I’m back with more book reviews, and this time we’re diving into two non-fiction books with “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan and “Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World” by Max Lucado! I’ll review “The Gratitude Diaries” first, and then “Anxious for Nothing.”
“The Gratitude Diaries:”
“On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade Editor-in-Chief Janice Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the bright side of whatever happens. She realizes that how she feels over the next months will have less to do with the events that occur than her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers, she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have.
Relying on both amusing personal experiences and extensive research, Kaplan explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including marriage and friendship, money and ambition, and health and fitness. She learns how appreciating your spouse changes the neurons of your brain and why saying thanks helps CEOs succeed. Through extensive interviews with experts and lively conversations with real people including celebrities like Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, and Jerry Seinfeld, Kaplan discovers the role of gratitude in everything from our sense of fulfillment to our children’s happiness.
With warmth, humor, and appealing insight, Janice’s journey will empower readers to think positively and start living their own best year ever.”
When I read the whole book, I couldn’t help but wonder how the heck the author got into contact with so many people to interview for every single chapter of the book. There was at least one interview with someone per chapter, and it’s not like they were necessarily with random people we never heard of. We hear from celebrities, doctors, and other experts, and I have to give kudos to the author for putting the effort and research into putting together the book overall.
Despite all the research and interviews, the whole book was quite easy to understand and follow. It was broken up into clear categories, and though some categories or ideas might be familiar, other ideas are quite inventive. Yes, they all center around the theme of gratitude and how you view your own situation, and sometimes it may feel a bit forced in the book and a little repetitive, but it was still worth a read.
Overall, 4 out of 5 stars!
“Anxious for Nothing:”
“Anxious for Nothing invites readers to delve into Philippians 4:6-7. After all, it is the most highlighted passage of any book on the planet, according to Amazon:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In the characteristic tone of his previous books like You’ll Get Through This and Fearless, Max guides readers through this Scripture passage and explains the key concepts of celebration, asking for help, leaving our concerns, and meditating.
Stop letting anxiety rule the day. Join Max on the journey to true freedom and experience more joy, clarity, physical renewal, and contentment by the power of the Holy Spirit. Anxiety comes with life. But it doesn’t have to dominate your life.”
The full summary is super-long, and so I only posted the second half of the summary here. If you want to read the whole summary, just go to goodreads.
Going back to actually reviewing the book, I thought it was easy to read and understand, which is good. Clearly there is a Christian focus, given how the author is writing for a Christian audience, but I don’t think you necessarily need to be Christian to read it. Aside from the many-quoted Bible scriptures and some Biblical stories, a lot of what the author addresses can still be applied to your life regardless of what religious background you may or may not have.
Do the Biblical scriptures and quotes get a bit much at times? I admit yes to this. Granted, as mentioned earlier, this is addressed to a presumably Christian audience and that has to be kept in mind when reading this book. I do think that the book itself does have some good insight into what it is that makes us anxious, and what we can do to not let it rule our lives all the time, however. Also, unlike “The Gratitude Diaries,” this one is a little less focused on the theme of focusing on just gratitude to feel less anxious about things and gives other ideas, such as asking for help and meditating on the good things than just dwelling on everything that makes us anxious.
Overall, 4 out of 5 stars as well!