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Being an avid, life-long fan of classical music and having studied the violin in my later years, I jumped at the opportunity to review this ambitious work put together by internationally renowned guitarist Steven Hancoff.

Hancoff 3CDBach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello, a project that took Hancoff eight years to complete, is a fascinating, immersive multimedia extravaganza that combines music, history and art, a gem for classical music enthusiasts.

The ebook has four volumes:

VOLUME 1: THE LIFE OF J. SEBASTIAN BACH

VOLUME 2: THE LEGACY OF J. SEBASTIAN BACH

VOLUME 3: PABLO CASALS AND THE SIX SUITES FOR CELLO SOLO

VOLUME 4: FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANSCENDENCE

Volume 1 is all about Bach’s life; volume 2 is about Bach’s death and the following 80 years of total obscurity until his music was discovered by Felix Mendelssohn; volume 3 focuses on Pablo Casals, his heroic life, and how serendipity brought him to Bach’s music; finally, volume 4 consists almost entirely on nine videos about the mystery and greatness of Bach, and how he didn’t allow his personal tragedy to define his music. Over one thousand illustrations grace the pages of the volumes, including three hundred works of contemporary art. There’s also a scholarly bibliography.

The four-volume ebook is available on iTunes and is accompanied separately by a 3-CD set recording of Hancoff’s acoustic guitar transcription of the suites. Readers may listen to samples here.

Like some other famous creative artists in history, Bach led a harsh life, losing his siblings and parents by the time he was ten, then having to work for years in an environment that didn’t support his music talents. He was even thrown into jail at some point. He never recovered from the death of his wife, whom he loved dearly. It was in times of deep pain and hardship that he created his sublime masterpieces, Six Violin Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo and then his Six Suites for ’Cello Solo.

The cello suites are a testament to the tragedy in his life, to all the pain and sorrow, but also to his determination and transcendence—a gift to his then gone beloved wife. Particularly interesting and surprising is how Bach’s prodigious music almost fell to oblivion if not for the efforts of Felix Mendelssohn’s great aunt, and how Pablo Casals discovered the suites in a little shop in Barcelona and how he studied them for over a decade before performing them in public.

Steven Hancoff’s passion and reverence for Bach and his music resonate throughout and shine through the pages of these volumes. He’s done an admirable job presenting “the miracle of Bach,” as Casals once put it. Moreover, his transcriptions of the suites in acoustic guitar are a pleasure to listen to: serene, bitter-sweet at times, filled with emotional power and depth, always sublimely beautiful.

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello is a feast to the senses, a testament to the greatness of Bach and comes highly recommended from this reviewer.

Useful links:

Listen to a samples Steven Hancoff’s transcription of the six suites here:http://www.stevenhancoff.com/music.html

Watch Hancoff’s various videos on the subject: http://www.stevenhancoff.com/videos.html

Connect with Hancoff on Facebook and Twitter @StevenHancoff.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics.

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For immediate release                                     
Contact: Lida Quillen
(423) 323-0183
publisher@twilighttimes.com                                                                           
(September 25, 2015, Kingsport, TN)
Wisdom and Inspiration from Latina Authors in New Compilation
Latina Authors and Their Muses features advice from 40 women writers
As the Hispanic American population of the U.S. increases, with influences ranging from Mexico to Central America and the Caribbean, so does interest in literature inspired by those cultures. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by delving into Latina Authors and Their Muses.
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has now edited a collection of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the U.S. and writing in English.Latina Authors and Their Muses is an inspirational and informative book focusing on the craft of writing and the business of publishing, one that provides aspiring writers with the nuts and bolts of the business.
I had the opportunity to meet Carmen Dolores Hernandez,  the book review editor at El Nuevo Día newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when she visited me in Brussels,says Calvani. Shed published some of my short stories and novel excerpts inRevista Domingo in the past, and I deeply admired her wisdom as a writer and woman of letters.
She mentioned the anthology she had put together back in 1997, Puerto Rican Voices in English. I ordered a copy and became absorbed by the candor and insight of the authors as they talked about their backgrounds, books, and writing, Calvani continues.
Wouldnt it be perfect to put together a similar anthology showcasing Latina authors writing in English in the United States? This book would not only showcase prominent figures but emerging voices as well, writers working on a wide range of genres from the literary to the commercial.
 
The result of several years of research and interviews is Latina Authors and Their Muses. Writing in genres ranging from the literary to childrens picture books to fantasy novels to chick lit, and more, this remarkable group of talented authors shares their passion and commitment to their craft and to sharing their stories with the world in spite of the odds.
Latina Authors and Their Muses is a celebration of creativity, the writers life, and the passionate quest for spiritual and artistic freedom.
About the editor:
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned more than ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. Shes had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.
 
Discount price of 99 cents from Sept. 25th to Oct. 5th!
Get your copy today from Amazon or OmniLit
Book info
Title: Latina Authors and Their Muses
Author: Mayra Calvani, Editor
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Genre: Reference/Writing Skills
*Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-063-0
    Format: 6×9 trade paperback; 340 pages; $19.95 USD
Distributors: Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Follett, etc.
*eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-062-3; $6.50 USD
    Format: ebook in pdf, ePub, Kindle, Mobi, PRC, etc.
Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; BN.com Nook; Kobo Books; OmniLit; OverDrive, etc.
Release date: September 25, 2015 ebook; December 15, 2015 print
LCCN: 2015952662
Chapter excerpt:

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Stop the Diet banner

Today’s guest is Lisa Tillinger Johansen, author of the nonfiction/nutrition/health book, Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off!

Stop the Diet A

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I would. I wrote my first play when I was in 4th grade. My friends and I performed it for our class. And, of course, I starred in it. Too funny! I wrote another play the next year, which we also performed for our class. The last play I wrote, and starred in, was called Rocky and the Boys which followed the exploits of a group of bank robbers. That was when I was in 7th grade.

When I was in high school, I switched to writing essays and short stories and this continued through college. I made my first attempt at writing a book in my late twenties. It was a murder mystery entitled The Girl With The Kelly Green Scarf. From start to finish it was only 80 pages. Clearly I found fiction writing very hard! So I turned my attention to nonfiction writing and am very proud of my new book Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!, as well as my first book Fast Food Vindication.

What was your inspiration for Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off?

I wrote Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! because there are so many fad and bad diets out there that don’t work and can even be harmful to us. As a dietitian, I’m a big believer in eating balanced diets that are healthy and can be adhered to for life. That’s such an important message and I felt compelled to write about it.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Since I’m a registered dietitian and work as a health educator, I focus my writing on diet, weight loss and overall nutrition. I write what I know.

How long did it take you to complete the book?

It took me two years to write Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! That’s longer than I like. I’m hoping to complete my next book in one year’s time.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I am very disciplined, but I’m not just a writer. I counsel clients one-on-one, teach nutrition education classes at senior centers and have speaking engagements at community centers, colleges and corporations. So sometimes I’m very busy and getting in writing can be challenging. When I do carve out the time, I like to sit on the couch with my two dogs cuddling next to me. I like to have the TV on. I have my laptop and my research files and I write for as many hours as I can.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Time was the most challenging factor. I think that’s probably true for a lot of writers.

What do you love most about being an author?

There are two things I love about being an author. The first is how I get immersed in the process. Even with all the distractions of having the TV on and my dogs by my side when I write, these potential distractions are negated by how much I get pulled into my writing. It’s just me and my laptop and it feels great. More importantly, I know that my books can help people and there’s no better feeling than that.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

For both of my books, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! I went through a small press, J. Murray Press which uses CreateSpace. I’m very happy I went that route because I was able to have full control of the process. But for my next book I’m considering going through a traditional publisher because of the support they can provide not only during the writing process but upon publication of the book.

Where can we find you on the web?

Website: stopthediet.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-Tillinger-Johansen/371723646229812

Twitter: @LisaTJohansen

About the Author

Lisa Tillinger Johansen

LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post). She lives in Southern California.

Her latest book is the nonfiction/nutrution/health book, Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!

For More Information

About the Book:

Stop the Diet 2

Title: Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen
Publisher: J. Murray Press
Pages: 275
Genre: Nonfiction/Nutrition/Health

The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts. With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

For More Information

  • Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Read Chapter One here.

Book Excerpt:

The idea for this book began at a wedding.

Who doesn’t love a good wedding? The clothes, the flowers, the romance, the food…

Ah, the food. As we moved into the banquet hall, the culinary feast was on everyone’s minds. It was all anyone seemed talk about. But for some reason, guests weren’t conversing about the dishes being served; they were swapping stories of diets they had heard about from friends, magazine articles, even celebrities on talk shows.

I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science and years of clinical and health education experience. I’ve counseled thousands of patients and clients on all of these diets. But hearing the guests only momentarily distracted me from my horrible faux pas of wearing white (gasp!) to a friend’s wedding.

“I’m on the Blood Type Diet,” said a woman with an impossibly high bouffant hairdo. “You’ve heard of that, haven’t you? It’s the one where you choose your foods based on your blood type. I’m an AB, so I’ll be having the fish.”

“Really?” her friend replied. “I swear by the gluten-free diet. I’m on it, my daughter’s on it, and my granddaughter’s on it.”

I happened to know her granddaughter was six and didn’t have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Then there was the stocky guy who was trying to impress one of the bridesmaids. “I’m a paleo man myself,” he said, piling his plate high with beef kebabs. “It gives me more stamina, know what I mean? It puts me in touch with my inner caveman. There’s a restaurant near my apartment that’s paleo friendly. Maybe we can grab a bite there sometime, or…Hey wait, where are you going?”

And there were three Weight Watchers sisters who typed furiously on their phones and argued over their meals’ point values. Apparently there was some discrepancy between their various apps, and the sisters’ discussion was becoming more heated by the moment.

I’m past the point of being surprised by the wide range of weight-loss strategies—

some worthless, some crazy, some quite reasonable—being tossed around. In the past few years, there has been a tidal wave of diets washing up on the shores of our nutritional consciousness. Celebrities prance across our screens, promoting a variety of weight-loss schemes on talk shows and infomercials. Medical doctors star in their own syndicated television programs, exposing millions to weight-loss techniques, often unsupported by medical research. Other diets get traction on the Internet, racing all over the globe in social media posts, YouTube videos, and annoying spam e-mails. It’s hard to walk past a shopping center vitamin store without being approached by salespeople trying to pitch the latest weight-loss supplements. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the pie; the American diet industry tops $60 billion annually.

It’s classic information overload. You can’t blame people for being confused by all the diets out there, even as crazy as some of them may sound. I didn’t speak up to my fellow wedding guests that day, but it occurred to me they would benefit from some hard facts about the diets they so ardently follow.

So during the toasts, I thought to myself, I should write a book.

I counsel clients on these matters each week, giving them information they need to make the best choices for their health and waistlines. I find that all too often there’s nothing to the diets that are presented to me in my counseling sessions and classes. They just plain don’t work, particularly over the long term. And some of them are harmful, even potentially lethal. But it’s also unhealthy to carry extra weight on our frames. So how do we separate good diets from the bad?

In the chapters to come, we’ll take a good, hard look at the various weight-loss plans out there. I’ll pull no punches in my professional evaluation of some of the most wildly popular diets, both bad and good, of the past few years. And along the way, I’ll explore tried-and-true strategies for losing weight, based on my years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars, and community outreach efforts. More often than not, the best answer is not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but instead a few easy-to-follow guidelines that I’ve seen work in literally thousands of cases.

Enough is enough. It’s time for the madness—and the diets—to stop.

 

 

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RothIrene S. Roth is an academic and freelance writer for teens, tweens and kids. She has written over 500 book reviews and 1,000 online articles on different topics for teens, tweens, and about the craft of writing. She also teaches workshops on writing and craft at Savvy Authors. She lives in Stratford, Ontario with her husband and cat. Visit her at https://irenesroth.wordpress.com/

ABOUT HER BOOK

In Seasons of Empowerment for Adolescent Girls, Ms. Roth argues that there are four seasons of empowerment for adolescent girls. Sadly no adolescent girl can simply wake up one day, snap her fingers, and be empowered to tackle the world and all the forces that exist inside and outside. Becoming empowered to be who we are can be truly difficult. This book consists of a step-by-step guide to help adolescent girls achieve self-improvement.

Purchase at Amazon

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book Seasons of Empowerment for Adolescent Girls. What was your inspiration for it?

A: With this book, I want to inspire adolescent girls to get on the path of self-empowerment that will make the stronger and much more able to deal with the difficult years of adolescence.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I wrote the first draft of this book quickly. Then I went back and make some modifications. I didn’t have any bumps along the way at all, except I wanted to make sure that the book was written in a voice that was applicable to teens.

Seasons of AdolescentsQ: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: No, I never experience any anxiety. I guess I am a lucky writer.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: My writing schedule is quite heavy: I write for 5 hours most days, and I teach and research in between times. I guess you can call me a writer and teacher. I slot my family and work life outside of these times. I always have.

Q: How do you define success?

A: For me success is defined as doing what you truly love. If you love writing and you can write quite a bit, you are successful and lucky.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: I would talk to them directly about it, and then I would still schedule my writing time and write. Sometimes you just have to do what is most important for you, without the permission of your family, especially if they don’t understand you as a writer.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Despite the fact that I believe that writing is hard work, I have never believed that it is like a painful illness. That is too negative a connotation. However, writing does involve self-understanding and self-respect. And these can be hard to cultivate in a way that is open and honest.

Q: Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: Always pursue your dreams, otherwise you won’t like your life or yourself.

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edited picture of meIt’s my pleasure to have here today my Blogcritics colleague and talented award-winning author Nicole Weaver. Though primarily an author of children’s books, she’s just released a new nonfiction book titled, Not All Americans Are Racist. 

In Not All Americans Are Racist, Weaver recounts her experiences with racial discrimination and the non-racist white individuals who made it possible for her to attend and finish college. As an immigrant from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she is thankful for the opportunities America has offered her.

Connect with the author on the web:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

It’s great to have you here, Nicole. What compelled you to write this essay?

The killings of Trayvon Martin and the two other unarmed black males really bothered me. I started having flashbacks about my personal experiences. I have two black sons and felt a tremendous amount of compassion for the relatives of those black males that were killed.

Who is your target reader?

I wrote the essay for anyone who has been a victim of discrimination and especially for America’s youth. I am a high school foreign language teacher, and I have the joy of seeing firsthand how the young people of today could care less about the color of one’s skin. I believe the youth of today will carry us into a less racially prejudiced society.

What was the most challenging aspect about writing this essay?

It was difficult to relive all the racial situations I endured in years past.

On the other hand, what has been the best part about writing this essay?

Writing is very therapeutic for me.  I had these bad experiences buried deep inside of me, now they are on paper and I feel so much better.

Do you think some people will take your essay the wrong way? What would you say to these people?

american (4)Absolutely! You will always have people that are set in their ways.  Some may see me as a race baiter, and accuse me of adding fuel to the fire.  I would say to these individuals: these are my experiences and I have the right to share them.

Tell us a bit about your writing process?

All of my ideas for writing come from me living life.  Once I get inspired I first jot down the idea that comes to mind, and next I start writing until I have a completed manuscript.  Not All Americans Are Racist is my first nonfiction book. The words just flowed from my mind, and I was able to write all of it down until I was completely done. Aside from the emotional release, I found it much easier to write nonfiction. I did not have the burden of creating the perfect scene since these events occurred in real life.

Writing children’s trilingual books is a lot different.  It is more challenging because you have to have a certain word count and must find ways for the story to be engaging for the intended age group.

Amazon has made it very easy for writers to publish short books like this. What was the self-publishing process like?

Self-publishing can be a daunting task. The burden falls on the shoulders of the writer to get the manuscript professionally edited, find a graphic designer to create a book cover and someone to format the book for both print and Ebook versions. There are many scammers out there, and one must be very careful.  It is always a good idea to get recommendations from friends before trusting a total stranger to handle your manuscript.

You’re also a children’s author. What type of children’s books do you write?

I have written three trilingual children’s picture books.  I believe in exposing young children to a foreign language early on. Growing up speaking four languages inspired me to write my children’s books in English, French, and Spanish with all three texts on each page. The books are designed to encourage a parent to pick up three books in one   as opposed to buying three separate books.

Do you have more essays or short books like these coming in the near future?

Yes, I do.  I am currently working on two manuscripts. `

What do you hope readers will take from your book?

I hope readers will walk away thinking that the United States is the greatest country in the world, but it still has some racial issues that must be addressed. I also hope people who read my book will make a concerted effort to invest in today’s youth, as they are the ones who will change America for the better.

In what way are interracial marriages having an impact on racial issues?

Interracial marriage can’t on its own end racism, but having a more diverse social circle or a person of a different race in your immediate family can be an antidote to prejudice and stereotyping. I think the blending of more multiracial families is helping erode the notion of racial superiority distinctions that certain group of people tends to claim as their birthrights.  My husband is German, and as a mixed couple, we focus on our unique qualities as individuals, rather than on our ethnicity.  Lastly, I believe cross-racial connections are a powerful tool that is making a dent in the racial boundaries that have kept people separated.

How can young people help reshape the landscape of racism in America?

Millenials — those born from about the mid-1980s to the early 2000s — will be the generation that finally casts aside pernicious racism in the United States. They can, and they will because they have more sensible views on race and racism than the older generation. I have observed this trend in my high school classroom. It is fascinating to see how these young people treat each other with so much respect and dignity.  I think more and more families are opting to have their children attend a diverse school, and that is helping eradicate misconceptions about certain group of people.

Is there anything else you would like to say to readers?

I would like to invite the readers to check out my website at: www.nicoleweaverbooks.com
A portion of the proceeds from the sales of all my books goes to Mercy & Sharing an organization that helps abandoned Haitian children. Feel free to read an article I  wrote about a gala sponsored by  Mercy & Sharing.

Originally published in Blogcritics

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“I think nonfiction is easier to write,” says Nicole Weaver, author of Not All Americans Are Racist. “Listen to your  intuition, as this is where most good ideas come from. Be  sure you read a ton of books on the genre that interest  you.  Attend conferences. Join a professional writers club. I have written fiction for children, but to me it is much more difficult. You have to adhere to certain word count and make sure the manuscript is tailored to a specific age group. I think I will continue to write many more nonfiction books because the ideas keep coming to me, and I can’t ignore them!”

american (4)

“Writing is fun.  I have learned the best way to get better at writing is for you to read a ton of books, and to write every day.  As for ideas, I live life and the ideas come to me. I usually write the thoughts that come my way in the note section of my phone.  I know it is a good idea, if the words flow easily from my mind.  When I sit down to write a manuscript I can usually tell right away if  I have enough to actually write an entire book, for instance, when I started writing Not All Americans Are Racist, I was able to write 1,500 words in one hour. The thoughts kept coming and I continued to write until I was done. The same is true for my next book.  I have already written 10,000 words. I got the idea while driving to work and that night I sat down and wrote a couple chapters.”

About the book:

In Not All Americans Are Racist, Nicole Weaver recounts her experiences with racial discrimination and the non-racist white individuals who made it possible for her to attend and finish college. As an immigrant from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she is thankful for the opportunities America has offered her.

Find out more on Amazon.

nicole

About the author:

Nicole weaver is an award-winning author. Her first trilingual book Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle was published in 2009. Her love for languages and other cultures resulted in publishing the award-winning book, My Sister Is My Best Friend which was published in 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing and has won numerous awards.

My Brother Is My Best Friend, published by Guardian Angel Publishing, January 2014, earned the 2014 Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval, and the 2014 Children’s Literary Classics Gold Award. The book also earned a bronze medal in 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

Website Blog Facebook Twitter

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unnamed (3)Motivational and Inspiring.
Well if you’re wanting to become successful and looking for the way how, then I can’t think of anything better than this book.
Jerome “Jay” Isip is the author, and he gives the reader in this eye opening book, not only the tools to succeed in business and life, but also delivers a short sharp wakeup call to those who think that they might have already been trying.
I really loved this book because it is written from ‘real life’ experience, it doesn’t assume that the reader wants to spend hours at university or already has a degree. Neither does it suggest in any way the fact that it is necessary to have done both these things to get anywhere in life – how refreshing in this day and age! In his defence, I have to say, right here and now that the author does not criticize those who go down this path and acknowledges that for some professions these qualifications are necessary; however, this book looks at the opportunities there are for people who could not, or have not, either by choice or circumstance followed this path and yet still want to succeed.
In this very frank and straight talking book, the author uses his life, in many ways as an example of what not to do, and then shares with the readers how he managed to change the situations he found himself in, turning negatives into positives. A very important part of this book, is that he explains to the reader how to develop and use a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), and how with the use of positive affirmation it is possible to literally change your life. With a positive mental attitude nothing is impossible, and if you embrace the concept of positive affirmation you can feel invincible.
The really empowering thing about reading this book is, that he explains how your life and your ability to succeed is entirely in your hands, no-one else’s yours. All the way through you are given examples and encouraged to look inside yourself to succeed.
Written with a no holds barred and a brutally honest attitude, the author enables you to see that any hurdles in your way are yours of the making, and brushes away any excuses you may feel like giving.
If you want to succeed in a career and/or your personal life this book is ideal for self-motivation. Written from first-hand experience, this is the most inspirational book I have ever read. The author’s ability to inspire is amazing, and as soon as I started it I could feel myself becoming empowered by his words.
Reviewed by Susan Keefe
Available from Amazon.com.

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