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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Steering by Starlight: Find Your Right Life, No Matter What!

Steering by Starlight: Find Your Right Life, No Matter What! - Martha N. Beck

I'm not much for “self-help.”  It's not my passion; because of this, I rarely buy into it.  If the girl on the cover really knows what it takes to be a millionaire, why isn't she one?  And if that guy is truly happy, why does he hide behind the face of an action figure?  Wait, that isn't plastic, that is his face!!!  All kidding aside, it's just not my thing.  Enter Martha Beck.

Martha Beck has come with high recommendations for years.  Her angle, paraphrased: “You probably aren't doing what you want to do in life... why the hell not?”  She doesn't tell you what it is you want to do, or how to do it; rather, her method allows for self-discovery.  It's a message I like, and one that I, along with everyone I know, struggle with.

I don't know how to rate a self-help book and I'm not going to try.  Was it helpful?  Maybe.  I'll let you know in a year (or five, ten...).  Did it change my outlook?  Certainly.  Beck knows her stuff.  No exaggeration, I was going through the steps Beck said I would go through before she said I would.  The day following life changing circumstances, I read how the process has begun and how changes were around the corner.  Hours after I woke from a vivid dream, heavy in symbolism, I found myself reading about how my dreams would reveal my purpose.  Her method for decoding dreams was unique, but so much more logical than other methods.  Will I take her advice?  I'm going to try to as much as I can.  I cannot throw caution completely to the wind, jumping from the ledge of my life and hoping to land in that traveling circus I've had my eyes on, but I'm going do what I can to move in that direction as quickly as possible.  And I'm not going to be overly cautious either; I will walk along that edge until the moment I see a tent or an elephant below me, then I'll jump and just hope it all works out.  So, yes, I buy into it.

Did I enjoy the read?  Not really.  Beck ensures the reader that all the examples used are true, but I couldn't help but wonder if some were exaggerated a wee bit (or of gargantuan proportions).  Beck tries to be funny and, well, honestly, she's just not funny to me.  (Sorry, Martha.)  She's also conscious of not bogging down the book with too much jargon, but it felt like too much to me.  In the end, it was still a self-help book.

Final Verdict:  Insightful?  Yes.  Helpful?  Possibly.  Enjoyable?  Not really.