Suzanne Falter-Barns,
Living Your Joy:
A Practical Guide to Happiness

(Ballantine, 2003)

Suzanne Falter-Barns seems to have thought of everything in this self-help book for those who wish they could change their way of living! Everyone has a dream, and so few of us actually change our lives in order to achieve it -- be a writer, a singer, a coach, a jeweller, a restaurant owner....

Suzanne did change her life, and she tells us how she did it and how we can reach out and work for the joy in our lives instead of the same old grey grind. She is, naturally, a very positive writer, but there are sections on how to deal with your feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and vulnerability, as well as the problems of a boss or life-partner being less than understanding or sympathetic to your dream. This is, as she titles it, a practical guide to happiness, and her approach, while upbeat, is not airy-fairy. It is your dream, not hers, but she is trying to show you it is possible to reach that goal.

She even covers the becalmed period you may encounter when nothing seems to be happening and you feel like giving up. She has advice for every eventuality, probably because she has experienced many of them herself, and she is neither patronising nor falsely enthusiastic.

Her multiple-choice questionnaires for certain points in your dream search and her "things to do when..." sections are very down-to-earth and helpful. As a non-American reader, I found some of the ideas challenging, like Virtual Assistants and "Life Coaches," and although she gives Internet URLs for her references, most, if not all, are U.S.-based.

Overall, the book is an interesting and motivating read. If you have a dream, if you sit at work -- or out of work -- wishing you could be someone else or be doing something more fulfilling, then take the first step and read this book....

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 12 June 2004

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