Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live
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Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  2,573 ratings  ·  192 reviews
In the tradition of "Life Strategies" and "Take Time for Your Life, " this remarkable program offers a fresh start down the path to a rewarding, joy-filled life for anyone who's ever taken a wrong turn.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 29th 2002 by Harmony (first published 1997)
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Kimberly Calderon
Aug 06, 2007 Kimberly Calderon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ANYONE!
This book is amazing!

I started reading this book because I couldn't figure out why I wasn't happier in my life. This book offers simple exercises and steps to figure out your best direction. There's nothing earth shattering in here, but the way Martha Beck has written the book makes the information very easy to digest and use.

A few months after I first read this book I was hospitalized with a life-threatening condition and that, combined with the soul searching I'd done in connection with read...more
Jessica
I have this book 2 stars because I started out liking it, and I did make it 240 pages in. It was after the chapter on trusting your intuition that I stopped- I'm all for learning to trust my gut, but a bunch of how-tos on how to get in touch with my psychic side evidentially wasn't what I was in the mood for.

I really want to find my passion in life. But I don't think I'm going to search and search and then realize "oh, duh, I've been woodworking all along- THAT'S my passion that I should turn in...more
Susan Howson
Aug 10, 2013 Susan Howson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the world
Shelves: improvement
Thaaat's right! Five stars, jokers! I read this thing so dang slowly but it's because every page made me have so many THOUGHTS and also a few FEELINGS (but mostly THOUGHTS).

Important points:

1. This book will be most useful to you if you feel a little lost, unsatisfied, or discontented. If you're banging along, being awesome and joyful all the time, that is great. Write a book and I will read it or possibly throw it at you. But you should read this one anyway, because it will be useful when you a...more
Jen
This book is inspiring, funny, and overall has been wonderful for me. Great for those that are somewhat restless or unhappy with their current path and wondering about their life's direction.
Bonnie
This is actually a lecture on CD. I enjoyed listening to it, but I think I need to listen again to get the full benefit. She likens change in our lives to the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Rather than gradually growing wings and changing shape while in the cocoon, the caterpillar actually dissolves into "bug soup" before reforming into a butterfly. I have felt like that during major transitions in my life, completely dissolved, neither a caterpillar nor a butterfly, neither h...more
Nancy Schober
I bought this book a few years ago and scanned it at the time. For some reason I knew then wasn't the right time. Someone mentioned it so I picked it up again.[return][return]Here are some of my favorite passages:[return][return]...when you relax the thinking mind, the rule-bound, anxiety-ridden social self, you are not simply stopping everything. Taoists believe that there is an immense benevolent force flowing through all reality, and that each of us� at least our essences� are part of that fo...more
Zach A.
This book pleasantly surprised me. It was recommended on http://www.escapefromcubiclenation.com, one of the blogs I like, but I was afraid it was going to be formless and non-specific. To the contrary, Ms. Beck is highly pragmatic and the book is focused on concrete steps you can take to make real changes in your life and try to ensure they are the right changes for you.

Also, Martha blew me away with her intelligence and wit on every page.

I have to deduct one star because I get the feeling that...more
Patty
I was right in my decision to purchase this title. I knew if I used the library's copy, I would not do the exercises. And with this book there is no point in reading it without using the tests. The point of this is to work through the ideas for yourself.

Several years ago, I read Beck's book Expecting Adam. I found Beck to be a fascinating woman - too type A for me, but really articulate.

This book is very different from her memoir, but Beck's personality shines through this book. She is very posi...more
Kate McDowell
So much of my work, as a teacher, is helping people to locate that drive inside of them that will lead them to their dreams. Sometimes people know for sure they want to work with children, and other times it's a more mysterious process of exploration. I'm glad to recommend this book for those times when there's a sense that more is possible but uncertainty about what, exactly, that possibility might mean. This is also a good book to revisit for those youth services librarians who have been worki...more
Diane

Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck has also been on my book shelf for a few years now. An insightful book with some thought-provoking exercises, designed to help you to explore your inner thoughts for true happiness. The goal of this book seems to be to help the reader to recognize their internal desires, and to leave behind boredom and discontent, heal old emotional wounds and to gain a whole new appreciation and zest for life, i.e.: "Finding Your Own North Star, and Leading the Life...more
Roxann
Fantastic book. Read it maybe back in '03. I was quite lost and a bit paralyzed emotionally. Shook me out of the rut I was in and got me breathing and living again. She has lots of great client examples/stories, exercises, and questionnaires. But what I enjoyed most - what kept me reading and opening up - was her warmth and wit. She's so dead on. It feels like she knows you.
Brian
Pretty insightful self-diagnosis book, full of useful if not slightly basic exercises designed to get one thinking about personal hang-ups (for lack of a more precise term). It's all about what's holding you back, or more accurately, why you're holding yourself back. I'd give it 4 stars, but I had a hard time focusing on myself for 400+ pages, so I graded it 3 stars.
Stefanie
If Mary Roach or Sara Vowel wrote self-help it would read like this. Funny, furiously fast read filled with anecdotes both personal and professional. The main thesis: our inner voice is often in conflict with our socialized public voice. Learn to recognize each voice and not live in a war against your personal ethic.
Lea
I enjoyed the first half of this book better than the last half. You have to be ready to think and work through some exercises during the last half. One tip from the book: when you are working on something that is your passion, it won't feel like work. "Doing without doing" is a phrase that stock out for me from the book.
Kat
This book saved my life. I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that. I was deep in the grip of depression when my onii-san, David, let me borrow his copy of "Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live" by Martha Beck. I was in pain, confused, and trying desperately to claw my way out of a hole I had only recently realized I was in. I needed to make sense of what was happening to me, why I was so unhappy, and what to do about it. Listening to other people doesn’t he...more
Karen
I love Martha Beck so much! If you've ever wondered if you can make your life more fulfilling or wish you could embark on your dream project, Martha can inspire you to be your best. Full of writing exercises to give you concrete ideas and answers, this book is a must for anyone who wants more from their life.
Nedra
I probably would have given this 4 stars if Martha hadn't been brilliant enough to write her next self-help book, Steering By Starlight. Finding Your North Star is good. Steering By Starlight is brilliant. Just go straight to that one. Sorry Martha, you know I love you.
Marisa
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much of a self-help person... but i saw Martha Beck on Oprah and decided to read her book. This book gave me the courage to quit my awful job. Martha Beck also writes in a really relatable, funny way.
Judith
I am starting to learn more about my essential self (it's slowly coming out from my social self!)

This is a GREAT book! I really like her approach in discovering yourself. You have two selves: the essential self (who you really are inside) and the social self (who society expect you to be). As we grow older our social self becomes so dominant, that we need to do a lot of "surgery" to find our essential self.
I liked the last third of the book, where she discusses the change cycle. Change follows...more
Helynne
I really like self-help books in general, and I have gleaned at least a small amount of wisdom and useful advice from every one I have read. I think Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life Your were Meant to Live merits all five stars I am giving it because of its straightforward, honest, and usable advice and its sheer readability. I always enjoy Martha Beck—her books and her monthly column in O magazine. Beck is wise, funny and has a no-holds-barred writing style that rea...more
Hope
I'm not finished with "Finding Your Own North Star" yet, but I hadn't intended to even start on it before I finished some other reading, anyway! Picking it up, I skimmed a little and found myself completely engrossed. I've read some of Beck's O and Oprah.com columns and found them interesting, but this book is far better than I'd imagined it would be. If you're interested in this subject, go get yourself a copy. Really!

For one thing, Beck is specific and practical about life changes--these aren...more
April
The title made me worry the book was going to be a little silly, but it turned out to be pretty useful.

This was the first book I've read on the subject of personal development that gave sufficient attention to the stage of floundering while discovering yourself. The author encourages you to do whatever you desire ("just keep doing what feels most joyful")--spend all day watching Mary Tyler Moore, go get candy, etc, and eventually you'll find your way. She also says it's ok if during the transiti...more
Zinta
Martha Beck - life coach and monthly columnist for "O: Oprah Magazine" - adores turtles. The turtle, after all, embodies much to be admired: a hard shell on the outside, to protect itself from the bumps and bruises of manuevering through life; a very soft and vulnerable inside beneath the resistant carapace; lacking in speed but has a plodding persistence that wins over the hare every time; and, while protecting its head when at rest, is required to stick its neck out in order to move forward. T...more
Cath Duncan
Martha has to be one of my favorite authors. She's witty and has incredible depth, and the exercises in this book will really shift your thinking!

I particularly loved:
- Her model of the Essential Self and the Social Self, and how we can manage those parts of ourselves and get them working together, to create the life we want
- Her ideas on how to use your body and emotions to tap into your true self/ essential self.
- Her model of the psychological phases we go through when we're going though chan...more
Noreen
I'm so glad I finally read this book! It's been sitting on my shelf for several years. I was already familiar with the concepts of the essential self versus social self, as well as using your body compass because of my work with my life coach. I also had a rough knowledge of the cycle of change, but I found Martha's detailed explanations and suggested exercises for dealing with each phase of change extremely helpful -- and comforting -- and I plan on going back to certain ones to do them. Even t...more
Jason
For better or worse, my life has gotten to a place where I'm reading books like this.

This book seems more useful for people like the author, whose lives bounce them from catalytic crisis to catalytic crisis. Less obviously useful for an aimless slow-burner like me.

The book also leaves repeated bitter and sour tastes with its emphasis on getting rich (via a bootstrappy Reaganomic approach no less), blind faith in chain-letters and ESP, complete lack of non-anecdotal sources/substantiation, and...more
Kris
**Update** I will have this book at hand always. It is like my bible right now. Although I have finished it, I am not going back and re-reading sections as my journey continues. I have a feeling that I will be using this book with/for other people in some capacity for a long time. Whether I become a life coach, or remain in the field of HR, or even just as a friend...this book will be on the tip of my tongue when people talk to me about their lives.

I'm about 1/2 way through this book, and altho...more
Sharon
Sociologist and life coach Martha Beck, PhD, presents some fascinating information on finding out your life purpose.

Beck's premise is that our "social self," the face we present to the world, that does the things Everybody (some generalized other) tells us to do in order to succeed, takes us too far away from our "essential self," the one that knows what things really make us shine from within.

Recognizing that self-improvement is hard work, and can bring up some painful issues, Beck talks about...more
Sharon
out of your own way when you are feeling stuck. I know in my heart none of us are stuck unless we choose to be. This book helps you to take the step to move beyond stuck into a more fulfilling,deeply satisfying life. Have read this book and given copies to many people. This is an excellent book to help you to get
Jenny Wells
While not for everyone, especially my friends with more religious sensibilities (I didn't make it to the psychic chapter), I still found the book confirming, practical, and helpful in discerning the color within the outlines of circumstances, relationships, and themes all our lives hold. I found the chapter about defining who "everyone" is and what "everyone" thinks about me as in, "Everyone expects me to be more strict with my kids," especially helpful in defining where I am being driven by fea...more
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Martha Beck is a writer and "life coach" who specializes in helping people design satisfying and meaningful life experiences. She holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies and master's and Ph.D. degrees in sociology, all from Harvard University.

She worked as a research associate at Harvard Business School, studying career paths and life-course changes in today's economic and social environme...more
More about Martha N. Beck...
Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith Steering by Starlight: Find Your Right Life, No Matter What! The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want

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“fear is the raw material from which courage is manufactured.” 1 likes
“The urge to find the real facts is destructive only to people or systems (friendships, family dynamics, political dynasties) that are based on lies. The truth can scare you half to death, but it’s never as destructive as deception.” 0 likes
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