4 out of 4 stars
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Create the Life You Want by Raymond Gerson is not your average self-help book. It is a guide that takes the reader’s hand and leads them through an evaluation of their own life. Through this inward journey of discovery, the reader can expect to glean a new understanding of their passions and the obstacles standing in their way. As Gerson, an experienced career- and life-counselor, puts it: “an outer search is more effective when combined with making changes from the inside out.” Create the Life You Want covers topics including the search for the perfect career, how to overcome fear, finding love, and the value of mentorship—and all of this starts from a place of introspection. Each chapter ends with a summary of the key takeaways, and a few questions to drive further meditation on the topics.
These end-of-chapter lists were my favorite part of the book. It signified to me that Gerson possessed a clear picture of the important parts of his writing and that he was not afraid to reiterate them to maximize the readers’ understanding. The questions were truly a springboard from which a whole separate conversation—an internal one between the reader and themselves—could take place. Create the Life You Want is not a long book, but it is packed full of valuable advice and tools to use beyond the pages of this text.
Another positive aspect of the book was the balance between personal anecdotes and professional advice. As mentioned previously, the book is not long, and so Gerson makes each story count. He also cites multiple studies that support his various claims, giving the whole text a well-rounded feel.
A section of the book I could do without was in one of the later chapters when Gerson was describing how our thoughts and words can affect our self-image. He cited a study that suggested ice crystal appearance could be altered by speaking “positive” or “negative” expressions during crystal formation, and insinuated that heavy metal and rap music are “negative” expressions that resulted in “grotesque crystals.” This study seemed unreliable and biased to me, and I was disappointed by the faith Gerson seemed to put behind it. The other studies Gerson cited seemed to fit into the text much more fluidly, making this particular one stand out as a negative point.
I would recommend this book to adults young and old. While it may seem on the surface like a text meant for younger people searching for a new job or just starting their career journey, there are plenty of lessons that remain applicable regardless of age. In fact, one of Gerson’s main messages is that it is never too late to find true love.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for the incredible density of valuable content. There were a couple of very minor spelling errors, but I did not find the message of the book to be affected. I will certainly be re-visiting this book in the future to help guide my own life choices. I will especially look over the end-of-chapter questions, which I found to be a truly clever way of personalizing the experience for each reader.
Create the Life You Want
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