Book Reviews
By Kathy DeSantis, CMP  and Maryel McKinley, PhD  



Modern Meditations to Free the Mind and Unleash the Spirit ? 
at Work, at Home, at Play
By Pragito Dove

"Lunchtime Enlightenment” offers the perfect antidote for our modern rushed lifestyles — meditation at any setting. That’s right, relaxation and peace of mind can be attained with practice while shopping, working out at the gym, walking or jogging, even while commuting and at work. I tried it myself. 

Feeling overwhelmed while my house was being painted, I decided to incorporate the meditation techniques while power pumping at the gym. After a little practice getting focused on breathing and repeating a simple chant I made up, I have to say I came out of it feeling more relaxed and renewed than I normally do after lifting weights for an hour. I am still waiting for the mental clarity that could come, but that may take some time and a lot more meditation. This is not an instant process and practice is the key to success. 

The author offers practical tips and simple everyday strategies to show how meditation can be accessible to anyone seeking more balance in their lives. After reading this book, I no longer believe meditation requires a certain sitting position and total silence in a bare room. Dove teaches that meditation, since it begins in the mind, can be practiced anywhere. 

She thoroughly explains how being aware of our mind and body and its signals of stress and tension can be reduced before stronger symptoms of discomfort appear. She provides five easy techniques that take all the mystery out of the practice and implementation of meditating. 

Published by the Viking Compass and the Penguin Group, this book is available at local bookstores. 
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis, CMP 


How to Build a Motivating Workplace 
By Roxanne Emmerich
It’s a new workplace game out there, and it should be. The old patriarchal business models aren’t working anymore and seem archaic in our fast paced world. Let’s face it — choirs sound better when everyone is singing off the same score. When people learn concepts at the same time and in a continuous way, the likelihood that they will apply those concepts increases significantly. If you lead an organization or a team this is a must read for anyone looking to bring value to their company. 

This is one in the “Breaking the Rules” series that savvy business-people have come to know and appreciate for its reasonable and humane approach to human behavior in the workplace. The book is short but mighty and covers critical business subjects in under an hour. The book discusses thirteen workplace myths and the reality of each. For example: Workplace Myth #13 “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” Reality: Employees learn best from example. Supporting quotes from well known sources are quoted in the book, lending even more wisdom to each reality. 

Emmerich clearly makes the point that as we move to the information age with more sophisticated employees, we need to rethink how we lead. She emphasizes that we need to create an enthusiasm in employees so they become passionately alive and thrive. We need to remove the cultural barriers that rob them of their soulfulness. Most importantly we must discover what they need to succeed and find ways to get it for them. 

Rethinking our work patterns and habit, creating a motivational environment and learning new skills will go a long way in making a difference in employee performance. We should feel good about the workplace. We are there a long time! This book approaches the idea that there is much that can be done to make it that kind of place. How? Go break some rules (but read the book first). 

Published by Banner Press, this book is available in local bookstores. 
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis, CMP 


A Quick and Easy Guide to Successful Business Relationships 
By Eric Maisel, Ph.D. 
This is a simple, short and powerful book about keeping up in the personal communication department at the workplace. Written by a licensed marriage and family therapist, Eric Maisel, who is also a well known consultant on creativity, he relates well with the reader by providing 20 tips, explanations and examples to demonstrate how important communication is. 

He is right. Our offices are busier, more chaotic and we can barely keep up with the e-mails and teleconferences connecting remote offices. Deals are closed in the space of minutes instead of months and a vast amount of information is at our fingertips. Yet many of the tasks we need to accomplish depend on communication with other people. 

These tips, designed to serve both employee and employer, include how to offer critical feedback, how to understand the messages we receive, how to sort out motivations, how to respond to criticism, how to praise, how to know if you’re being heard and how to keep people informed. 

My personal favorite tip in the book is Tip #20: “Always Speak in a Principled Way.” 

Become an excellent communicator. This means unlearning bad habits, letting go of rules against speaking that may have been imposed in your family, growing so self-aware that you know how personality affects what we say, learning new communication skills and taking the time to practice them. This requires real effort, but the rewards are tremendous. Not only will you transform yourself into a more effective and valued professional, but you will dramatically increase your self-confidence. Try out these twenty tips and see the difference they make — at work and in the rest of your life, too. 

Published by New World Library, this book is available in local bookstores. 
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis, CMP 


The Passion Play at Work: Building a Passion-Driven Organization 
By Richard Chang 
Wow! What a concept — to not only have passion for your job, but also have the entire company working with the vibration of passion! What a dream come true! This book shows you how to achieve just that! You may wonder how on earth someone came up with this formula! It’s too good to be true! 

Who is this brilliant author Richard Chang? He is CEO of Richard Chang and Associates Inc., which is a performance-improvement consulting, training, and publishing firm headquartered in Irvine, CA, and has taught this successful model to Fortune 500 companies such as: Toshiba, Marriot, Nabisco, Universal Studios, Citibank, and even McDonalds. 

You will learn why passion works in organizations as a timely source for change. You will learn to develop a model in which to implement this structure. You will learn to start from the heart and discover individual core passions that will set your work on fire in positive ways! 

Moreover, you will learn to clarify purpose, define actions, perform with passion, and spread the excitement, thus fulfilling the principles of passion in the workplace, creating a healthier and prosperous place to do business. 

This book will teach you how to move on to bigger and better things with less stress and more fun. Sounds like utopia in the workplace to me, and I certainly am going to practice these principles! 

Published by Jossey-Bass, this book is available at local bookstores. 
Reviewed by Maryel McKinley, PhD 


The Four Elements of Financial Alchemy
A new formula for personal prosperity 

By Jacques F. Vallee, Ph.D. 
Why Alchemy and finances? Well don’t you remember how the ancients used alchemical process to refine metal into gold? Seriously, on a modern and practical note, we deal with alchemical processes everyday of our lives, yet most of us do not practice it or recognize this lost ancient art as it has been tossed aside as myth. 

Even Feng Shui is based around the elements and practice of alchemy, so wake up everybody, this book could be the magical formula that brings you the wealth you desire! 

In today’s booming economy, inexperienced investors are wagering their IRA’s on IPO’s, hoping for a magical blend of stock options. 

Author Vallee insists that a basic knowledge of the four elements: fire, earth, water and air, and how they relate to different aspects of finance and prosperity planning, can and will take your portfolio over the top. This is a serious book that is written in a clear understandable way so the reader can get maximum mileage out of the wisdom of Vallee’s unique and comprehensive introduction into safe and reliable financial planning. Good luck and remember to follow the formulas in the book to achieve a balanced reliable financial future. 

Published by Ten Speed Press, this book is available at local bookstores. 
Reviewed by Maryel McKinley, PhD

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