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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I found that this book totally spoke to me and I learnt a great deal from reading it. It took concepts that I have already experienced and added to them in a really valuable way. I found Martha's stories about her own personal experiences really helpful and fascinating.

I have been practising the exercises from the book and have already gained great benefit...
Published on 10 April 2012 by njp

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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't read one of Beck's books yet, don't choose this one as your first (or second)
Martha Beck has a much higher profile in the US than in the UK. I've never heard her name mentioned in the UK (either in the media or by acquaintances), but in the US she regularly appears on the Oprah Winfrey tv show and in videos hosted at Oprah's website, writes a monthly column in Oprah's print magazine, has written several bestselling books, runs a successful...
Published on 19 Mar 2012 by Primrose Hill


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 10 April 2012
This review is from: Finding Your Way In A Wild New World: Four steps to fulfilling your true calling (Paperback)
I found that this book totally spoke to me and I learnt a great deal from reading it. It took concepts that I have already experienced and added to them in a really valuable way. I found Martha's stories about her own personal experiences really helpful and fascinating.

I have been practising the exercises from the book and have already gained great benefit from them.

A couple of the reviewers didn't appreciate there being lots of Martha's personal experiences in the book which is fair enough as each person has their own different preferences. I however totally loved reading about her adventures and feel the book wouldn't have been so fulfilling without it.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't read one of Beck's books yet, don't choose this one as your first (or second), 19 Mar 2012
This review is from: Finding Your Way In A Wild New World: Four steps to fulfilling your true calling (Paperback)
Martha Beck has a much higher profile in the US than in the UK. I've never heard her name mentioned in the UK (either in the media or by acquaintances), but in the US she regularly appears on the Oprah Winfrey tv show and in videos hosted at Oprah's website, writes a monthly column in Oprah's print magazine, has written several bestselling books, runs a successful life-coaching company, is an inspiration to families who have children with Down's Syndrome, and has publicly aired her antagonistic relationships with the Mormon church and her extended family (which is highly-placed in the church's organization).

I read my first Martha Beck book about 13 years ago, and instantly admired her sense of humour, writing skill, down-to-earth personality, intelligence and academic achievements, and concern for other people. The more I've read by her, seen her on tv, etc., the more highly I've thought of her.

I haven't read all her books, skipping the one about her son Adam, the one about dieting, of course the Mormon-focussed one she wrote a long time ago with her (now-"out", now-ex) husband about overcoming addictions (including how to overcome being gay) (and now Martha is "out" as well, having lived with a female partner for many years, although I just learned about that side of her life last year, and I saw a 2011 interview of Beck by Oprah Winfrey during which Oprah learned about Martha's being gay, and Oprah was also quite shocked she had not known about this before, since they have worked together for many years).

I especially recommend her book _Finding Your Own North Star_. The follow-up _Steering By Starlight_ is okay, but kind of dips into the "woo-woo factor" more than most people are probably comfortable with (although I was fine with it myself).

Martha's writing can make me laugh, cry, marvel, and groan, often within the same few paragraphs.

[By the way, you can find a generous amount of her material for free on her personal website, and I think all of her monthly columns from the O Magazine archives are available at Oprah's website - many of them are well worth spending a few minutes on, if her writing style floats your boat.)

Therefore, I was looking forward to reading this, her latest book. I am disappointed in it. Not only because I expect so much from her, but because it's so... circular and woolly. The subject matter is by definition hard to describe in words, but she is a better communicator than this. To me it felt like an early draft, filled with too many stories and metaphors and words, which normally gets whittled down into a tight, well-flowing, easy-to-follow manuscript before it is published.

Some of the negatives, in my opinion:

-Text was too long, didn't flow very well.

-There were too many stories of her experiences on the game preserve in South Africa.

-There was too much about animals (and willing them to appear in front of her). Too much about far-flung, expensive travels. I know she deeply enjoys both and that both are integral to her lifestyle and recent discoveries about the universe, but the repetitiveness marred the book for me.

-It felt like half-autobiography, half-self-help-guide, and the two parts didn't join together as smoothly, for me, as she obviously meant them to.

-The "practical" steps about how to be a healer/"wayfinder"/"mender"/etc. were scattered too much around the book, and the example tales that were meant to illuminate the practical steps were often so long and involved that I forgot what their purpose was.

-Sometimes, she assumes that readers have some prior scientific or esoteric knowledge they may not have, while at other times she explains things a bit too simply.

-She makes up some terms for some of her concepts, which makes sense because the typical terms in English do have a lot of preconceptions and emotion attached to them, but she then uses too many new terms for the same concept, and most of her new terms were just a shade too "cutesy" or something for me. The capitalization of various words, like Team and Imagine, began to grate on me too.

-She keeps saying, "my friend Noelle" or "my friend (whoever)", and there is a certain point when any reader is going to know that Noelle (or whoever) is, yes indeed, that same friend with the unusual name whom Martha has already mentioned 25 times. Are the people she refers to by-name-only not her friends? It felt a bit "adolescent".

-She is a bit obsessed with having slept in the same bed as Mandela, in the same resort as Mandela, having walked the same pathways in the game preserve as Mandela. It is interesting of course, and mentioning it once is fine, but after that, it's kind of pointless. [I used to work in the room Chopin died in, so slap me with a blue plaque. ;-)]

-She tells a few of the same life stories that she has told in other books, which most self-help authors do and it's no problem, but it occurred to me that each time that I've read several of these stories, new aspects have been unveiled (which she had been aware of from the start). I wish that, the first time I'd read her telling of her stories, I would have learned all about them, at least all the relevant information. I realize that she's been playing a delicate game, trying to write books that would appeal to and give comfort to (and not freak out) the public while she's been negotiating a complex and fraught emotional journey in her own life (leaving her religion, accusing her dad of abusing her as a child, being cut off by her family, getting divorced, drinking the mystical kool-aid so-to-speak, etc. etc.) But I do feel a bit misled, because I had thought that the original telling of the stories would have contained all the pertinent details. However, I know this is too much to ask of an autobiographical writer, especially one who doesn't want to push the public's boundaries so far that she isn't given a chance to express herself.

-It is interesting to see that about three different times in the book, she is quite critical about "New Age" people and she even mentions the film of "The Secret" (in all but title) in a disparaging way, even though I recall that she was a guest in at least one hour-long Oprah tv show which mainly lauded that film. I agree with her criticisms of certain magical thinking, and certain "New Age" topics, but then she turns around and keeps quoting Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and that _Eat Pray Love_ woman as experts and guides for her way of thinking, as if they themselves weren't deeply New-Agey (and as if they were not all annoying and much less profound -- in my opinion, anyway! -- than the American public seems to find them). [I lost some respect for Martha when I realized she holds these people up as the ultimate sages -- but that's just me.]

-A reviewer on the Amazon UK site says that Beck doesn't veer into "law of attraction" stuff, but that IS precisely what she is talking about with her 4 steps. She doesn't call it "law of attraction". But it's pretty similar to it. Some of her steps remind me of steps from Chopra's book on it from about 8 or 10 years ago.

-She assumes that almost everyone reading the book is going to be a "healer" type of person, and does not go into any other archetypes or destinies (whatever you want to call it). She also assumes that every "healer's" life goal should be helping other people find joy. I don't have an opinion on it, but I wonder if it's that simple for every single person who determines that she/he has a "healer" personality.

-Although she said she's spent years researching magic, medicine men/women, shamen, ancient tribes, healers across the ages; and mentions many ideas, experiments, historical events, locations, and people, there are very few references in the book. The only references are to YouTube videos of antelopes jumping and that kind of thing. It's obviously not a textbook or a scientific journal article, but some selected references would have been welcome. Also, of course she mentions her sociology PhD, but historically and in modern times there has been a lot of study of these topics by countless anthropologists, folklorists, and even medical doctors (like Larry Dossey), which I'm not sure she mentioned at all in the book. I know this isn't meant to be an exhaustive review of the "magical" in human experience, but I found it to be a bit waffly and breezy.

-In her promotion of "magic", communing with animal spirits, opening right up to the universe, etc., I know that she is very well-meaning and feels that she knows all the ins and outs -- and she does give a few weak caveats about this throwing oneself wide open to all and sundry, such as beaming comforting, calming vibes to angry and hostile people and imagining a light surrounding you that will supposedly dissolve any bad vibes coming at you -- but it is my impression that she seriously downplays the potentially negative aspects of this sort of individual, amateur, unprotected dabbling. She does mention several times that the ancient tribal healers that she has studied went through decades and decades of training, mentorship, and so on before they were put in charge of this role for their social group -- yet she pulls out some of their "technologies", describes them in a woolly, convoluted way, and encourages her mainly-American, mainly-middle-class, mainly-untrained-in-this-realm readers to rush into these practices on their own with no personal backups in place in case something odd happens, with no broad understanding or training, with no previous experience with the "field". It's too simplistic, too rosy. I think it's not safe enough, spiritually, as described here.

-The subject of mystical, healing drugs (like the one she had, at least at one point, decided to take in a magic ritual led by a South American shaman, and ended up being affected by -- even though she didn't, apparently, ingest it) is complicated and I hardly know anything about it, but she seems to indicate that it's safe, brave, and normal to do this kind of thing without much preparation, and I am not sure that it ought to be that simple or that easy, nor that it is without any danger of side effects/lasting problems. [A fellow student from my university days took something like this and was injured physically and mentally and his life rapidly fell apart, never to be the same. But one can't extrapolate from just one example.] Serious, methodical, logical, educated, open-minded researchers like Dr. Andrew Weil (in his younger days) have researched deeply into this kind of thing, and of course this sort of hallucinatory drug use is engaged in by many folks around the world. However, I think it's only responsible to mention how to learn about the risks, the chemistry, the methods, the legality, the "spiritual" history, etc., if you are going to casually suggest doing this sort of thing for personal growth.

I think that Martha Beck is well-meaning and kind. She's brave, hard-working, and intelligent. She is usually a very good writer. She has an uncommon gift of making readers feel more normal, less alone, happier, calmer. But this book was a disappointment to me, and is my least favorite of her works that I've read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave and transformative, 29 Jan 2012
This review is from: Finding Your Way In A Wild New World: Four steps to fulfilling your true calling (Paperback)
Martha Beck's previous books Finding Your North Star and Steering by Starlight have already been the catalyst and ongoing guides for real change for the better in my life. This one takes it to the next level again and it's interesting too to see the development of Martha's own thinking, or way of living. To me it's like layers are peeled off and actually with each book 'the process' gets simpler and simpler. Not easier to put into practice, maybe, but simpler and fewer steps. And this feels like getting closer to the truth about life.

In contrast to the North Star especially, now there's almost no analysis and planning you need to do to find your right life; less work to do. According to Finding Your Way..., and what my own experience seems to affirm, you just sense and pick the right path each moment. The book comes close to being the 'How To' companion to Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now.

The book is bravely written sharing very intimate and personal experiences, but in a way that feels open and appropriate, not exhibitionist. While you could have made it a much shorter 'guide', I enjoyed and found moving and inspirational the stories about Martha's own journey of discovery of the reality she's talking about.

This book may not be immediately accessible if you're not familiar with the spiritual ideas, such as energies and 'everything is connected', or have never experienced something like that in your life. But even so you'll probably enjoy this engagingly written book, and find something that strikes a chord.

I believe this will be a milestone book for the new spiritualism. Apart from being a revelation and transformative in itself, it makes sense of all the main concepts and ideas in that field, such as 'creating what you imagine', being present, being one with nature, listening to your body etc. In my view, this book gives the definitive, no nonsense but profound, answer to pretty much all spiritual questions and how to live fully!

It has taken immense courage to write, and will take as much courage for any of us to put into practice. Once you've truly had enough of being unhappy, you'll probably do that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courageous and compelling, 19 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Finding Your Way In A Wild New World: Four steps to fulfilling your true calling (Paperback)
I've read all Martha Beck's previous books and know first hand what a skilful coach she is.This approach is something else altogether.Martha Beck moves into more"spiritual" territory,inspired by some of her own experiences,especially in Africa.She identifies how we can enter the deep energy field behind everyday life.There we are in contact and resonance with everyone else on the "team" as she calls the menders and wayfinders amongst us and everyone we have ever come into contact with.I was then expecting her to move into"Law of Attraction"spiel but she didn't.She suggests ways of working with events,people and creatures who are about to happen to us.Above all,it's about connecting with your own unique nature.Wonderful and helpful at the same time!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 9 Mar 2012
This review is from: Finding Your Way In A Wild New World: Four steps to fulfilling your true calling (Paperback)
This is a complex book and takes the way we live in this world to a whole new level. I have only managed to implement one small change with regards to the advice given in the book. The result has been amazing and effortless. This book is one I'll be diving deeper into and, as with all her books, return to it time and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helps put ideas into words, 7 Jan 2013
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Joanne Whitlock (Deryshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Martha has helped me put a few different ideas I had into words. In particular I liked her thoughts about 'wordlessness' the area where feelings and ideas come in then we have the challenge of finding a way to articulate those thoughts or feelings.

I saw other reviews commenting on the amount of times she refers to her own experiences and being quite negative but personally I liked these examples and stories. She never made me feel like she knew better than me about everything, and I found the conversational tone easy to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Life-Changing!, 31 Dec 2012
By 
Wendy (Worcestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
"Life-changing" is a term that's used very loosely these days to mean any thing from "mildly interesting" upwards but I think this book by Martha Beck may be the real thing. I found it so compelling that I read it within 24 hours - it's the kind of book you take into the bath with you! I found it made sense of a great deal of my experience and offered inspiration for living and working in a much more congruent and authentic way. If you've ever felt that you are here on the planet to do SOMETHING - but you've only got a vague idea exactly what it is, or how you could go about doing it, this is definitely a must-read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good info but too much private life, 14 Jan 2012
By 
Mr. P. G. Chesters (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Finding Your Way In A Wild New World: Four steps to fulfilling your true calling (Paperback)
I saw this in Watkins and as I liked Steering by Starlight I had a browse and bought it. I guess that makes me a member of the Team (defined in the book).

I find the way that she puts together information, taking basic building blocks from other people, simplifying them and giving them a catchy title oddly compelling, and actually very powerful.

What I don't like about her books is she provides far too much detail about her private life in a way that doesn't provide anything that helps you integrate her lessons. This time it is repeated visits to the Londolozi nature reserve. You could easily edit the book down to two thirds the size.

The book is about manifestation, and there are four parts to it that build up: wordlessness, oneness, imagination and forming.

Wordlessness is the same as stillness, ie getting into a quiet state (with perhaps more emphasis on the non verbal), oneness is feeling your connection to what she calls the Energy Internet (catchy title), imagination is imagining what you want to happen and forming it is bringing it into the material world. She uses such exercises as bending spoons (not tried that yet bought some in the 99p shop), the catch up exercise from Month Roberts, shaking to remove stress and Les Fermis Open Focus (also in Steering by Starlight.

I though the explanation of and use of the catch up was very good, as she showed it was also a principle of manifestation, you let money catch up with your for example.

Depending on where you are on the path you might find this book very useful or a bit basic. Definitely need your highlighter though.

Incidentally the cover of the US version looks 10 times better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard Going at times - but worth it!, 22 Jun 2013
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This book isn't like the other books by Martha Beck that I have read. It is not a self-help book in the same sense as her others.
She describes her experiences in Africa and working with others whom she describes as way finders or menders. Those in society globally who realise that there is something magical in working with nature and following your own path (whatever that may be).
Buy it if you are looking for something different from the usual Secret type manifestation book, it comes across as watered down shamanism but was an interesting read.
I was interested enough to look on the author's website to see how much the retreats in Lodolozi were as it seemed a magical place - over $16000 dollars - slightly out of my price range!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to move in a more positive direction, 23 Jan 2013
By 
Graham J. Sharpe (Ashdown Forest England) - See all my reviews
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Have you ever noticed how some people make money doing the things they love? For some people work feels like play and without much effort they earn a great living whilst feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Well, in a nutshell, this book tells you how to become one of those people. I've read similar books over the years, but the voice inside my head that says, "You have to struggle and work hard if you want to succeed," is loud and persistent, and so I often forget there is an easier way. Finding Your Way In A Wild New World is timely and relevant because Martha gives us strategies to deal with 21st Century changes. She reminds us that technology is reshaping our reality at an unimagined pace (`your job or your whole profession may be fading into the mists of history'). Martha describes her strategies as Magic and unfortunately that word may put some people off. Don't let it put you off. Then again, if you don't believe in intuition and instinct and the relevance of so-called coincidences then this probably isn't for you. I loved every word. There's another dimension to this book and it involves connecting with other like-minded people, joining the Team and helping to save the world. I know this may sound bonkers but when you read the book it will all make perfect sense. Martha's style is totally unpretentious and strangely inspiring.
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