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The End of Procrastination: How to Stop Postponing and Live a Fulfilled Life

Petr Ludwig, trans. from the Czech by Adela Schicker. St. Martin’s, $15.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-30805-4

Ludwig’s deceptively simple debut provides marvelous tips for increasing productivity. Explaining that motivation, discipline, and objectivity form a recipe for success in setting and reaching goals, Ludwig demonstrates that there are multiple types of motivation, and the one that most people turn to—extrinsic motivation (rewards and punishments)—is far from the most effective. Instead, in Ludwig’s estimation, intrinsic motivation—motivation driven by a meaningful personal vision—provides the true key to success. To help readers redirect their efforts toward understanding and then pursuing their true passions, he provides a trove of practical techniques for pushing past procrastination, most notably the “habit-list,” a daily accounting of desired actions to build discipline. Ludwig instructs readers to lay out their tasks, give each task a concrete and pleasant name, take breaks to replenish cognitive resources, and make a habit of creating a “to-do today” list. Because many procrastinators are paralyzed by a fear of failure, Ludwig reminds readers that failure is positive, as it puts one’s mind in the “learning zone” where one can question previously held assumptions. He also includes a step-by-step guide (here dubbed the “hamster-restart”) to follow when one inevitably trips up. In a firm yet empathetic tone, Ludwig provides realistic, achievable steps to overcoming procrastination. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

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Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem

Joseph Burgo. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-15130-8

While shame is at least a small part of everyone’s life, it can be a source of empowerment for change, writes psychotherapist Burgo in this approachable book. Instead of minimizing feelings of shame and self-hatred, he argues, readers should embrace these emotions. Burgo believes that people can be liberated by finding joy in sharing painful stories with others, setting realistic expectations for personal goals, and acknowledging the aspects of shame that may never change. He considers case studies from his 35 years of practice and builds a composite profile of personality types he’s seen (such as narcissists, addicts, shut-ins, and pleasers), and shares some of his own struggles dealing with shame. Relying on and heavily referencing the work of Andrew Solomon and Brené Brown, he also uses different metaphors and charts in order to help readers see the various ways shame may be working in their lives and learn how it can be used to create pride instead of pain. Exercises at the end of the book will also help readers build self-awareness and avoid perfectionism (with an emphasis on setting and meeting goals and taking pride in one’s accomplishments). Using insight from his own career and other current work in psychotherapy , Burgo dispels the myth that shame has to be toxic. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

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