Choose Yourself! is a how-to manual about surviving the current economic collapse by stepping out of societally-established bounds and choosing your own passion and your own good over working for someone else.
The author’s experiences as an entrepreneur, fund manager, and chess master, among other things, are called into service as he explains exactly what behaviors he credits for his successes (among them being willing to fail, a lot). He points out all the ways in which the modern economy fails to satisfy most human beings’ needs, but offers opportunities for moving beyond conventional ways of looking at making a living to help the reader think about how to actually make a life, doing what they really want to do and making good money at it.
Some of the advice is quite useful, and at least, most of it will do the reader no harm. The primary focus is on getting your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual “bodies” in order, taking care of your health in all four dimensions, and on choosing to serve your own needs before the needs of others (like bosses and corporations) who seek to use you for their own purposes.
The author’s tone is enthusiastic and cheerful, even when he’s talking about collapsing economies and lives, or even his own suicidal moments, which can be disconcerting but is at least encouraging. He offers concrete suggestions for getting started, small steps which, he argues, can move a person forward in surprising ways. Some of the suggestions are internal – changing one’s mindset to focus on the present, to think of oneself as a superhero with great gifts to offer humanity, and to accept failure as a necessary step on the path to success, even a teaching tool. Some are more external – suggestions for ways to come up with good (and marketable) ideas, starting (and selling) a business, and interacting with customers and potential customers, among others.
The book has a tendency to spend a great deal of time in personal anecdote, which is useful for establishing the author’s experience and understanding of his topic, but can occasionally get tiresome. The author’s tone is sometimes a bit too lively, and the book can be somewhat overwhelming with its “the world is collapsing around us, but that’s a Good Thing!” cheeriness. His style can be raunchy at times, which is fine by me, but may put some people off. Some of the advice, too, (like a passing recommendation for un-schooling, which makes me, as a mother, quiver in terror) is not to my personal taste, but someone else might find it more appealing.
At very least, however, this is a book that will knock you out of old patterns of thought and get your creative juices flowing a bit, while simultaneously nudging you to take better care of yourself. It’s worth a read, if you’re feeling stuck and helpless in today’s economy.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader