Khamis, 20 Mac 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


Posted: 17 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

A self-help book from Rhonda Byrne, author of the The Secret.

FOR those who are ardent readers of self-help books, here is another offering you might not want to miss. Rhonda Byrne, author of the The Secret, has gifted us with another "life-changing" read.

Her latest book, Hero, will add to the wealth of knowledge of those who are connoisseurs of the power of the mind. To those who don't subscribe to this belief, I'd say treat this book as an entertaining read, for it is loaded with real life tales about real people who have scaled the ladder of success.

Bryne, of course, gained renown as the author of The Secret, the word-of-mouth bestseller released in 2006 that has now sold over 21 million copies in 46 languages. The central discussion in the first book is "the power of positive thinking" and it was a huge hit, as was the movie of the same title.

In her subsequent books, The Power (2010) and The Magic (2012), Byrne plays around with the concept of the "law of a ttraction"; this is a thread that runs through all her works, including her latest, Hero.

In Hero, Byrne takes us on a whirl: Imagine sitting on a magical flying carpet that takes you on a tour of the inside of you – where  you discover that the mind is a power house and thoughts are energy with the capacity to make every dream and desire of yours turn into reality.

A book's success depends on the bond it creates with its readers within the first few pages, and Byrne knows this trick all too well. At the onset, the compelling statement in Hero – "Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't" – sets the tone and scene for readers to take the book on both resourcefully and purposefully.

The Introduction gives a fair insight into what the book might do for readers, like a brand promise, if you like.

Several successful personalities are introduced with a short success story for each of them. Among them, American Liz Murray on how she overcame poverty and her state of homelessness and is now a Harvard scholar and a motivational speaker. Another story is that of Paul Orfalea who revolutionised photocopying and is the proud owner of the Kinko chain of stores in the US.

The book is divided into short chapters carrying sub-headings: The Dream, The Hero, The Quest and The Victory. The language is simple, yet the choice of words adds life to the book. The odd size of the book keeps the text on each page at a manageable level. What the writer wants to say is captured in short paragraphs with interjections and interludes comprising testimonials.

In "The Dream", Byrne talks about the greatness involved in following our dream and how each of us is unique, with the talents and ability to realise our dreams. The author hits the perfect cord when she establishes her theory, that it is the imperfections in our lives that allow us to dream. From there on Byrne unwaveringly drives home the message that "you are fully equipped with everything you need to make your dream come true".

The writer uses "dream" in place of "mission" and that, I feel, makes it more relevant and palatable to the ave rage reader.

Aptly, she also broaches the concept of time and discusses the importance of "now".

The part that discusses how "'Someday' is a disease that will take your dream to the grave with you" is loaded with insights, I thought. 

The Hero takes us through what being a Hero means, ie stop complaining, stop giving excuses, think positive, don't succumb to fear, have courage, and, with gratitude, the universe gives you more. None of this really new, of course, as it has all been discoursed on at length in her previous works.

"The Quest" chapter is essentially being resilient with all spanners you might see in your works. Not being able to see the path to your success should not be a deterrent, it is arriving at the ultimate that should be the focus. In this context, Laird Hamilton, who has become the world's greatest big-wave surfers after beating the odds, says "The journey itself will never be as you think ... you have an idea of the destination, but you never know the route".

Liz Murray echoes this with the importance of taking one step at a time.

And Hero's final part, "Victory", leaves you with a deep sens e of wanting to just get up and GO!


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