Bergers Book Reviews

Level Up Your Life

Level Up Your Life
Author: Steve Kamb
Publisher: Rodale Books
Genre: Self-improvement / Fitness
ISBN: 978-1-62336-540-0
Pages: 288
Price: $19.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Life is meant to be an adventure, but far too many people simply sit on the sidelines and watch. But what if we could be the hero in our own story? Steve Kamb shows us how we can tackle challenges like a video game and learn to level up our own lives.

Although Kamb is the founder of Nerd Fitness, Level Up Your Life is only partially concerned with fitness. Mostly, it encourages us to step outside the box we’re living in, and be willing to try the new and exciting things we’ve only allowed ourselves to dream about. Travel, learning a new language, making a career change, and other fun and intimidating adventures are presented in a fresh way, with the focus on taking small steps until we master the challenge. In video games, we face small battles until we’re good enough to take on bigger foes, and life can be handled much the same way.

Without foes to thwart us, we quickly lose interest in video games. And without challenge in life, our day to day existence becomes humdrum. Level Up Your Life shows us how to bring back the sparkle and enthusiasm for living. I highly recommend this unique and fun self-improvement book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 16, 2016 Posted by | fitness, self improvement | Leave a comment

Wake Up, Man Up, Step Up

Wake Up Man Up Step Up
Author: Ray Arata
Publisher: Highpoint Executive Publishing
Genre: Men / Self-improvement
ISBN: 978-0-9839432-6-6
Pages: 260
Price: $21.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Ray Arata’s wake-up call came when he was suddenly faced with a huge change at work and the end of his marriage. Although his circumstances had become unstable, he knew he needed to make adjustments to how he handled things, if he wanted to be happy. Wake Up, Man Up, Step Up shares some of the processes he went through to turn his life around.

Once a man has had his wake-up call, he will need to take action. In this book, Arata provides a roadmap of steps to success: create support for yourself, speak your truth, declare your want, identify blocks, break through old ways of being, embody responsibility, and integrate and manifest. These steps are explored with examples, explanations and journal entry questions, designed to help the reader get more in touch with himself and his underlying beliefs. Follow-up chapters help men focus on specific areas such as being a good parent, friend or spouse.

Wake Up, Man Up, Step Up is not a book men can simply read to absorb and understand the concepts presented. This is an interactive workbook, and the exercises won’t be effective without putting in the time and energy to get to the root of problems. But if you’re willing to make the commitment, this program will lead you to be the best man you can be.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 3, 2014 Posted by | men, self improvement | Leave a comment

Little Black Sheep

Little Black Sheep
Author:  Ashley Cleveland
Publisher: David C. Cook
Genre: Christian / Addiction
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0529-7
Pages: 200
Price: $17.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Ashley Cleveland’s early years were traumatic due to her parents’ drinking and divorce. A cross-country move and her mother’s remarriage added to her struggles, and she soon developed an addiction to food. But once she discovered alcohol and drugs, her life took a radical turn for the worse.

Music was Cleveland’s saving grace, and her talents were noticed and appreciated in the churches she attended. However, her interest in salvation was inconsistent, at best. But, God was invested in saving his “little black sheep,” and she finally found recovery and hope.

Little Black Sheep is the absorbing autobiography of Ashley Cleveland’s life and recovery. No matter what we’ve experienced in our own lives, we will relate to aspects of her struggles – with home and family growing up, a traumatic move, and maybe even promiscuity and addictions like she faced. It’s inspiring to see how Cleveland continued to fight through the relapses and finally find a sure-footed recovery. But, I would have liked to see more of how she finally found her way through the darkness to the light on the other side, as a guide to those who are still trying to get there. This would be a great read for anyone in recovery.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Christian, self improvement | Leave a comment

Design Your Own Destiny

Design Your Own Destiny
Author: Mary A. Molloy
Publisher: TRB Press
Genre: Self-help
ISBN: 978-0-9853796-7-4
Pages: 192
Price: $21.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

If you’ve decided it’s time to make your life better, you may find you need some guidance along the way. Do you know what you really want? And do you know how to get there? Mary A. Molloy has worked with numerous people, including homeless women, to get them all back on track, working toward the life of their dreams.

The first place to start is a life balance chart. What parts of your life – intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual – are you happy with? Next, it’s time to draw your dreams. The physical act of drawing releases energy that helps you reach those dreams. Once you think you know where you want to go, use the life choices assessment tool to evaluate the best options. And finally, you’ll need to create a life choice map as a step-by-step plan to get there. Quotes from the best self-help masters are included in each section as encouragement and motivation.

Molloy has had years of experience in coaching people to reach their dreams and this book grew out of her desire to help even more people. But several of the exercises in this book are printed in a repetitive way, with similar information repeated over many pages. This repetitiveness caused me to skim quite a bit. Overall, Design Your Own Destiny is a nice guide to making changes in your life, but it didn’t present any new ideas not covered already in other, similar books.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 8, 2013 Posted by | self improvement | Leave a comment

Beyond the Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Beyond the Power of Your Subconscious Mind
Author: C. James Jensen
Publisher: Waterside Publications
Genre: Self-improvement
ISBN: 978-1-937503-94-9
Pages: 216
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The subconscious mind is very powerful, if it is accessed properly. But not all of us intuitively know how to do this. To help us in working with our subconscious, in 1963 Dr. Joseph Murphy wrote a book called The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. C. James Jensen credits this classic book with changing his life, and he wanted to update and expand it in this new version.

The first sections approach the subconscious mind from a psychological perspective. But if you’re not in that field, you may have trouble following along at times. Explanations of how the mind works can be a bit confusing. But once you reach the latter sections, topics like affirmations, health, happiness and emotional mastery are a bit easier to grasp. Explanations of each are included, along with several practical examples of how to use these principles in your own life.

Many books have been written about using our minds to change our lives. This one shares quite a bit of the same material, but without a lot of the enthusiasm and hype. It also touches less on the spiritual dimension of this process. But if you’re looking for a no-nonsense, intellectual approach, Beyond the Power of Your Subconscious Mind is the right book for you.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 26, 2013 Posted by | self improvement | Leave a comment

Your Superpowers Vol. 1: Dream It, Achieve It

Your Superpowers
Author: Steve Gardner
Genre: Teen / Self improvement
ISBN: 978-0-9839332-0-5
Pages: 106
Price: $12.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Life just isn’t going the way you planned, but you don’t know how to change it. Maybe you don’t know about your superpowers! Yes, you do have superpowers, and Steve Gardner shows you what they are and how to access them, in this book.

You are greater than you realize, and you can attract good things into your life. But how, you ask? By following this five step process. There is a logical technique to attracting your best life to you, and if you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way.

Adults have followed the Law of Attraction for a long time, but it may surprise teens to know this law can also be applied to their lives. And once these principles are established, they can easily be used forever. One of the things I really like about this book is the author’s encouragement to establish contact with Heavenly Father. Without divine assistance, the Law of Attraction doesn’t work, so it’s great to see Gardner’s insistence on prayer and gratitude. Overall, this is a nice, concise guide in easy to understand language, on how to live a wonderful life.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 24, 2013 Posted by | self improvement, teen | Leave a comment

Change the World Before Bedtime

Change the World Before Bedtime
By:  Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers, and Karen Good
Publisher: Schiffer Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4238-7
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Schiffer Books
Buy it at Amazon

Small acts can’t really make a difference – can they? They sure do! In fact, kids can even change the world through random acts of kindness and social responsibility.

Eating wholesome and nutritious foods start the day off right. Cleaning a park, cheering up a sick friend, visiting the elderly and housebound, and raising money for the less fortunate are just some of the actions encouraged by this book. With colorful and fun illustrations, these ideas generate excitement and enthusiasm for doing good deeds just for the sheer joy.

Kids have tremendous power to make positive changes in the world. And learning these skills early in life will guarantee they will be practiced well into adulthood, for the betterment of all. I highly recommend Change the World Before Bedtime.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 12, 2013 Posted by | children, self improvement | Leave a comment

Free Your Voice

Free Your Voice
Author: Sylvia Nakkach with Valerie Carpenter
Publisher: Sounds True
Genre: Spirituality / Self-help / Music
ISBN: 978-1-60407-800-8
Pages: 280
Price: $18.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Yoga of the Voice is a unique path used to open ourselves to life through singing. Not through the usual tunes we recognize as songs, but rather through primary sounds and breath. Free Your Voice describes the practice Sylvia Nakkach has created for her clients.

A download accompaniment is available at the Sounds True website, which should be used with this book. As each exercise is explained, the reader is provided examples of the sounds and tones. Nakkach encourages us to develop our own practice, creating an uninterrupted, twenty-one minute program from these.

Voice exercises sound like something only professional singers would perform, but Nakkach reassures us that these are also for the rest of us – even those who claim they can’t sing. Like traditional yoga, Yoga of the Voice will create a discipline that opens us further to life’s experiences.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 18, 2013 Posted by | music, self improvement, spirituality | Leave a comment

The Skinny on Direct Sales

The Skinny on Direct Sales
Author: Jim Randel
Publisher: Rand Media
Genre: Self-improvement / Business
ISBN: 978-0-9824390-9-8
Pages: 126
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Have you ever considered a career in direct sales? Many people sign up for a sales program without giving any thought about what is involved. They simply expect to go out and start selling. But without adequate preparation, they are doomed to fail.

Jim Randel knows quite a bit about the important steps you will need to take, and he has put together a simple guide to your first 100 days. This no-nonsense book shows how Beth, a stick-figure character, goes into direct sales. Through her experiences and Randel’s commentary, this comic-book style guide leads you through the setup process of your new business.

When early sales aren’t as good as anticipated, many people give up. But with The Skinny on Direct Sales, anyone can be successful in direct sales. I highly recommend this helpful guide.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 10, 2013 Posted by | business, self improvement | Leave a comment

How to Forgive: A Practical Guide

How to Forgive
Author: Lynda Bevan
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
Genre: Self-help
ISBN: 978-1-61599-030-6
Pages: 110
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Do you have trouble forgiving others? Does your relationship need help in working through some difficult issues? If so, you may want to explore how to forgive. Lynda Bevan has offered her thoughts on improving relationships through the process of forgiveness.

As part of her 10-step series, Bevan focuses on the steps required in healing and restoring relationships hurting due to lack of forgiveness. In these steps, she provides many ideas on what to forgive, how to forgive, and how to change yourself in the hopes of improving communication and harmony between two people, usually a couple.

There is a lot of really good information in How to Forgive. Bevan has obviously studied this subject extensively and knows it well. Unfortunately, this self-help book reads more like a dissertation with a lot of lists and no examples of real-life scenarios to develop the concepts presented. The nuggets of wisdom are lost. If read in very small bite-size chunks, with strong attention to the details presented, I’m sure the reader would gain a lot of knowledge. But if read cover to cover quickly, most of these suggestions will simply fade away with nothing to anchor them.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 4, 2013 Posted by | relationships, self improvement | Leave a comment