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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

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  6,948 ratings  ·  364 reviews
“Explorers depend on the North Star when there are no other landmarks in sight. The same relationship exists between you and your right life, the ultimate realization of your potential for happiness. I believe that a knowledge of that perfect life sits inside you just as the North Star sits in its unaltering spot.”

Martha Beck has helped hundreds of clients find their own N
Paperback, 380 pages
Published January 29th 2002 by Harmony (first published 1997)
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Kimberly Calderon
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Araminta Matthews
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
I found some of the strategies of this book helpful. I was turned onto it by a search that spiraled out of an issue of Spirituality & Health magazine about using intuition to pilot your own internal compass (or north star). This book was not the one referenced, but I got it anyway. Generally, I find everythingeverythingeverything boils down to mindfulness and meditation...

Anyway, Beck has some good ideas, but she is woefully privileged and blissfully unaware of her privileged stance. She writes
Susan Howson
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would skip Chapters 1-4. The introduction is slow. The metaphor of finding your north star is obvious. It isn't necessary to go into an explanation about Stella Polaris and how sailors find their way home by locating the North Star. Also, some of the stories might turn off readers. The author talks about clients who have quit their soul-crushing jobs and are expressing their authentic selves and enjoying a richer, fuller life. Most people can't afford to hire a therapist to guide them and can' ...more
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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
May 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Zach Thomas
Jun 17, 2009 rated it liked it
This book pleasantly surprised me. It was recommended on, 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
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Gina Bardy
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
As a big fan of Martha Beck, I was considering completing her life coach training certification. This is the first book of recommended reading when preparing for the course. It's a good thing I read the book because I have now talked myself out of going forward with the (expensive) training. It took me almost a year to get through this book, if that is any indication of a review! I love Beck's short articles in Oprah magazine and appreciate her wit, intelligence, and clever, entertaining writing ...more
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Such a mixed bag. There is a lot of good info in here, mixed with some things about ESP and psychic abilities that don't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the book. I was annoyed by the author's privilege, assuming that everyone has a quiet, calm place where they can be alone for at least an hour a day to do these exercises.

So, if there was so much I didn't like, why three stars? The sections that start with the change cycle are valuable. Really, really good information with practical
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can't say that's I've found my North Star from reading this book but there was a LOT of useful and helpful information in there. The section on grieving is currently helping me through a hard time. The last section is the cycle of change and it breaks change down into four sections and then describes what is generally happening during each phase. I've never read something like that in the other books I've read. That part alone makes the whole book worth it. ...more
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
The looks so much like the kind of self-help book that you are going to hate yourself for reading. The kind you will hide away so that nobody sees you with it. And the title simply doesn't help with that impression.

Yeah, well, get over it. Read the book, do the exercises (as in actually do them, don't just 'sort of' do them), seriously, do the exercises!

You may well get annoyed with the book, and/or yourself, more than once whilst working you way through the book (I did). Yet overall, I did end
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Beck is one of those self help authors that isn't so ridiculous. This was a good book but I'm at the point with these self help people that I wonder how anyone takes them seriously. If you work for yourself and your job is to be a career coach, I don't think you have much in common with the people you are coaching. At least Beck seems to have held a real job for a while, which is more than I can say for most people doing what she does. ...more
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
well, i've finished reading this book but i feel like i'll never be finished using it. gonna have to buy a real copy (i read most things on an e-reader) so i can scribble all through the margins & underline & highlight & annotate...
this is one i think i will end up buying several copies of so i can give them to friends. (hear that, friends?) <3 martha--her books and articles have made my life better many times before. and this one i "happened" to pick up right when i needed it.
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Nancy Schober
May 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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 forc ...more
Kate McDowell
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 27, 2007 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Rachel Knaak
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author's funny and entertaining sense of humor keeps the reader amused as well as engaged. ...more
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A collection of essays, some very good. I enjoy her spunky voice.
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, i-own-this
Yes, five stars. I SO wish I had this book in my hands when it was new, and not the dozen or more years later. It really takes you through all the stages a normal (and even abnormal) human being must go through to deal with all the crap and the obstacles that they own, whether thrust upon them or embraced and adopted like neurotic little pets. Having been through many of the stages - prolonged, in my case, for many - and learning by rote, hearsay, and osmosis the wisdom/testimony cobbled from my ...more
Oisín Hoy
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Amazing. So insightful. If you're looking for some methods on how to design your life for yourself then this book is worth reading. Many exercises throughout and relatable examples brought the book home for me ...more
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book right after getting my acceptance letter into an MSW graduate program that involves 18 months of intensive study along with an internship, followed by 3200 hours of supervised work before even getting a license. (Oh, and I'm 62 and no longer need to work!) I picked the book up as part of a final quest to see if I actually, really, truly wanted to do it. I guess it's a tribute to either the book or my own insanity that I have in fact decided to do it, and moreover I fe ...more
Amy Vickers
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I saw that my library had three of Martha Beck's books something in my gut told me to reserve all three and then read them in order. Since that's an odd impulse, I decided I'd merely give it a try, instead of making it a hard goal.

I have no idea why I had this impulse in the first place, other than that I like what Martha Beck says on social media and that she's not only a life coach, but Oprah's life coach. And yes, I find this more impressive than her multiple degrees from Harvard.

Since t
missy jean
Nov 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I do think there's a lot of really good advice in this book, but I kept getting a weird vibe that maybe the author wouldn't like me (because she seems a little judgmental) and that made it hard for me to relax while I read. And also there were occasional trappings of prosperity gospel, which I pretty much despise. BUT, there is also good advice about quieting the self-sabotaging voices in your head and finding your tribe and living authentically. There are things that struck me as gems, like thi ...more
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
Jenny Wells
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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Dr. Martha Beck is a New York Times bestselling author, life coach, and speaker. She holds three Harvard degrees in social science, and Oprah Winfrey has called her “one of the smartest women I know.” Martha is a passionate and engaging teacher, known for her unique combination of science, humor, and spirituality. Her forthcoming book, The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self, is o ...more

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