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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Wake Up and Live, by Dorothea Brande, Reviewed

I came to this remarkable piece of work via an offer from another author who’d ‘rewritten’ it. When I saw the original was by Dorothea Brande, I looked for that original. After all, why have a copy? This was especially the case as I’d always admired her other brilliant work, ‘Becoming a Writer’.

This is a ‘self-help’ book; a variety of nonfiction I rarely bother with, especially since reading the over-egged ‘The Secret’. But, knowing Brande’s previous work, I decided to give this a chance. And I’m glad I did.

In common with a great many people, I’ve had the suspicion for some time that something in my approach to life was letting me down. Brande’s perceptive narrative and observations make a great deal of sense. It’s true that many of us, without being conscious of the fact, spend a good deal of time and energy willing ourselves to fail. We do this even as we kid ourselves that everything we do is designed to make us succeed.

As with her other book, the author sets exercises so that this is more a short ‘course’ than a text book. I’ve only just finished reading it, so haven’t yet had time to apply these. However, having read the text, I can see the validity and purpose behind them and will be performing these exercises over the next weeks.

The one thing I’ve already taken from the book, which I can apply at once, is her advice to ‘act as though you cannot fail’. As a bald statement, this lacks the power it generates within the text. In a nutshell, it’s a plea to the reader to be courageous, to act with purpose and deep consideration in all areas of life that matter to you. There is much, much more, of course. But, if you’re one of those people for whom life has been disappointing, for whom life hasn’t come up to expectations, I recommend you read this book. This original version is also cheaper than the copy I was offered, by the way.
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