Nine years ago, Amy and her husband, Bill took over the extremely successful Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise from founders Jack Canfield and MarkNine years ago, Amy and her husband, Bill took over the extremely successful Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise from founders Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Amy, a successful Wall Street analyst, decided before taking on the huge responsibility of CSS that she would read the 10,000 plus stories from the books published from 1993 on. “That was my crash course in Chicken Soup for the Soul advice and wisdom, and it was life changing,” she writes in the introduction. “I had never seen anything like this before, so much selfless sharing by people who were willing to pass on their best tips and their life experiences so that others could tweak or even completely reboot their own lives.” It encouraged her to take CSS to the next level staying true to the legacy that Canfield and Hansen had left for her.
Her book Simply Happy is different from all other CSS books because there are not 101 contributors to this book. She is the sole author, but she shares the main pieces of advice and wisdom she has gleaned from all of the stories in the CSS books that have been published. It is a “Crash Course” of meaningful, easy-to-implement advice and strategies to allow the reader to become more positive and purposeful about life in general. Using excerpts from some of her favorite stories, as well as using her own life experiences, Amy has penned a feel-good book that is uplifting and practical. It is not necessarily a “self-help” book, although it does give some sound advice to follow, but it more so embraces the life stories of those writers who have contributed to the books over these many years.
I read the book in one sitting, something I rarely do unless completely enthralled by the content of a book. I found that much of what Amy said I could relate to in a timely way. She talks about the “Impostor Syndrome” in chapter three that hit me right between the eyes! I have always been my biggest critic and as she shares about her A-type personality, dealing personally with negative self-talk and the like, I felt the tears tumble acknowledging she could easily have been talking about me. She repeats throughout the book about “counting your blessings” and indeed I try to do that, but there are times I struggle with perfectionism and she addressed that neatly as she relates the story of a woman who decided to give thanks every time she used a possession, or saw a stain on her carpet, or ding on her furniture, remembering that it was the imperfections in life that made the most memories.
Much of her principles for happy living, although not stated implicitly, have a solid basis in Biblical teaching. Whether that was intended by her or not “Treat others as you would have others treat you” is a common theme in the book. Chapter 21 – It’s Not About You speaks to the fact that as my Pastor used to say: “Hurt people, hurt people.” Sometimes when people are nasty to you, it really has nothing to do with you, it’s just you happen to be available for them to vent to. Amy says to “not take it personally”, and “don’t get angry about it”. Jesus would say, “Turn the other cheek.” I am reminded of the scripture verse: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1). Amy also talks about forgiveness and the power of gratitude, important themes in the Bible.
I highly recommend reading this life-affirming book. It is filled with inspiring stories, quotes and anecdotes, and if you love the CSS books, you will certainly love reading Amy Newmark’s insights about what she has personally learned from reading and now contributing to the many books in this franchise. ...more
Success is Your Birthright is a compelling book that uses the biblical account of Joseph to take the reader on a spiritual journey to discover that “sSuccess is Your Birthright is a compelling book that uses the biblical account of Joseph to take the reader on a spiritual journey to discover that “success” should not be focused on monetary gain, or personal accolades but in having a relationship with God.
Although Tucker’s book is not necessarily unique in its overall message, I was drawn into the re-telling of the Joseph story and gained new insights and revelations about the account through Tucker’s book. Focusing on the emotional ups and downs that every person experiences, where we ride a roller coaster at times from days of want to days of plenty and asking the “whys” when life is not what we expected, this book celebrates everyday heroes who struggle, persevere, and thrive in the middle of hardship. Joseph’s story is a wonderful example of that.
Tucker also relates the personal story of one woman’s battle with breast cancer. It is a poignant account that I immediately related to as I had battled the disease myself in 2001 so I was able to empathize with her personal struggle and applaud her story.
A fast read, I recommend the book and think it would lend well to a Bible Study or small group study. ...more