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on 14 February 2006
This book is simply awesome. If you are finding it difficult to change, if you are not sure what is happening in your life and want to sort it out, if you feel confused or a little down, or if you just want a second opinon on your direction and objectives, Finding Your Own North Star is the book for you! I resisted buying it for a while (I thought the title was a little twee!) until I got sick of everyone else quoting it and recluctantly bought it. But it was the best thing I did for that moment.
This book is priceless in helping us to understand change and dealing with it, for understanding our individual journeys and losing the fear around it. Together with William Bridges' 'Transitions', these two books are at the top of my list of self-help. I loved the part where she asks us to complete the sentence: "If only I had the guts I would.... " Then she says: "Do it right now. Your heard me soldier, put down the damn book and do it!"
Quivering with anticipation and fear, I worked out my plans and did them. Even though I did not get get the results I hoped for, I did get the courage to do other important things. And what a glorious sense of achievement too! I cannot do justice to Finding Your Own North Star, its thought-provoking exercises or its font of information regarding how to improve our lives in such a brief review.
But I can just say humbly: Thank you Martha Beck. You certainly helped to inspire me and my latest book!
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on 1 July 2011
As other reviews have pointed out, this book contains the same old ideas found in all selp-help books. But like most of the other reviewers, I think this book is one of the most brilliant I have ever seen.

For starters, unlike plenty of other self-help titles, the book is set out in a logical, no-nonsense manner which makes it easy to find the information you're looking for, as well as put your situation in a bigger context as part of an ongoing process or journey. The author doesn't just come at it from one angle, which keeps the text fresh and inspiring. She lays out several aspects of the struggle to live a happier life and takes many different angles to help you understand what's holding you back.

There are plenty of exercises given and many of them initially seem frivolous, childish, pointless... But having had the nerve to plunge into a couple, I have been amazed by what truths have come out. It has been (and will continue to be) deeply upsetting to find out these truths but in a good way because I feel like I'm finally starting to get moving in the right direction. Somehow you get the sense from this book that everything will be ok, regardless of what changes need to occur which will be painful and destructive (she doesn't sugarcoat!). The author has an upbeat, positive approach while still being realistic about how hard it is to do what's right, and that rewards come much, much later after a lot of pain. It's a welcome relief from those other books which don't help because they make it all sound so easy!

She covers the whole process of change from beginning to end (beginning to beginning?), which was all new to me and has greatly helped me understand what's happened in my life and how I arrived where I am today, as well as the likely challenges I will face in the future. She writes about how change doesn't just happen once, and gives more tips on how to deal with every stage of change which I'm sure will come in handy once I move further through the process.

A word of warning: I think this book won't appeal to everyone. She is very direct, which I find refreshing and inspiring, but some people might not. She also uses some unneccessarily high-brow words occasionally, which is a bit annoying, although not knowing these words won't stop you understanding her meaning (there are at least 5 in the book that I had never seen before!).

One idea that stood out for me from this book is the idea that you don't need to believe in something wonderful for it to happen - you don't have to specify what you want, write out a list or do a visualisation board or whatever! (These types of exercises have NEVER worked for me, and they don't for a lot of people, they just leave you feeling so much worse when they don't work.) Ms Beck says early on in the book and keeps reminding you that even if it seems impossible that you could feel happy or have something you want, all you need to do is just make a tiny bit of space by believing in the POSSIBILITY that SOMETHING wonderful, whatever that might be, could just happen. Sounds crazy but that advice has been helpful in so many ways.

In summary, if you are ready to take a risk and take serious action to help yourself rather than just come up with more excuses or be put to sleep by more platitudes, I strongly recommend this book which is more like a tool-kit containing a set of skills you can develop and use for practical guidance in any situation. Speaking from my own experience, the exercises can deliver genuinely astounding results, provided you grit your teeth and allow yourself to entertain the possibility that after pain the improvement is possible. Thank you Ms Beck for writing such an original, well-organised and honest book!
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VINE VOICEon 11 January 2004
I can't tell you how much better I feel just simply reading this wonderful book. Martha takes you by the hand, and with her friendly manner talks you through all the stages, stresses and roadblocks you are likely to encounter as you try to find your true path. She gives you simple yet effective exercises to do, and teaches you valuable things to remember. I can't think of anything she's left out, yet I enjoyed every single word.
I think Martha has really found her own true path in writing books to help others, there is really no other explanation for her doing it so well. I have a renewed confidence that I will eventually get to where I'm supposed to be going now.
Thank you Martha!
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on 6 May 2002
I have probably read over a 100 "self help" books in the last couple of years. Imagine then my delight to find that "Follow your North Star" has lots of unique and original material that I hadn't previously come across.
Martha Beck gives you a blue print to help you navigate any change in your life. Charting all the processes you go through, whatever the change, and whether the change is a welcome one or not.
I placed this blueprint over my own experiences and her ideas rang strikingly true.
My favourite part is the future self visualisation on page 301. My 11 and 12 year old children did this visualisation thus indirectly told me so much about their hopes and dreams for the future, I feel I will be able to help them navigate their true course.
I will use what I have learned in my life, my classroom, my family and my business.
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on 21 February 2006
I was recommended this book by a friend who suggested that I may find some of the exercises useful for my Life Coaching clients.
I worked through the book myself, and actually finished it having completed all of the exercises.
It is amazingly simple yet very, very effective.
It has inspired and motivated me to take action on my Wildly Impossible Goals, some of which had come to fruition before I even finished the book.
I will certainly be recommending it to my clients.
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on 12 July 2014
This books is fantastic; it was given to me as a gift. It is very thought provoking and inspiring. As a Life Coach, I found it very useful when supporting clients. The words written in this book is food for the soul; like "..creating lives where the soul can thrive.." Explaining the difference between 'social self' and 'essential self.' This is very important, everyone needs to know this. And I love the exercises. It certainly taught me alot about myself. And I was telling everyone about this book after the first chapter. I now play full out. I live by my essential self and my soul is happy. I am doing and achieving what i want to achieve. I wish I read this book years ago and/or as a young person growing up. If you are feeling lost, chances you are living according to your social self and your soul is dying. Get a Life, get this book and get back on track.
D. A. Martin - Bestseller Author of Broken Oath.
Broken Oath
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on 13 October 2014
An absolutely incredible book, I can't put it down ! Martha Beck has an extraordinary writing ability ! Compassion and humour ooze from every page. Think of this book as the " Feel Good Factor ", you have spent years searching for ! Thank you Martha, and know that I will always keep a copy of your book on my bookshelf. Also it is one of the few books I will never loan to a Friend, as I would miss it too much !
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on 1 April 2009
Lovely, flowing read. Even where Martha's challenging your long held beleifs, she holds your hand as she takes you on your journey.
It may take inner courage to complete some of the (simple) exercises, but chances are, they'll prove to be well worth doing.
Particularly good for people who just don't know what it is they were born to do - or even if anything like that exists!
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on 21 July 2009
My first review after years of purchasing on Amazon. I felt compelled to write a quick review, this will appeal to all those that feel 'stuck' or feel like they have exhausted all their options and have no one or no where else to turn to for advice ~ its time to go inwards!...Ive read sooooo many books and spoke to soooo many people as i have an itch that needs scratching, problem is i couldn't work out where it was!,,this book hasnt provided the answer but it has provided some tools that have helped me to look at me differently. This lady sprinkles this book with humour which engaged me even more. Cant say its changed my life over night but it certainly has prodded me out of my 'poor me' stupor...a lot of her case studies are high flyers, i would have liked to have read more about average joes like me, mums that have lost themselves bringing up kids or generally been sidetracked from 'your north star' by lifes knocks..
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on 10 January 2013
As a 50 year old I have to agree with the 19 year old reviewer - this book doesn't have mass appeal. It seems to be geared towards a specific social group - ie. young professionals dissatisfied with their lot in life. A lot of the questions it asks you to answer I found largely irrelevant in my case. The overall concept has some merit to act as a catalyst for change but in my case I don't think the right questions are asked nor does it produce the right answers so I cannot recommend it.
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