3 books on improving your life

January 20, 2012

It’s a new year. The party hats and noisemakers have been packed away, and “Auld Lang Syne” is a distant echo. Haven’t made any resolutions yet? Not to worry. Here are three recent titles, just in time for the procrastinators of 2012.

Finding Your Way in a New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want, by Martha Beck (Free Press, $26). Though Beck describes herself as a life coach, she also holds degrees from Harvard, taught at Harvard Business School and is a best-selling writer to boot. Those credentials have armed her for a mission of helping people discover their truest selves. Her book draws on the lessons of ancient civilizations and wise healers, spells out significant methods of personal transformation and offers advice in finding your like-minded “external tribe,” folks who are moved by the same things that move you.


’The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life’ by Robin Zasio (Rodale Books)

The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life, by Robin Zasio (Rodale, $24.99). Hoarding is a malady that has received unprecedented attention over the past several years, thanks in large part to two reality TV shows. Zasio, a consulting therapist on A&E’s “Hoarders,” seeks to demistify the condition even further. As she points out, the “hoarding continuum” stretches from those who save absolutely nothing to the obsessives seen on television. Her book should help people deal with the clutter in their lives, recognize the merits of decluttering and take a more rational stance toward their possessions.

Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure, by Andreas Kluth (Riverhead, $26.95). The author, a longtime correspondent for the Economist, will surely elicit comparisons to the work of Malcolm Gladwell and others with his new book, which deals with pressure, resilience and why some people (and companies) thrive while others don’t. Kluth’s originality lies in examining the successes and failures of the legendary Carthaginian general Hannibalin order to illuminate our own. One of Kluth’s tenets is that “part of success is adjusting your idea of what it is.” That can be true for failure, as well, he reasons, and it’s important to know the difference. For example, Hannibal’s miraculous crossing of the Alps was a triumph in the short run, but in the end his enemies, the Romans, endured.

— Chris Schoppa

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