In this simple but powerful guide, Carnine leads the reader through a process of transformation, opening a toolbox of skills and techniques that anyone can use to live more fully in the moment and be more kind to themselves and others. Carnine reassures us that everyone is capable of building a mindfully kind life — and making it stick.
Carnine excels at articulate frameworks and memorable terminology, such as the “Renew-and-Serve Cycle” and the “Three-Breath Method,” without falling into cuteness, oversimplification, or jargon. Each chapter is organized into small, digestible sections and includes definitions of concepts, exercises, and anecdotes from his and others’ personal experience. He brings in just enough of his personal history to make his presence palpable without centering himself, and he avoids the denigration of his past failings. The only things detracting from the professional appearance of the text are hand-drawn illustrations.
Throughout the text, Carnine includes short sections written by prisoners whom he mentors and corresponds with. They share how their lives have been improved by these practices despite their histories of deep abuse and extreme violence, proving the value of kindfulness in any circumstance or context. These stories also put a subtly masculine spin on the material, offering a path for readers stuck in a mindset of toxic masculinity. Carnine’s articulate and easy-to-follow approach, and the deep sincerity that comes through his and others’ personal stories, create a transformative guide for readers seeking to make changes in their lives and relationships.
Takeaway: This accessible guide to changing one’s life through “kindfulness” is an invaluable road map for readers whose lives have been affected by toxic mindsets.
Great for fans of Elisha Goldstein’s The Now Effect, Jamil Zaki’s The War for Kindness.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+