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Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,601 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Martha Beck's remarkable success in helping people to change their lives has won her accolades everywhere from National Public Radio to USA TODAY. She made multiple appearances on Oprah and Good Morning America for the hardcover edition of Steering by Starlight, which now offers readers a powerful set of new tools—fresh coping strategies based on cutting-edge research in p ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Rodale Books (first published March 18th 2008)
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,601 ratings  ·  138 reviews


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John Stepper
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I have to warn you," said the woman who recommended this person to me. "It's a little woo-woo."

I should not have liked this book. It's mystical and tries to be funny and there aren't nearly enough footnotes and ... I loved it.

The ideas, the stories, the writing style. Excellent. In addition to being a joy to read, the book changed how I think which is perhaps the highest praise I can give.
Chris Blocker
Sep 19, 2011 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: Hoolie
I'm not much for “self-help.” It's not my passion; because of this, I rarely buy into it. If the girl on the cover really knows what it takes to be a millionaire, why isn't she one? And if that guy is truly happy, why does he hide behind the face of an action figure? Wait, that isn't plastic, that is his face!!! All kidding aside, it's just not my thing. Enter Martha Beck.

Martha Beck has come with high recommendations for years. Her angle, paraphrased: “You probably aren't doing what you want to
...more
Deanna
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: repeatable
Probably my favorite Martha Beck, who is always on my re-read cycle
Carolyn Hill
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Martha Beck. Besides being an enviably wise woman, she's very funny. If I could hire a life coach, I'd want her. Though some of the material in this book is not really new, she presents it in her own fresh way. Like many, she advocates visualization meditations and she is indebted to the work of Byron Katie and others, but her explanations and illustrations with her own clients, as well as her own life, and her humorous and unique perspective make the examination of one's psyche less daun ...more
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Martha's voice snagged me as I skimmed through an Oprah magazine in a waiting room several months ago. Her humor, intellect and sensible approach to life permeate her writing. I was hooked.

I borrowed this title from my library system and worked through the journaling with a large dollop of skepticism. But again and again her matter of fact, simple (not easy) methods for moving toward my "north star" made sense. Her passing observation about the "empty elevator" rang so true it brought me up sho
...more
Sharon
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
The premise is good, but she lost me. Towards the middle I wanted to be done with the book, then towards the end it is all about her. So, I still don't know what to do with my life!
Nerissa Nields
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is, up to now, my favorite of Martha's books. She trained me as a life coach, and I think she is brilliant and hilarious. I have read almost all of her books. I am reading her latest, Wild New World, right now, and I like it even better than this one. Full of practical wisdom and steps to take to master your thoughts and change your life.
Sharon
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Wow.

Just ... wow.

This is by far one of the most helpful coaching books I have read. Sociologist Martha Beck, with her characteristic good humor, provides more insight and advice on how to get to your life purpose. She clearly explains the importance of the work, and how to recognize when you're on the right path.

I laughed, I cried, I recognized myself in the pages. Suffice it to say that I found this book so profound that I wrote a thank-you note to Dr. Beck when I finished it. I will be using
...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
I like her quick wit, her being real, her charming sense of humor, her nuggets of wisdom. Frankly she has done for me much more than any of the books, theological books I might add, that I am planning on getting rid of soon. I love reading her and I can read her again and again with great relish and enjoyment. I can relate a lot to her in many ways.
Victoria
Nov 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on my conmute and I liked it a lot. It has a very structured approach to working through your ego and connecting to your Higher Self in a very workable format (at least for my brain). The metaphor of the Stargazer is very symbolic and helps to keep the focus on the Higher Self... The second chapter on the Reptilian Brain brought a lot of light into my primal fears...

It is definitely a book to "work through", not a book to just read... the information without the exercises
...more
KC Anton
I skimmed this one as a comparison for my own work interest. She is coach of more then a decade. She works from a very "scientific method" mode; if the five senses are not involved neither is she.

Starting here she moves into talking about things like "abundance,""manifestation,""intuition" with out using any of these words. So it is informative and wordy at times due to not wanting to use any spiritual key words to thus sound more business-like.

Her methods and techniques are very good for open
...more
Ileana
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best self-help books I have ever read. Martha Beck is such an amazing writer and life coach. She does not disappoint with this gem. Lots of practical advice on how to steer your life by starlight.

"If you move toward freedom by saying and doing what is most honest for you, the result may be a beautiful, magnificent life of petting the dog, waiting tables, getting your teeth cleaned. This can be mind-bogglingly wonderful. "ordinariness," which our culture tends to see as disappointing,
...more
Fee
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like Martha Beck's articles a lot because they combine personal notes with practical advice. This book does the same. However, the advice was a little too far out there for my taste. The first few chapters are great, but in chapter five readers are supposed to analyze their dreams. (not the daytimes ones) Then there is a chapter with Beck's version of 'the secret' and a later chapter describes the miracles readers can expect. I am sure all of this will be very inspirational for some, but not f ...more
JayeL
Apr 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
I wasn't able to finish this book. I think it is an interesting book, but I have too much self help on my hands right now and can't focus on the exercises the way I would like to. I am not a self help book reading kind of person, so in some ways I can't believe I even attempted to read it. I think that there are some excellent exercises. They seem to be easy, but when I tried them, they were harder than I thought.
Patricia Post
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an inspiring and truly helpful book full of insight, humour and new skills to help anyone navigate their way in this challenging journey of living every day. It broadened my awareness and made me look at things in a new way, or rather in a way I'd always known about but hadn't trusted enough.
Katherine
I got a lot out of Steering by Starlight. It made me feel that my inner impulses are important, that I have them for a reason, and that the way to reach my potential is to follow my intuition instead of what others say I should do (or what those negative voices in my head say I should do). A very supportive book for those who are trying to move forward in their lives.
Alyssa Haverfield
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the author can often get carried away with her metaphors to the point of distraction, underneath are some really great messages! She is also relatable and doesn't take herself so seriously, which helps with this sort of book.
Delindap7
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on tape. It was really wonderful to hear Martha Beck read the book herself. She is so smart in communicating how to make such important changes and to do such important work. I will purchase the book for my own library.
Susan Faith
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book changed my life. I come back to it again and again. I use the concept of shackles on/shackles off daily.
Betsy
An invaluable companion to Finding Your Own North Star.
Kristen
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know that tingle of inspiration that warms you from the inside out when you read something AMAZING? Get ready to feel it throughout this entire book.
Mandy
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-knowledge
I have enjoyed this book enough that I renewed it at the library twice and am planning to buy my own copy. Martha has clear exercises and examples to help give you direction, and also advises on how to tune into your gut in order to help determine whether an activity or job is "shackles on" or "shackles off" for you. By working through these things and tuning into yourself better, you'll be able to slowly chart a path to greater personal freedom.
Magdelanye
This is a self-help book that will really get the reader into their own orbit.
Smart, funny and engaging, MNB is never patronizing or self-inflated.
Simple, but not simplistic, and easily comprehensible even for a reader like me, unfamiliar with her work. Having enjoyed this book, I am now eager to read the earlier volume as well as her two memoirs.
Brigitte Staples
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are content in your work and relationships you don’t need this book. If you feel a need to push through with your shackles rising and a heavy heart, or feel ‘hopelessly stuck’ or lost, Steering by Starlight holds the keys to setting yourself on the right path again, and staying on it.

From the outset, Martha Beck (Expecting Adam, Leaving the Saints) warns this will be no ordinary process of seeking knowledge, setting goals, and analysing performance. You will need to suspend disbelief, alt
...more
Cal
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help, nonfiction
SUCH A GOOD BOOK. I can't recommend it enough. If I had picked up this book a couple years ago, I would have been incredibly skeptical of the whole notion of extreme coincidence... but last year I was subjected to a week of increasingly unlikely coincidences for which there was no real explanation, but the repercussions of that week follow me very closely to the present moment. It was the first time in my life that I ever felt like there was at least a 20% chance that I was dreaming despite the ...more
LAURIE FIELDMAN
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Beck writes clearly and with a hilarious, sassy tone.

She certainly has credibility (3 Harvard degrees). I love how she lets the reader in to the Harvard viewpoint (unofficial motto: 'If you're not smart, just kill yourself.') How she courageously shifted perspective for what she was supposed to be doing with her Harvard degrees; very aware of how she was being perceived as a self-help writer by her Harvard colleagues: in their estimation, '...about six rungs lower...than a pole dancer.'

I en
...more
Joan
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offers a toolbox of various techniques for looking at the world and more specifically at your own corner of it and how you want to move forward. I've had her other book about the North Star on my shelf for a while and have never got past the first chapter, perhaps only the intro, which is about Dante and some tough patches in his life. However, this book was a CD and I was on a road trip, so I persevered. The format precluded the homework/exercises part of the book, although I did stop ...more
Carolyn
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
I listened to this audio book, read by Martha herself, as I did my morning walk through the park. Near the middle I also checked the actual book out of the library so I could access some of the exercises easier (trying to find the audio track on the iPod was a chore).

I've just finished and I found it very inspiring and well-written (and well-read). I've done most of the exercises, or am still completing some - nothing ground-shaking has happened yet but I can believe it will, and that is a good
...more
Shalla
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i read this book years ago and is the first that comes to mind when someone i care about is suffering

the concepts inside are easy to grasp and relate to without being complexly written or over the heads of the normal reader

as with any self help style of book you have to figure out what works for you and to try to avoid rejecting an idea simply because you hurt when reading something...

sometimes the pain is not suffering but validation that someone understands you

give it a read and see how it mov
...more
Daemonzeiro
For some reason...this was the only thing I could read on the stair master. I couldn't read a good book, i couldn't read a bad book, I had to, and could only, read this. And I read the whole thing. Pretty sure it's the only self-help book I've ever read. Maybe I can only read self-help books while helping my self physically? If you have this same problem with being incapable of reading self help books I strongly suggest using a stair master.
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I grew up wanting to be an ecologist or a professor. However, after bearing three children while acquiring three Harvard degrees, I decided I’d rather just lie down for a few decades. During that time I became an author and life coach. My books include Expecting Adam, Leaving the Saints, Finding Your Own North Star, The Joy Diet, Steering By Starlight, Finding Your Way in Wild New World, and The M ...more
“The poet Mary Oliver did this in one of her poems, brazenly asking, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” If you’re afraid you’ve come to this question too late, you are wrong. Ask your Stargazer self. It will tell you what my fallen-noble friend Marianna told me in one of my darker hours: that the world is re-created in every instant of time, and this moment is always your life’s beginning. No matter how many years have been stolen from you by your own ignorance, by cruel fate, or by the acts of others, you have a clean, broad slate before you. In this instant—this one now—you can begin steering by starlight, and if you do, the rest of creation will conspire to guide, teach, and help you.” 3 likes
“if two people agree on everything, one of them is superfluous.” 1 likes
More quotes…