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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively deep memoir, 20 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Naked Determination, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear (Kindle Edition)
This is a collection of 41 stories or personal essays--petite memoirs actually--from the life of the author. Hausmann's intent is to inspire others to overcome adversity and to meet life's challenges. She shows us how she did it (with a little help from friends and family).

This is also a book of lessons about life and afterthoughts on how to live life in the fullest sense, and how to create our happiness in the face of adversary and just plain bad luck.

What Hausmann does in addition to inspiring is to recall for the reader her psychological experiences as she lived these events. She could watch uncaring as a large bottle of red cranberry juice spilled out onto the floor because she was so deeply into mourning due to the death of a loved one.

Some of it is a bit corny, like "Know Your Dream Destination" (relearned lesson from "Knowing Your Destination") or "You Must Ask for Your Dream" (from the story about working with director Franz Novotny). And some of it really is blatant (if not exactly "naked") determination. For example, fifteen-year-old Gisela got her grandmother to accompany her on a long bus trip to Moscow by nagging her daily for MONTHS. By the way, the afterthought to that story is surprisingly about logistics! Hausmann quotes General Omar Bradley as saying, "Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics." Why? Because it's a long, long ways from France to Moscow as Napoleon learned the hard way and as Hausmann was able to experience vicariously by traveling across the vast Russian countryside with her grandmother.

Yes, a lot of this is about traveling--to Tibet, to Los Angeles, to Russia, to China, etc., but it's also about people and what "Gisy" learned from them. And yes it is about affairs and love.

From reading this I would say that the secret to Hausmann's success is hard work and the ability to see things in a positive light whenever possible. Too fat? Can't sleep? Solution: enroll in a gym that stays open 24/7 and when you have two a.m. insomnia, get up and work out for an hour and a half. This made Gisela feel almost studly. Further result: "So I took myself a new lover and had fun." Yes, Hausmann can be strikingly candid.

One of the things that struck me about his book was how much Hausmann revealed about herself, both intentionally and by-the-by. She is with Walt Whitman in that she celebrates herself openly without blatant bragging. We all should be proud of ourselves (and a lot of this book IS about building self-esteem) but we should also realize as Hausmann has that we can only be proud of ourselves if we do the best we can as often as we can.

Finally I was amused by Hausmann's story about "the Casablanca Principle" in which she assuages herself as she breaks up with a boyfriend by using this famous line from the Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman film: "We'll always have Paris." The idea of emphasizing the good times together is typical of Hausmann's attitude toward life. I was amused because after I broke up with a girlfriend with whom I had travelled a bit in the U.S., she liked to say with a smile, recalling the Bogart line,"We'll always have Colby, Kansas" (where we stayed one night).

By the way, I say that this book is "deceptively deep" because of what Hausmann ultimately reveals about herself.

All in all this is a most interesting memoir from a woman who knows the world and herself.

--Dennis Littrell, author of "Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)"
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