Category Archives: Self-help

Review: Rising Above a Toxic Workplace by Gary D. Chapman, Paul E. White, and Harold Myra

20702170Rising Above a Toxic Workplace
Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment
By: Gary D. Chapman, Paul E. White, and Harold Myra
Publisher: Northfield Publishing
Release Date: Sept. 1, 2014
Genre: Self-Help

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Many employees experience the reality of bulling bosses, poisonous people, and soul-crushing cultures on a daily basis. Rising Above a Toxic Workplace tells authentic stories from today’s workers who share how they cope, change-or quit. Candidly they open up about what they learned, what they wish they had done, and how to gain resilience. Insightfully illustrating from these accounts, authors Gary Chapman, Paul White, and Harold Myra blend their combined experiences in ministry and business to deliver hope and practical guidance to those who find themselves in an unhealthy work environment. Includes a Survival Guide and Toolkit full of strategies and realistic insights.

1thoughtsThis was an interesting book. I’ve never read a self-help book before and honestly didn’t know what to expect. However, the title and synopsis really interested me. My job had multiple departments and my department works closely with another who’s become a bit toxic. The other department experienced all new management being brought on and since then no one had been happy. I thought this would be a great book to read to help get some insight in the whole thing.

The book focuses a lot on peoples stories of their toxic workplace. Each chapter focuses on a different type of boss. Some are just plain mean because they have the powers, others can’t handle the pressure of their new responsibilities, while others have no idea that they are neglecting their employees. The stories were entertaining to read, and a few times they reflected the management that I dealt with from the other department.

However, I never really felt any closure with this book. It was all pretty basic and simple. Deal with it because you can’t change them, set boundaries and don’t allow them to take advantage of you, don’t take it personally, and talk with your fellow co-workers who feel the same as you. Maybe it’s my inexperience with self-help books but I just didn’t come away with anything. I did however find that some of the other stories highlighted in this book made me feel like it’s not as bad as it could be.

I liked that there was a small portion of this book that dealt with the good workplace. You see, even though the other department had it’s issues, I loved my bosses. They were encouraging, always quick to bring in cake for an employees birthday, and were always thanking the employees for a long day of hard work. I always felt appreciated at the end of the day and always left work with a smile on my face.

In the end, this was an enjoyable read, even if I don’t feel “helped”. Again, that could be because I’m not a self-help reader and just didn’t fully understand it. However, it was comforting to know that there are other toxic workplaces and others that are a bit more toxic.

1favequote“What’s the one thing that most affects how much people enjoy their jobs? First and foremost, people thrive when they feel appreciated by their supervisors and colleagues — and that means they sense appreciation is heartfelt and authentic.”


Review: Treasures on Your Doorstep by Julia Lynam

17969427Treasures On Your Doorstep: The Other National Parks of the USA
By: Julia Lynam
Publisher: Seventh Circle Enterprises
Published: May 16, 2013
Genre: Guide Book

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Looking for a grand day out? Or an inexpensive nearby destination for your next weekend jaunt? Your search is ended! In every State in the Union you’ll find often-overlooked National Park properties – over 400 of them – waiting to delight you. This beautifully illustrated little book will open your eyes to the Treasures On Your Doorstep and give you an insider’s-eye view of what they can offer you and your family.


1thoughtsWhen you think of National Parks, your first thoughts are Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite but there are over 400 units (parks, monuments, historic sites, etc.) that are overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Julia really opens your eyes to the fact that with so many places out there, there’s a good chance that we have a unit in our backyard and may not even know it.

I will be honest, I am not a non-fiction reader. I like to read to escape life. So when I was asked to review the book I was a little nervous on whether or not I’d enjoy it. However, by the 3rd page, all my fears were gone. Julia really does have a way to not only give information but she does it in a way that’s entertaining with little quips mixed in.

This book is perfect for a guide into the National Parks Service. She gives the reader all the tools they will need for not only a successful trip to the national parks but a safe one as well. She links to websites that will come in handy when doing research prior to your vacation. She offers guidance on what to do if you are lost in a park. She even offers some preventative advice on how not to get lost in the first place. She also gives one good piece of advice

“Tell someone who cares where you’re going and what time you expect to return”

Not only did I get a good chuckle out of the “tell someone who cares” bit but it’s sound advice. It’s advice that I give to visitors all the time. (Yes I work at a National Park)

Maybe I’m being biased here but I love that not only did Joshua Tree National Park get a page in the book but the National Parks Association (who I work for) got TWO pages! It was really cool seeing the places that I work for mentioned in the book.

There were subjects in this book that Julia touched base with that I was unfamiliar with. She covers everything from planning a trip, doing research, finding bargains with entry prices and merchandise prices, how to become a webranger (v.s. the Junior Ranger program which is an activity booklet that kids do while in the park), she even touches base with how to apply for a job in the NPS as well as volunteering.

Even if you are not planning on visiting a National Park in the near future I still highly recommend this book. It not only gives you great insight to the “treasures on your doorstep” but you never know, you could find yourself checking out one of the sites listed in the book and planning a vacation before you know it.


1favequoteJulia talks about the codes for the units. For instance anything we do at work pertaining to Joshua Tree NP is shortened to “JOTR”

“This system has some charming anomalies. Carlsbad Caverns, for instance, would be CACA, which is a rude work in Spanish, so they use CAVE instead – neat, eh?”


Review: Being Happy by Tal Ben-Shahar

Being Happy: You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Lead a Richer, Happier Life

By: Tal Ben-Shahar
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Published: Sept. 23, 2010
Genre: Self-help

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A brilliant guide to living a happier life (even if it’s not so perfect)

Bestselling author Tal Ben-Shahar has done it again. In “Being Happy” (originally published in hardcover as “The Pursuit of Perfect,” 978-0-07160882-4), he gives you not only you the theory but also the tools to help you learn how to accept life as it actually is instead of what you think it should be. By using the science of positive psychology along with acceptance, Ben-Shahar shows you how to escape the rat race and begin living a life of serenity, happiness, and fulfillment.

With the same technique that made “Happier” such a great success, “Being Happy” shows you how to let go of unrealistic expectations and truly accept your emotions for a more serene life.

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