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Book Review of: The Solution

Conquer Your Fear, Control Your Future

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Review of The Solution, by Lucinda Bassett (Hardcover, 2010)

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.

This book contains advice that I personally give others, plus much more. The text is well-researched, accurate, and complete. What Ms. Basset says draws on a wide range of authoritative literature, and her advice works. Many of the pearls of wisdom in this book have stood the test of time; others are newer, yet producing positive results.

Rather than hit on some "magic bullet," the author provides an integrated approach to gaining and maintaining control over one's life.So, this work is not some "new age gimmick" that you'll give up on after reaching frustration. It's real information for real people who are trying to make it in the real world, despite real problems that seem to defy solution.

I read many books, and this is the first one in a long time in which the author provides diet advice and there aren't any errors. It was like that throughout the book, though--everything was accurate. No guesswork or tapping into poor information sources.

The one thing I don't like about this book is the author's repeated use of "In order to," rather than simply "To" (these mean the same thing). She would make Strunk and White proud if, in a future revision, she does a mass search and replace. This style gaffe doesn't ruin the book, especially considering the enormous value this book brings, but fixing it would improve the reading experience.

In the martial arts, students are taught that the most powerful enemy you will ever face is the one inside you. That is also where your most powerful ally resides. This philosophy may seem simple, but it plays out in many layers and permutations. This philosophy lies at the heart of this book, and Ms. Basset lays out a means of applying it so the reader can gain true happiness, personal security, and fulfillment.

Ms. Basset's main approach is that of identifying "your core story" and then moving forward from there. What she's referring to are your deepest-held beliefs and how you came to hold them. As with everything else she discusses, this comes from established practice that has stood the test of time. This particular concept forms the basis for talk therapy (a general term for various kinds of psychotherapy).

Talk therapy has proven itself to be very effective, partly because it gets you to confront some basic facts about yourself. The weakness of talk therapy is the person under therapy must have a desire to identify and solve his/her problems (the other options being to take drugs, just stay messed up, or--as is more often the case--a combination of the two). So if you want to gain control of events in your life rather than let them control you, this book should be very helpful because it's on solid ground. If you're fairly apathetic, then this book probably won't make any difference. Probably nothing else will, either.

The text contains explanations, examples and personal stories (many from famous people). It also contains a daily "Pro-active Action" item that threads its way through the book until you get to the last one for Day 21. Interestingly, the book does not contain a bibliography. However, readers of the books that were the sources for this book will see familiar facts and tidbits (no, Ms. Bassett did not plagiarize; she merely drew facts from authoritative sources).

This book consists of twelve chapters in 265 pages. Note that 12 of those pages are chapter title pages. The first six chapters are devoted to describing the problem, thus Part I is titled, "The Problem." As you may have already guessed, Part II is titled, "The Solution."

I found this text easy to read (the exception being the style gaffe mentioned earlier). It's upbeat, yet serious. It's upbeat, because the author's message is that you can do this (and here's how). It's serious, because the research behind it is obviously exhaustive. Fortunately, the reader isn't left feeling exhausted--quite the opposite, actually.

If you're having problems dealing with life's constant stream of annoyances, this book can help you sort them out and slow that stream to a trickle. Or perhaps you know someone who is always in crisis; if so, this book would be an ideal gift.




About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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