Post #99 – Women’s Memoirs, Book & Video Raves – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
by Tama Kieves
Book Reviewed by Lanie Tankard
The Road to Success
“The road to success is always under construction.”
Tama Kieves was well on her way down that road a decade ago when she took a construction detour and redefined success for herself.
A top Harvard Law graduate, she was headed to partnership at a big law firm when she realized she felt “miserable and empty” inside her “right designer suits.” So she jumped off the fast track. Instead, she carved out a new career path and chronicled that journey in her 2003 memoir, This Time I Dance!: Creating the Work You Love. Based on the triumph of her first book, Kieves became a thriving career coach and speaker featured on Oprah Radio.
Last year, Kieves’s second book, Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work!, zeroed in on a special form of memoir writing. Kieves offered advice drawn from her experience and combined it with memoir vignettes about her life. She interspersed tips for personal growth and success with cameo scenes from her own stories. A paperback version will be published on August 29, 2013.
A few months ago, Inspired & Unstoppable won national recognition with a 2013 Nautilus Book Award, one of three Silver winners in the category of Inner Prosperity/Right Livelihood. The Nautilus motto is “Better Books for a Better World.”
Kieves developed a voice that resonates with the reader. It’s easy to connect to her thinking in the book.
“You are meant to succeed in the work you love,” Kieves writes. By encouraging readers to find their passion and create work around it, she follows in the myth and religion tradition of Joseph Campbell’s philosophy: “Follow your bliss.” Kieves acknowledges drawing inspiration from Marianne Williamson, Seth Godin, Anne Lamott, Julia Cameron, Rumi, Hafiz, Pema Chödrön, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, among others.
What finally gave Kieves the courage to pursue her creative dreams? “I realized I feared regret even more than I feared failure.”
Writers of memoir will encounter a different approach to telling one’s life story in Inspired & Unstoppable, a model that could become another type of memoir—a subgenre. There’s valuable guidance within these pages.
If you’re doing something you love, Kieves points out, “you will gain more clarity and energy.” She tells her clients: “In times of economic uncertainty, true passion is your greatest job security.”
But how ya gonna find it?
Journal, walk, meditate, she says…”anything that helps you get in touch with your feelings.” There’s more—much more, once you’ve located your Inspired Power. Kieves arms you with practices, exercises, and a plan for starting your own “Inspired Success Circle.” By the time you finish reading this memoir self-help guide, you won’t be sitting around miserable, making flimsy excuses about why you’re not succeeding at what you really want to do.
“The collective is changing,” Kieves says, as society moves “from the Age of Information into the Age of Inspiration.” She includes a powerful and affecting list of dreams at the end of the book. If they all came true, if the world actually changed in the ways she outlines…well, she would have worked herself out of her job.
Truly, that goal appears to be her mission—to reach the point where “books like this one are unnecessary.”
So go! Figure out what you have that you can give to the world. Then DO IT.
About Lanie Tankard
Lanie Tankard is a freelance writer and editor in Austin, Texas. A member of the National Book Critics Circle and former production editor of Contemporary Psychology: A Journal of Reviews, she has also been an editorial writer for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.