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.
Idea: A book about nurturing kindness and positive habits in oneself is a welcome change. The text is focused on how to heal within and without, and how to prioritize developing healthy, rich relationships with others.
Prose/Style: The writing is clear and concise, without too many flourishes but not sparse either. The book is generally pleasant to read, the text flows well, and ideas are organized and easily comprehensible.
Originality: Many books in this genre are focused on concrete changes one can make in their material life, or measurable achievements. This one is about introspection and working on one’s life from the inside out, thereby making it feel more original.
Character Development/Execution: Short passages tell the stories of individuals touched by the principles in the book, and each is characterized well and fleshed out even in short appearances.
Blurb: While creating enduring relationships and seeking happiness and fulfillment can seem daunting, this book breaks down the ways one can nurture positive relationships in life and prioritize kindness and mindful action.
Date Submitted: November 18, 2020
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+