Another ARC/Galley off the list. Sometimes I wonder why I read these unsolicited books sent by publishers*, but then I remind myself that I’m always trying to expand my views and experience of the world. In this instance I probably should’ve given up after the first 50 pages because this just wasn’t for me even though it was a relatively fast read.
Along the same veins of The Self-Love Experiment I read earlier this year this book just rubbed me the wrong way from the start. I have a lot of ideas why this bothered me below, but I can’t put my finger on any one thing. Maybe it’s just me being a grump when I read this, but if that were the case you’d think I could use a little enlightenment. Read on to find out why this book irked the hell out of me.
Similar to The Self-Love Experiment, so many of my issues with this book come from the author’s privilege and what comes across as a sense of entitlement at best and a narcissistic complex at worst. These
I’m sorry, but if you graduate from Harvard Law School and practice law for 5-6 years for a large corporate entity you’re going to be pretty well off. And that includes having to take out student loans. The average HLS graduate earns $143,000 a year. Read that sentence again. Kieves graduated from HLS, practiced law for 5-6 years and then decided she wanted to be a self-appointed self-help guru. She’s not doing bad for herself looking at her website’s speaking engagements, and the fact she’s had multiple best-selling books among other things. However, if you read this book in a vacuum you’d think she was dirt poor and barely getting by when she woefully left her high paying job to follow her passion. (No sarcasm here, can’t fault her for that.) If I had to read another vignette about being on the verge of poverty without having any details, I would have probably stabbed the book with a pencil or knife just to let out some rage.
The other piece that REALLY got under my skin, and I mean like enough so that I actually stopped reading those portions of the books were the quotes at the beginning of the chapters and the “Turning Points” at the end of the chapters. The amount of confidence you must have in yourself, your brand, and your ability to bullshit is extraordinary to quote your own journals (highly edited for readability, of course) with the likes of Rumi, Eckhart Tolle, Henry David Thoreau, Socrates, Anaïs Nin, and many others. I mean who gets off on that? And then to also compare oneself to Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs I mean talk about an ego! There was even a point when I honestly couldn’t tell, but truly felt Kieves was comparing herself to Jesus. As in Jesus Christ, you know Jesus, the son of God, or Jesus, Mary and Joseph, or Christ on a Cracker. That guy. Regardless of your religious beliefs you have to admit that’s ballsy (ovariesy?).
Then, to top it all off, Kieves included a section at the end of every chapter/section called “Turning Points.” Do you know what this was? [Full disclosure maybe I’m reading into it and was just REALLY annoyed at this point.] It was bite size quotes from the preceding chapter. As in quotes that could be put on other people’s books (like she did for herself already), or quotes that could go on inspirational posters, or quotes that you could handily share on social media like (hashtags were my addition):
“Listening is not evaluating, fixing, or planning. It’s listening. It’s a verb all by itself.” – Tama Kieves #selfreflection #amlistening #inspiration #quotable
This just made me physically ill. I’m not sure if it is because it felt like she was pandering to quote/sound bite culture, or if it’s because of the above where she puts her quotes on par with these people who have m/billions of followers around the world. It just really really bothered me.
This whole book wasn’t horrid, there were some parts that did get me to laugh. At one point she’s standing in a freezing stream in Colorado with some sort of hippie guru who is forcing her to have a panic attack about all the things she can’t control that are flowing downstream and she can’t get back. Looking back I’m not sure this was supposed to be hilarious, but the sheer idiocy of it and the way she wrote it made it quite humorous. She did learn a lesson about it, you know that adage/prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Yeah that.
Ultimately though, I doubt I’ll ever read another book by Kieves and will probably have to restrain myself from swearing at her books if I see them in a store.
Recommendation: Pass. I’m sure there are wonderful nuggets of wisdom in here (she tried to point them out for you – devastatingly so through her “Turning Points”), but ultimately her whole shtick of self-entitlement and privilege that permeated this book bothered me too much and so I didn’t take anything from it.
*I received a copy of Thriving Through Uncertainty from the publisher in return for my honest opinion. No goods or cash were received.
Opening Line: “Where do you crave certainty right now?”
Closing Line: “You’re likely to be thrilled at the results you experience especially over time. Be patient, dear one. Be persistent. Be Free.” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)