Book review: An author's guidelines to self-realisation
Glenville Ashby Reviewer
Title: New Beginnings
Author: E. Lloyd Smith
Printers: Infotech Trainers and Consultants Ltd, Ja
Reviewer: Dr Glenville Ashby
E. Lloyd Smith's New Beginnings joins the slew of self-help books that has flooded the market over the last decade. We can safely surmise that hopelessness, disappointment, and failure are besetting the lives of countless people. That there is an existential crisis rife in our society is hardly debatable. What is difficult to determine is the extent to which these literary responses have made a substantive difference. How is Smith's book different from others of this genre? Has this author introduced new concepts and pragmatic guidelines to follow? Will Beginnings be smothered by books that are backed by relentless marketing drives? Smith's work may lack a marketing juggernaut in tow, but if his counsel is unique, it will resound, nevertheless.
That said, it will be unfortunate if a large cross section of people in various climes cannot access it. But is New Beginnings deserving of special accolades? No doubt, Smith is a deliberate thinker, albeit his pace is hurried, at times, resulting in anecdotes that should be more detailed, lucid, and deftly expressed. Chalk this one up on choppy editing. However, let us not construe that his work lacks depth and relevance. Smith more than compensates for every hitch.
He is incisive, opting to cut to the chase as he outlines, methodically, and with the help of graphs, charts, and quotes, the various ways that we can improve our lives. Smith understands our flaws and the barriers that prohibit us from realising our true potential. New Beginnings is big on philosophy and ontology with a healthy dose of pragmatism thrown in for good measure.
He understandably launches with a chapter on hope and follows through with several aspects of self-realisation that include acceptance and communication. He cites fear, anger, and resentment as examples of mental poisoning and self-destruction. He asks us to avoid denial and refrain from masking our deficiencies. Unfortunately, he sparingly mentions atonement and its catharsis-like function, a point that would have given Beginnings the proverbial 'shot in the arm.'
Throughout, though, Williams is assured, delivering the written word with Solomonic passion. Hope, he notes, is the gateway, the sentinel that we must understand and embrace when we begin our transformational journey. He pens, "Living with hope ignites a fire within us ... . Hope oftentimes leads to change and it presents a psychological platform on which to build." Smith delivers some telling, evocative pronouncements. "Life is never static," he posits, "although it may seem so in your corner. Your situation will never remain the same forever, only if you let it."
Also, he also contrives catchy acronyms, such as PPC or Positive Personal Change; AIM or Application, Initiative Mettle: and PMA, which denotes Positive Mental Attitude.
Smith gives value and credence to the adept use of communication and the art of listening. "When you communicate, remember you can motivate or demotivate people as words, tone, and body language can say a lot ... . When you communicate, you can console, lift people higher, and influence them to accomplish work-related, personal or other goals," he writes.
New Beginnings concludes with the admonition that we are the custodians of our bodies. Our health and lifestyle, he emphasises, are integral to forging a rejuvenated and more spirited individual.
Smith aptly states in the epilogue, "The content is meant to stimulate your mind, present solutions, and point readers into directions that can transform your views, how you think and deal with difficult situations."
Smith's work is unabashed, bold, and reassuring. Moreover, it is comprehensive, offering structured and easy-to-follow guidelines. Smith is determined not to leave any of us on the wayside. It is this exhaustive appeal that rescues New Beginnings from the ever-churning release of self-help books that, by now, appear tired and all too clichéd.