship choices are often based on the types of relationships we had in our family of origin. It’s likely that a person who was abused as a child, will find a way to become an abuser or take on the role of victim in his or her romantic relationships.

This recreation of past hurts isn’t really a new concept. However, Dr. Jordan takes the idea a step further and proposes that once we realize this, we can change it. The types of unhealthy relationships are discussed as are their healthy counterparts. There are questions to help you determine what types of interactions you are repeating so that you can work towards finding healthy and whole love relationships. 

The material is simply and clearly presented in terms that everyone can understand. In conclusion, I feel that Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life by Thomas Jordan, Ph.D. is a book that should be read by those in a relationship, those looking for a relationship, and those who have ended a relationship.

I received an advance review copy from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

Live Your Gift by Dana V. Adams

Having read and enjoyed the companion guide to Live Your Gift by Dana V. Adams already, I was excited to read the main book. Although a good read, I didn’t find it quite as useful as the workbook, which was a little disappointing but not overwhelmingly so. 

Let me start with the Foreword. While I think that having the Foreword written by Bill Cohen who was the author of the little yellow book called Life Mapping that changed Dana V. Adams’ Life, was a great addition, it was amazingly dated 2081. Perhaps a little time travel occurred? 

The introduction to Live Your Gift by Dana V. Adams, mother of four, covers everything from personal fulfillment to global reckoning, a momentous challenge for just an ordinary person. From the onset, I was interested in learning how Ms. Adams was going to make the connection between self-development and world-shaking betterment in her book. That seemed to be a big stretch to me. I never did feel that the connection was made, though. 

I would have liked a little more focus on the concept of life mapping in the introduction or maybe in the first chapter, what it entailed and what it can provide. I felt like I was jumping from concept to concept without seeing the whole picture. To be fair, life mapping was thoroughly explained in section two of the book. By then I was committed to reading the entire book, whether or not I was fully following the steps.

I also thought the book relied heavily on the stories of celebrities and famous people. I found more inspiration in the chapters that the author shared her own story and that of her oldest son. Some of the biographies didn’t really illustrate the concepts covered in the chapter or tie directly in to the self-reflection activities at the end of each section. Others did an excellent job of making the connection. For example, chapter four focused on values. The story of Walt Disney was a great way to illustrate what it means to live with values. The tie-in was very clear. 

I loved seeing Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues list used as an example of how to design your own principle list. The author’s own examples were also very helpful in completing the assignments for each section. Overall, the book convinced me, as if I needed convincing, that I too needed to make my life map, which I believe was the intention of the author. 

So if you are ready to take control of your life and “Live Your Gift” you’ll find inspiration galore in Live Your Gift by Dana V. Adams and a place to create your own life map in the companion guide. 

I received an advance review copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

Get Aligned Now: Free Your Mind Through Body Intelligence, The Path to Achieve Aligned Results by Bethany Londyn

I’m currently on a quest to become a certified life coach and picked this book for this reason. Initially, I thought I had made a mistake. Some sentences in the introduction were so poorly worded and word choices were so unusual, that I thought perhaps the author was someone whose native language was not English. However, the author chose to include one of my favorite quotes by Joseph Campbell, and I decided to keep reading. 

I’m glad I did. Although I won’t say that every chapter resonated with me, quite a number did. Each chapter focuses on a single type of activity that you can do to start listening to your body to begin to make better choices. There were seven sections that used the imagery of a mighty tree as a representation of your body, from roots to the process of photosynthesis.

Each of those seven sections were further divided into daily activities. At the end of each chapter, there was a recap list, which was quite helpful. For example, one chapter was about minimizing distractions and included brief discussions on how applying the concepts of Feng Shui, Minimalism and saging your home environment could help you do that. 

As I mentioned, some of the chapters weren’t for me. I don’t feel that restless energies are trying to speak to me at 3 a.m. I am not in any way clairvoyant, nor do I regularly comune with a guardian angel. But that’s just me. Undoubtedly, there are those out there who would find tapping into those aspects of the unconscious a useful exercise. 

On the other hand, the sections on listening to your body, overwhelming yourself in gratitude, and seeing the world as one of abundance rather than scarcity were spot on in my opinion. So, in the end, I found Get Aligned Now: Free Your Mind Through Body Intelligence, The Path to Achieve Aligned Results by Bethany Londyn worth reading.

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.