Review: Filling the GlassWritten by Reviewed by Philip Abelard
Reviewed By Philip Abelard firstname.lastname@example.org
Filling Glass: The Skeptic's Guide to Positive Thinking in Business by Barry Maher (Dearborn Trade Publishing, $19.95)
Businesses often seem more concerned with spin than with reality, more concerned with what people think about product than product itself. Employees are constantly being told to be positive. "Negative attitude" on an evaluation can kill a career. Positive thinking shaman crisscross country, delivering keynotes and writing books. With cosmetically perfect smiles and televangelist hair, they explain that everything is, after all, wonderful. Let's all think happy thoughts. And glass is-as we all know--half full not half empty. Reading cover of Barry Maher's new book, Filling Glass: The Skeptic's Guide to Positive Thinking in Business, you might expect more of same. Maher is, after all, a prominent keynote speaker. And cover blurbs are too good: "inspiring," "uplifting," "packed with useful practical advice," "enlightening," "entertaining," even "laugh out loud funny." Once you begin book however, you'll suspect that Maher's teeth are less than perfect. He openly admits his hair is much too thin for televangelism. He says things like "With all money we spend on self improvement in this country, you'd think we'd all be darn close to perfect by now." And, "If you're absolutely, 100 percent positive, without slightest trace of a doubt that you can do something, get a second opinion." Filling Glass is a business self-help book with an edge: Chicken Soup for Skeptical Soul. It's a book for rest of us-for those who understand benefits of a positive attitude but deep down inside don't really believe that chanting affirmations will make our dreams come true. It's a book for those who suspect that when boss enthuses, "Jack has a positive attitude," he really means, "Jack kisses all right posteriors and doesn't gripe about my stupidity." Barry Maher doesn't seem at all concerned about who moved his cheese. He distrusts self-help books and business gurus. And when he holds them up to question, he holds himself up as well. Readers who loved Leadership Secrets of Attila Hun, Maher writes, will find that Maher is "every bit as much an expert on seat-of-the-pants psychology as Attila was on rape, pillage and--I guess--twentieth century management technique." To Maher, whether you call glass half empty or half full, it's still only four ounces of water. The problem isn't whether it's half full or half empty, problem is figuring out how to fill it up. Reality counts. To grow or change or improve a business, to motivate people for long haul, you have to begin by dealing with that reality-rather than what you, company, CEO or stockholders might wish were true. All innovative--and even counter-intuitive--strategies, tactics and tips that Maher offers for improving businesses, business lives, and careers spring from that deceptively simple premise.
The Secret to a Happy LifeWritten by Marsha Jordan
There seems to be an epidemic these days of depression. Everyone I talk to, it is experiencing some degree of depression. As I wonder about cause of this twenty-first century phenomenon, I think of my great grandmother who raised my dad in back woods of Upper Peninsula of Michigan during Great Depression.
She had a hard life raising twelve children and two grandchildren, seeing two die as toddlers as well as two as adults with cancer. She supported her sick husband who was twenty-two years older than she was. She struggled through great depression, yet (according to those who knew her best) she was never depressed a day in her life! Why? Maybe because she was too busy just surviving to stop and think about feeling sad.
She came to this country from Holland as a child. She married at age of 13. Her parents went back to Holland without telling their children. She fed her family by raising animals and a large garden, in addition to taking in boarders and caring for elderly and sick. She sold her homebaked goods and ran local post office. She entertained traveling preachers and live-in teachers. She cooked on a woodstove in a house that was so cold water in tea kettle would freeze during night if she didn't get up and stoke fire. She could see snow outside through cracks in walls. She had no phone, no electricity, no running water, no shower, bathtub or indoor toilet! There was no television to watch as she relaxed in evenings. In fact, she didn't relax in evenings. That's when she sewed family's clothes. To listen to radio, her family had to walk half a mile to nearest neighbor's house. She was up before anyone else in morning and she was last to go to bed at night.
Her children were only ones in school who had real meat to eat and didn't have to take lard sandwiches in their lunches. Her kids had shoes to wear when neighbors didn't, but they put cardboard inside those shoes to cover holes in soles. Though they lived in a tar paper shack, they were better off than most of folks they knew. When beggars came to grandma's door, she would always give them a meal and a dime, though a dime was a lot of money in those days. She and her children rarely took baths. To do so, they had to pump water from well, heat it on stove, and fill metal tub in kitchen by fire. They never went to a doctor when they got sick. They couldn't afford such a luxury. And in those days, there was not a whole lot that doctors could do for them anyway. (Modern medicine has come a long way in last 70 years). This may sound like a story from Laura Ingalls Wilder books about 1800's, but I'm talking about 1930's!