Think small – The surprisingly simple way to reach big goals

Keep it simple.

One of the first lines in the book that clicked with me was that sometimes we are a mystery to ourselves and we should apply common sense. Well, for me personally, that is so true. I over complicate the simplest of tasks and cause myself a lot of hard work. As the book suggests, I need to make better decisions.

A quote I heard from someone long ago kept popping into my head while I was reading this book and it is this: “You should run your life like you would expect to run a successful business”. I don’t know where I heard it but I remember that the person who said it to me had a very organised and uncomplicated life.

The book has lots of easy to remember references to common sense ideas and suggestions, all simple to remember. One of these is building a structure – as the authors say, a builder would not randomly scramble together the structure of a building.

Another part I found funny was a saying I have often heard and even used myself: “Kids don’t come with manuals”. As the two authors rightly pointed, neither do we!

Life is about how we approach things. We need to be realistic, setting realistic goals and making an effort to commit to specific targets and deadlines. Create an action plan and eventually turn the plan into habits.

There are too many points that I will remember and use in this book but one that is memorable is that I need to try and get little things right and not focus on the big things, if I first get the little things correct then achieving the bigger ones will be easier.

The book is co-written by two authors and they mention that two of the benefits for them in co-writing the book were not being selfish and helping to work with others. They both thank those who helped them, including their wives amongst many other people. A section at the back of the book provides references to the sources of facts that appear in the book.

I enjoyed reading this book and am very pleased that I bought it. For me it is more a reference book that I will go back to from time to time. It is a motivational / self help book with lots of very good information for anyone who over complicates things.

niki
x

The authors of this book are Owain Service and Rory Gallagher

You can also see my review on Amazon.

Do nothing. The memoirs of Fx by Nikhil B. Lakhani and Frans Merkx

This book is insanely hectic. It was difficult for me to read in parts as there was plenty of racism, violence, swearing, injustice and generally difficult subject to read about. This is not the type of book I usually read but I do feel that it raised issues that I am interested in and to be honest I couldn’t put the book down.

When Zahid was a young boy growing up in Bradford he experienced a difficult and traumatic childhood. His mother was Dutch and his father was from Pakistan. My heart went out to little Zahid and his brothers and sisters. His mom worked 3 jobs and although she tried hard to look after them all, she couldn’t help but fail them. Sadly, their predicament came about after Zahid’s mother confronted the cheating, womanising father by taking a taxi to Scotland with the children and beating the dad with pots and pans. She got some of my respect for doing that! I can see the serious nature of this but the poor kids must have been so traumatised. The mother made sure the father left the family home after that and she struggled to bring them up herself. The father went on to be a complete inadequate father in every sense of the word and let his children down very badly. He was a violent man towards his children and I feel that him leaving the children penniless just added to the difficulties of their young lives. They were abandoned by all the people that should have cared for them. I found the part about his friend Caleb Black to be very touching and this in a weird way seemed to have been where he learnt to have love for own children and family. Caled Black’s family were a good influence on the young Zahid. His own father and later his brother Lateef regularly beat him.

As he grows up and moves to Holland with his mother and siblings, his life takes on a lot of paths that are less than ideal. He goes from being bullied to the bully and shows a strong aggressive and unpleasant personality, although deep down he seems to be a frightened and wounded small boy. When Zahid turned 18 he legally changed his name to Frans Zid Merkx. He is called up to do national service in the army and things go from bad to worse. He shows his dark controlling side by beating up a fellow soldier and from then all the other soldiers fear him and he takes their food vouchers and makes them earn them back.

He goes on to have 4 sons by different women and spends time in and out of prison. He even has a successful career as a pop star. His career takes him in and out of trouble. He has highs and lows and goes from being wealthy and travelling the world to being penniless in prison.

This is a wonderful book that although not the type of book I usually read, it is worth reading and very interesting to see how someone’s life can be so full of drama and highs and lows.

Throughout the whole book I always felt that he was a nice person who may have had a death wish and loved living life on the edge and that was the only way he knew how to survive. At times Frans Merkx was his own worst enemy.

He did know love and most certainly loved his 4 sons and Nadia. I am not sure he loved anyone else in his life (in my opionion) but did care for his family and even his father. When his father died when he was 20 he was brave and showed he was better than what his father was. He did the right thing and was not disrespectful to his dying father. I think that alone shows he is a good person. I also can understand how he felt detached from his dad but did the right thing by being respectful.

The book is called “Do Nothing” but he did plenty and has lived a very “full” life. Frans Zid Merkx has been treated unfairly for most of his life but he has also not had the best role models. He has an amazing amount of determination and drive to succeed. I can’t help wonder how his life would have turned out had he had a better start in life.

The racism he had to endure and the ill treatment of his family were unthinkable.

This is quite a difficult book to read in parts but it is also a thorough and well written book with a lot of detail. I am happy I read it.

niki x

You can also find my review on Amazon.

Book review – The things you see only when you slow down

My husband recommended this book to me after reading an article in the Guardian Newspaper about how successful and highly rated this book has been and he knows how much I enjoy books of this kind.

I bought the kindle version and also the narration addition. This is the first time I have tried out the narration option and it is wonderful. I can listen to this while meditating or just being calm and enjoying listening to it. I found it to be easy to understand, very insightful and calming.

I like the style of writing and the book is packed full of inspiration, wise words, common sense and described as Ancient Buddhist philosophy for the modern age. There are lots of shared insightful practised solutions. This is a great book to have handy for when you are having difficulty and wanting an answer to some common problems we all face. I think in this fast paced world we all need to slow down and sometimes life is just so fast and hectic we miss all the good things. The simple things in life can be easily overlooked and it is a shame.

I will dip in and out of this book as I love each and every page. It can be read as a book or you could easily select random parts of the book and focus on that part only.

Like other books that focus on spirituality and wellness, this book mentions the importance of having a good relationship with others as well as loving ourselves and being kind to ourselves as well as others. It is a truly special book and when the printed versions become available I will buy a copy for my daughter and son as this is one book that I feel they could benefit from and enjoy.

I would highly recommend this book.

niki
x

This is a review for
The things you see only when you slow down by Haemin Sunim

You can also find my review on Amazon.co.uk

A Course in Miracles Made Easy by Alan Cohen (ACIM) – review by Niki Turner

I am chuffed with this book. I have struggled with parts of the original thick books. I have the regular ACIM book as well as the teachers guide and the workbook neatly on the top of my bookshelf where they collect dust for most of the year until I have the urge to read a few pages and give up as I get so confused by the style of writing. I originally bought the ACIM book in 2002 and I have taking it with me from South Africa to Ireland and now England.

This book really is simple to follow and after reading it twice (I bought the kindle copy), I have now gone back to my other ACIM copies and it is starting to make more sense. Sometimes the simplicity of the book makes me wonder why I don’t always “grasp” the messages. I guess the more I dedicate time to reading and re-reading then it has begun to make more sense. The main message for me is “I am love”, that popped out at me and makes me feel sad that I never feel loving enough to myself. It seems so much easier to love everyone else. From reading this “made easy” book I also got the strong message about how fearful I am on any regular given day. I never thought I was a particularly fearful person but once I checked my thoughts throughout the day it became alarming just how many things I put off due to fear, even slight and tiny fear it is still fear. From reading this book I need to realise that fear is man made and has no room in my life. There is nothing to fear. I love the part in the book that explains when we come into this world we are without fear and when we realise that we need to return to that place with no fear, to get there we need to unlearn everything that we have been taught up until now. That sounds drastic but when I think about how much fear has been taught to me from a very young age by others, it is no wonder I find it difficult to shake fear off. I have become surrounded by media, people, situations and everything that instil fear in us.

One day at a time and I will continue to read this book and re-read the pages. It is a great book to sit in bed and read just before going to bed. It is quite therapeutic and relaxing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has struggled with the original ACIM book, this will definitely help to understand it better.

You can also see my review on Amazon.

The Aging Proposition: Take Care of Your Body and Mind and Live Youthfully After Age 50 (Book review)

I hadn’t actually intended to buy this kindle copy but it popped up as a suggested choice so I took that as a sign that this may be a relevant book for me to be reading. I am thrilled that I did as it is amazing. I am over 50 years old (52 and a half) and although this book is not only for anyone over the age of 50, it does relate to age and very relevant to me personally.

I love the style of the writing and the various quotes, sayings and references that the author has in the book. On one of the beginning pages of the book is a poem by Samual Ullman called youth, I had never heard this poem before and it is lovely. The chapters in the book are divided up into fear of ageing, biological age, chronological age and psychological age, a new kind of youthfulness, mind body and body mind connection, the importance of awareness, insight, intuition, introspection, and the benefits of solitude, food matters, weight loss and exercise after 50 and conclusion.

The author mentions that for him the two most important things are satisfaction and contentment. I can’t agree more. Also, the benefits of ageing are that we are lucky to have the skills we have gained in life and we also have lots of good habits we have picked up along the way. Worrying about our looks is a waste of time and trying to mask our wrinkles in an unnatural fashion will only be a waste of time. Looking after our physical body is not the only important part of ageing but our spiritual and mental health is as important. There are lots of mention about the benefits of ageing and how it differs to our parents generation and our grandparents generation. People are living much longer and expected to continue working longer than before. I like his reference to ageing as age-tastic. It sounds so much nicer.

When we were young children of 10 years old we thought 28 was old and when we were 30 we thought 50 was old. We now know that it is all about attitude and our outlook about age. It can be fun years or not, we need to look at things in a different way.

There is not much we can do about our early lifestyle choices but it is good to realise there is much we can do about our later years. The book mentions thinking about what we want for the next 30 to 40 years. I must confess I never think that far ahead ever. I tend to prefer living in the present moment or at least not thinking or focusing too far ahead but I do appreciate and understand the importance of that question. It is also important for me personally to realise that if I don’t make serious and important lifestyle choices soon, my health will suffer as I get older. This book is sure to make you reflect on your own life and it is a great read whether you are 30 or 70. It will still be relevant and thought provoking.

(book review by Niki Turner)

The Gentle Discipline Book: How to raise co-operative, polite and helpful children (book review)

Children watch us more than they listen to us

This is a very detailed and comprehensive book about understanding your child and disciplining them in a way that encourages teaching and learning and not punishing and rewarding. It is a far removed approach from how I was disciplined and even the way I disciplined my now grown up children. I particularly like the message that is on more than one page “work with a child – not against.

The author mentions the definition of discipline as found in the Oxford dictionary as being “The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour using punishment to correct disobedience. I am pleased to say that this book does not follow that example.

Some subjects discussed that stood out for me were the section on sleep and the graph showing the average sleep a child should have based on their age, within a 24 hour period, Sensory overload as well as the importance of a good diet.

I feel that the author’s practical style of explaining gentle discipline in a way that we can all understand and follow. It is about mutual respect for your child and your child having mutual respect for you and allows for the balance of power. An example she gave was with her own children and how through communicating correctly and being patient and empathetic to them, you can often negotiate and work out the best solution and a suitable outcome for both of you. This does in no way mean you are going to be a pushover or let them get away with things, it just means more tolerance and understanding, based on their emotional skills that are appropriate for their age and ability to understand.

There is a lot of reference to specialists such as Jean Piaget and the “Schemas” as well as Maslow (A child’s hierarchy-including diagram). Other examples include Schemas in child early development, ToM (Theory of mind), and the Vark model (the 4 styles of learning – Auditory, verbal, visual and kinesthetic).

I bought this book mainly to understand some of the more complex subjects and I am very pleased that this book included a section on the ones I wanted to understand in more detail, these include PDA, Asperger Syndrome, Adhd, ODD, and ASD.

This is an amazing book and I would strongly recommend it to any parent/grandparent, regardless of their child’s age or even if they have children themselves. It is a practical book for anyone interested in the subject of child discipline and this book covers everything that you could possibly want to know.

(book review
The Gentle Discipline Book: How to raise co-operative, polite and helpful children)

nikiturner

Book review – Luna Tree – The baby project – Maya Berger

When I was contacted by the author and offered a copy of the book for review purposes, I went and read up what I could find out about the book before accepting. I wanted to see if it was something I would enjoy reading. I was pleasantly surprised that although I initially thought it was about babies, healing and spirituality, I was very pleased to realise that this was only part of the book. I decided to buy the paper copy and it arrived the next day. I am impatient and although the author has now popped one in the mail for me, I was keen to read it straight away. I spend 4 hours over two days reading the book from cover to cover. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I am glad I read it the way I did. The text is a convenient size and the book is not too long so it was a great read.

I love the style that Maya writes in. It was easy to follow and entertaining. I could tell throughout she was a caring, serious person but also carefree, funny and most of all loved her life, even with the difficulties she faced, she had an inner strength and determination and most of all never gave up hope.

Like in most books you can read some things between the lines, I could tell that Luca was her rock, she speaks so openly about some issues that I found really refreshing and touching. Her issues with her family are similar to my own with my family and probably many other peoples issues as well. Her struggle with her illness must have been really hard to bear but also like many people we have other issues that are challenging, it is how we deal with them that is important. I found her previous relationships familiar too in my own personal life and had to smile at some of the decisions I have made too. Many of mine were not great either 🙂

I think with age we learn what is important and what isn’t. Her struggle having her baby was a very uplifting story and the length we go to when we really need to have something that is very important to us. In her case it was having a child, in my case it was getting sober in 2004. It is all relative and we all have similar struggles but they are just different things.

I laughed many times in the book and liked her honesty, warmth and truth about people and her own attitude towards things like her driving or towards her collegues and friends, it was both funny and a bit too close to my own behaviour that made me smile. Her very rare use of a bad word was funny because I may be wrong but I think I can only recall twice the use of a “swear word” hehe but both times they were used to emphasise something that was best used with those words.

What I got out of this book is that we are all in control of our own lives, we do rely on others to help us along the way but we also bear the scars of our past especially our early years growing up. We inherit all this baggage and it is unfair to dump it on the next generation. In Maya’s case she works hard to bring her little girl into this world and be the best mother she can be and Luca the best father he can be.

There is a lot of emphasis on energy healing and I found that very interesting as well as some of the places she visits on her quest for healing and holiday places she visited. I have made notes of some of the places and look forward to visiting them one day.

For anyone thinking of reading this book, I would say you will feel uplifted and be full of hope, especially if you are going through a difficult time with any issue, not just the issues mentioned in this book. I really enjoyed reading it and have now given this copy to my daughter to read.

Book review – A Sworn Virgin: Broken Promises: – Kristopher Dukes

Intriguing story from beginning to end

From the minute I started reading this book I was captivated and immediately found it intriguing and well written. The author is very descriptive and I could almost smell, taste and imagine being there. It is set in Albania in 1910 and the many references to life at that time kept me interested and curious. I read the first 114 pages in one sitting and then read the rest of the book in another afternoon. I really was hanging on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

When reviewing a book it is easy to give away too much information and spoil it for a potential reader so I will just briefly skirt over the contents of this book and how I felt about the story.

Initially I thought it was a bit of a Cinderella type story, with Diana being spoilt by her dad and her step mom (Mirlinda) being treated unfairly. I soon realised that Diana was going to have a difficult life with many struggles, but she seemed very tough and able to handle herself very quickly. I felt mixed emotions about Mirlinda. At times I felt sad for the life that Diana had and how her life sometimes took on a sad and unfair path but I could see that she could be unfair to Mirlinda and being spoilt by her father as a young girl this spilled over into some of her decisions that got her into trouble. Not all the things that went on in her life were her fault and the decisions she had to make were often more out of survival than choice. Through sets of circumstances she finds herself in, there is violence, hardship and betrayal, but also genuine love.

There are lots of reference to life during this period and it must have been a very difficult time for both men and women. A lot of emphasis is on women of the time and what was expected of them. This book was refreshing and great to see that a woman was the main character. There were many twists and turns in the book and right up until the last page I was wondering how it would end.

I highly recommend this book and found it very entertaining and could visualise the scenes in detail because the author described everything in such fine detail. A very well written and very enjoyable book.