2 out of 4 stars
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I suppose I am at a drifting stage in my life, so I thought that From Drift to Shift by Jody B. Miller might be helpful and give my life a jump-start or give me some ideas for my own heavy lifting. Instead of recipes for making lemonade when life is coming up lemons, it seemed more like I was being given directions for harvesting radishes.
I was excited about opening the book, but it was rather tedious to go through a lengthy book recommendation and a slew of quick quotations about the value and beauty of the book. On my Kindle, this filler material clocked in at numerous pages of promotional content. That is a lot of swiping to tell a reader that a book is worth reading. Why not let the reader just see the content and decide without pressure?
The book is built on a bulky outline with four main sections and multiple chapters. There's an appendix, notes, resources, and samples from the author's blog. One blog entry advises to cut complainers off completely. It's not clear how complaining is defined or why someone loses all value for voicing complaints.
Miller notes that shifts happen constantly, or I think that was her point. There are "signs." Readers should notice and respond to the signs. For example, if you are thinking you want a Mini Cooper car and begin seeing lots of Mini Cooper cars, then that's a sign. Likewise, if you begin to see tons of pregnant women, that might be your sign. In my head I kept seeing Jeff Foxworthy saying, "Here's your sign." When it comes to serious life decisions, I would rather take a more organized and systematic approach.
I do believe the author thinks she has selected a range of life stories that are relatable. It does, however, seem that almost all her anecdotes involve wealthy people, and most of them shift from making huge amounts of money to being comfortably well-off in the self-help industry. I suppose Miller enjoys boot camp experiences, since she went on one before she left for college and then appears to have continued to participate in similar experiences. There is a market for self-help seminars and retreats, but we certainly need a range of types of people with various skills and not just life consultants.
One of Miller's excursions was to the Amazon rain-forest. She stayed only a few days but seemed to greatly enjoy her experiences. I'm not really sold on her understanding of the people of the jungle with the minimal exposure. It's hard to figure out how she deemed the aboriginals as being happy and content. My son lived for two years in a rain-forest village that did not host tourists, and he noticed the full range of personalities and human emotions within his adopted family group as in his natural habitat. It is popular to glorify dissimilar cultures, but it is harder to truly respect those cultures. Miller was told she would not need her hair dryer. She brought it anyway and knocked out the generator and the power for everyone. Power was likely only provided for outsiders if the village was even remotely like the one where my son lived. I fail to understand why Miller disregarded advice she was given by those with direct knowledge.
Some of the stories used as support points were touching, although I did not always make the connections. It was exciting when a woman was able to adopt an international baby, but I'm not sure that I bought that her seeing doves confirmed the value of her life decision. It was great that the young athlete who broke his back was able to shift over to art. Given his health situation, I'm not sure that finding him a girlfriend was the critical goal that the author suggested.
There were times when I questioned the way the author worded things. I'm not even sure what a "normal school" might be. I think, perhaps, she might want to use the term traditional school. I'd also suggest not referencing a portion of a female's reproductive system as a "vital lady part."
I really wanted to enjoy this book and to get some good ideas for moving forward. The mixture of Christian and deity-oriented teachings along with random meditation, yoga, and journaling felt like making cake without a recipe. There were "takeaways" at the end of sections, but I only saw the connections with a few of them. Almost all the one-liners would make good bumper stickers but were not as helpful in really making a shift instead of a drift.
This book rates a two out of four stars. There were some interesting stories and ideas included, but the book did not hold together very well. It seemed disconnected and lacking in real substance.
From Drift to SHIFT
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