Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Review: Jolt! by Phil Cooke

I have a guest blogger reviewing Jolt! by Phil Cooke.  This special guest is very near and dear to my heart–my very own husband, John!  :-)  

Jolt! of Change

I live by the philosophy that self-help is no help at all. Perhaps that’s why I came at Phil Cooke’s new book Jolt! with some healthy skepticism. The jacket copy blasts out self-help standards such as “new direction” and “maximize potential.” As much as I love Cooke’s blog and daily musings, you can see why my shields went up with Jolt! (I also confess a bias against exclamation points).

For the most part, however, the book isn’t really another manifesto for self-help mumbo-jumbo. Instead, Jolt! wants to—well—jolt you out of going with the flow so that you can stand up and surf the waves of change coming at you. “It’s about navigating the changes in the world that will result in a new perspective on living, a better understanding of the world around you, the ability to recognize new opportunities, and a stronger vision of the future” (p. xxv). In other words, Cooke wants you to lead yourself so that you can lead others.

To get you there, the book points to several areas of your life to examine and zap (direction, priorities, growth potential, heart/spiritual matters, future/goals). And each section gives you five ways to do just that. As with his blog, Cooke most shines when giving practical steps to get you examining what you value and how you can change your perspective. By the end of the first section, I had already made a list of things I needed to jolt. So, he got me working.

While the structure of the book works if you read bits here and there, my main concern is that the writing comes across as episodic and lacks cohesion. In other words, it’s more blog than book. Cooke himself confesses that he lacked focus when writing the early draft (p. 57). He says that he jolted his own focus and cranked it out, but the lack of focus still slips through. It’s best, then, to simply read a bit at a time as you would a blog rather than a book.
Bottom line: Cooke’s writing always does exactly what he sets out to do: teach, inspire, motivate, and push. Jolt! isn’t self-help—it’s self-evaluation with an added kick in the pants. Get it and go.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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