Laurence Boldt, Self Help Author: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

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Zen and the Art of Making a Living

Bridge Between East and West
Review by Margaret Keater

In Zen and the Art of Making a Living, we are not told what Zen is, but, after perusing it,we intuitively know exactly what it means and how this philosophy can enhance our life at work and play.

Boldt's work is eclecticism at its best. In solid Zen tradition, he lets the necessary information present itself in the form for which it is best suited. He provides eloquent parables and down-to-earth, real-life examples. He gives lists of resources, numbered guidelines for activities (such as finding the right employer), and worksheets for discovering your values and needs. He merges discourse on such mundane topics as how to make a follow-up call after you've sent a resume with treatises on such ethereal subjects as the need for myths and archetypal heroes at work. Alongside no-nonsense discussions of such topics as the effect stress has on the body's resistance to disease, he provides lists of personal affirmations that are worth hanging in any workplace. Through all of this, he intersperses hundreds of large type quotations from a marvelously diverse collection of thinkers, including Margaret Mead, Will Rogers, Michelangelo and Lao Tzu. (The collection of quotations alone make the book worth purchasing.)

This is a work to be experienced, a book that must be roamed through until the essential information rises from the pages and greets the reader. To read it from cover to cover would waste its essence.

Still, there's no doubt that even those who are searching for concrete answers and discrete steps to finding deep satisfaction with work will find a great deal of value in this book. For example, Boldt uses nearly every argument possible to convince the reader to ignore the concept of work as a means of making money so that we can enjoy our nonworking portions of life. The reader comes away knowing not just that work can be fun, but that something is wrong if it isn't satisfying.

With Laurence Boldt's guidance, we not only set a firm foot on the bridge between East and West, but we traverse it with a strong, confident stride.

It's hard to imagine that Boldt has forgotten anything in this massive, unconventional volume. He shows a strong understanding of the need for a new view of work in Western cultures. "So often today, white-collar workers are hired for their brains alone, blue-collar and service workers for their bodies only, as though these could be detached from the beings who possess them," he writes. "As a consequence, there is so much emotional pain around work in our culture. This pain spills over into virtually every aspect of life. Families, relationships, and communities are deeply affected by it. We can't really blame anyone for this, or at least, it does us no good to do so. Freedom can't be demanded from others—it must be created for ourselves."

Boldt chooses to center on poetry and art as a metaphor for all work. "How can we bring to work the spirit of Zen—of poetry in motion? We can start by listening to the 'want to's' of our hearts, of our original nature, " he writes. "Dive deeply into being, beyond identity and form. Encompass all around you. Penetrate into absorption—absorb into bliss—sail on bliss—into complete quietness. Enter into emptiness—where 'self' is no more."

That may sound a little too spiritual for someone who's simply unhappy at work, but Boldt is a master at transforming this philosophy into action. He presents worksheets, exercises, and a number of thought-provoking questions all geared toward helping the reader define exactly what his or her bliss is. And, unlike some authors who simply present their one way of determining this information, Boldt presents many ways so that the reader will be drawn to the method that best meets his or her needs.

He then provides an insightful look at the realities of working in various settings, including government jobs, freelancing, starting your own business, and corporate work. He discusses the details of working in specific positions, providing so much insight and factual information that the reader is naturally guided to the right job in the right setting for his or her unique personality.

The final portion of the book addresses how to realize the dream of merging work with self. Boldt uses his training and experience as a career consultant to address such basic career development issues as making a skills inventory, gaining self-esteem, overcoming the barriers to gaining more education, and marketing yourself.

This is far more than a "how to" discussion, though. While the reader will discover how to get on the mailing list for federal job opportunities and how to write grant proposals for funding a nonprofit organization, he or she also will be treated to a beautiful essay explaining the Zen view that everyone is talented and knowledgeable.

- Business Ethics
The Magazine of Socially Responsible Business

Laurence Boldt't Zen and the Art of Making a Living is an inspirational manual that seeks to give people the tools to direct and control their lives so that they can find meaning in their work. It's philosophical . . . but upbeat, down to earth, and practical. Boldt, a career consultant never before published, has written a guide in the genre of What Color is Your Parachute? for job seekers, people unhappy in their jobs, anyone who feels dissatisfied with his or her life.

This is a fat volume (600 pages), dense with ideas (there are more than 500 quotations from sages ranging from Albert Einstein to Michael Korda), strategies, charts, tables, tips, lists of sources, self-evaluation exercises, and worksheets to help you find the work you love. The best part of Boldt's accomplishment is that he doesn't strike any phony notes. You read along, and your head nods in agreement, to wit:

  • All great teachers say that the road to happiness begins with the recognition "that beyond the transient desires of ego there lie deeper desires for love and service to all mankind." Most of us don't go this route because we "are too busy running down approval alley." We try to please others, and pleasing is calculated while "compassion comes from the heart."
  • "Whatever gets you really turned on, enough to work for with dedication, sacrifice, and excellence, has the quality of this blissful, original nature in it, and is moving you toward your life's work."
  • We fear change. "Yet it's not knowing what's coming around the corner that makes life interesting."
  • "Allow your natural compassion and bliss to ripen, and you are sure to find your vocation sooner or later."
  • Thousands of so-called ordinary people are every day involved in heroic service to their fellow man. Most of this service goes unrecognized and unnoticed by the wider public because it does not fit with the conventional view of what is valuable or important."
  • "Loving what you do will give you the confidence you need to do what you love, if you understand that expressing your best in your current work is your ticket out of it, and not a sign of resignation to it."

- Milton Moskowitz, coauthor of
The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America

This is the first "business" book from Arkana, a distinguished publisher of philosophy, metaphysics and spiritual traditions—but what a blockbuster! Weighing in a 600 pages, this is a vision of new life/work possibilities that offers direction and encouragement for those looking to express their talents in meaningful ways. Illuminated with generous images from poetry, mythology and art, as well as traditional Zen teachings, it also contains ingeniously organized practical worksheets to guide readers through the steps to discovering and accomplishing their life's work.

In addition to the traditional material on how to assess skills, conduct a job search, write a resume, and succeed at an interview, there is a wealth of information not generally covered by career guides: how to start your own business or nonprofit corporation, how to manage multiple careers, and how to love what you are doing until you are doing what you love! Entertaining, illuminating, packed-with-resources, and refreshingly different, this is a unique career meditation/guide for dharma bums, social activists, reformed yuppies and independent types everywhere.

- Banyen Books

"More Comprehensive" than What Color is Your Parachute?

There are times when we all wonder what our purpose is. Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence Boldt can help answer that question. It could even be the most important book you'll ever read. This 600-page quote-stuffed volume is similar to the perennial bestseller What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. But where Parachute is "a practical manual for job-hunters and career changers," Zen is more comprehensive. The reader is encouraged not just to find a job, but to discover a calling. Boldt is a writer and career consultant who had practiced what he preaches. He speaks to the desire for a broader conception of work as art—the unique creative expression of the individual. . . No matter what your work situation, Zen may help you make positive changes in your life.

- Caleb Gates,
Willamette Week

The bad old days of multiple-choice-test career counseling are over. It takes more than a #2 pencil and a computer to find your life's work, as career consultant Laurence G. Boldt tells us in Zen and the Art of Making a Living, a hefty but lighthearted tome that will help you find yourself and your place in the world. Boldt is quite up-front about it, though: it's a long, hard journey to get there. But his uplifting prose and liberal doses of inspirational quotes from wise men and women provide support for the weary traveler. Indeed, in between learning how to find the kind of work that strikes the right chord for you, figuring out what skills and talents you'll need to succeed at it, and righteously persisting until you get your reward, you may find lapses and stumbling blocks you hadn't expected—but Boldt has seen them all and finds the right words at the right time to keep you moving. Like a traditional career book, Zen and the Art of Making a Living includes resume advice and worksheets for narrowing down and sticking with your goals; however, it takes off from there to guide the reader on a quest for spiritual fulfillment through work, something you won't find elsewhere. This updated edition contains plenty of Internet-related information and other resources unavailable in 1990 and is invaluable for anyone concerned about his or her future in the world of work.

- Rob Lightner,

"In today's job market, the question has become not Can I find a job? but Can I find a job I like? Laurence G. Boldt answers this question with a resounding yes in Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design.

"Even if you are not a Buddhist, or religious in any way, Boldt's book will help you if only by forcing you to focus on the matter at hand: making a living. Boldt encourages the job seeker to read from start to finish, thus benefiting from Boldt's wisdom and lessons on soul searching before buckling down to face the more challenging tasks of resume writing and getting an interview. Yet, the book's clear chapter divisions and multiple sections are perfectly readable separately as excellent references for freelancers looking to polish their skills. You can work on your areas of weakness and skip the other stuff until you have more time.

However, given the quality of most advice from Boldt, readers are likely to find themselves turning back the pages to read everything he has to say. Sidebars range from anecdotes on the enlightenment of Buddha to suggestions on selling information by mail. Throughout the book, wisdom comes from a variety of Eastern and Western sources from Patanjali to Albert Camus, and diagrams point to the relationships between spirit, society, nature, and psyche. Boldt also lists resources on financial aid, volunteerism, and networking as well as "Over 200 Businesses You Can Start with Little or No Money."

"The most informative and helpful sections are the exercises that call for realistic self-analysis. Boldt recognizes that you can't just read the book and expect the perfect job to fall in your lap. Therefore, he makes the reader responsible for the job search by asking pointed questions and plenty of space for answers. This helps you contemplate everything from transition strategies to the "polygamous" life work trajectory of multiple ongoing careers. The reader, in dissecting his or her own written answers, achieves the type of self therapy only the most talented job counselors can offer. Boldt's exercises also leave you in control of your own analysis.

"In a chapter called "Vision Questing," Boldt provides startling statistics on living conditions throughout the world. The inclusion of these numbers serves to illustrate the limited perception with which we operate. While these types of moral lessons are not normally contained in a job manual, they are inherent to Boldt's. Limited awareness of the potential of those around you points to limited awareness of your own potential. You may take or leave Boldt's advice, but his diagrams and lessons will make a lot more sense and prove far more beneficial if you give his views an honest shot rather than dismissing them as unrealistic.

"Most freelancers have already embraced many of Boldt's Zen principles simply by deciding to take responsibility for their life's direction. Zen and the Art of Making a Living provides outstanding resources and information on self-marketing, accounting and negotiations for the freelancer. Yet the true potential of the book comes not from its strength as an advice manual but rather from its lessons on life. In fact, Boldt offers such strong support for the Zen approach that the book is useful even to those who are not currently searching for their mission in life. Making a living is a much larger experience than simply earning money -- it involves understanding the role we play in our lives and creating a life of which we are proud to be called artists."

- Moriah Campbell-Holt,

"Based on the notion that work is an expression of personal destiny, this comprehensive career development guide helps the reader identify "work purpose," key talents, and objectives. Career consultant Boldt moves beyond the basics to address unusual practical and psychological issues such as starting a business, freelancing, founding a nonprofit corporation, maintaining a healthy self-esteem, and building marketing strategy."

- Library Journal

A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design

This book opens with the following quote from Shü-an. "When one happens on a book of this kind, he is well advised to throw it away...". Well, not necessarily in this case- at least not until one has read it and thought deeply about the issues it discusses. If one is searching for a book not necessarily about "getting a job" but about discovering one's life work and purpose then "Zen and the Art of Making a Living" is not only a fine addition to your library but a book that can transform your life. The book does not concern itself with Zen per se. Its breadth is amazing and it pulls from diverse sources of wisdom spanning the arts, philosophy, all religions, anthropology, science, etc.

The book is organized as a play with sections denoting "prologue", acts and scenes within acts. The major acts include: (1) Act 1: The Quest for Life's Work, (2) Act II: The Game of Life's Work, (3) Act III: The Battle for Life's Work and Act IV: The School of Life's Work. Act I is to create and define the tapestry of one's life and shape it actively and creatively- not based on societal convention but based on joy, service to mankind and a hero's spirit. Act I involves vision questing, clarifying values, pointing to purpose, targeting talents and marking mission objectives. Act II is identifying your new career or work. It involves reality testing, careful evaluation and visualization. Act III involves implementing your strategy to achieve your life's work: "taking it to the street", marketing strategies, "sailing the entrepreneurship", "wielding the free lance", looking at non-profit opportunities or landing the right job "street smarts". Act IV is involved with getting there, transitional strategies, training skills, self image, enlisting support and finally loving what you do til you are doing what you love. This book is highly recommended and should have a transforming and beneficial effect on your life.


How to Find the Work You Love

"A Different Job Handbook: Finding the work you love is . . . is a process of opening yourself and beginning to pay attention to what you respond to with energy and enthusiasm." It is also a matter of connecting to a greater good, according to Boldt, author of Zen and the Art of Making a Living, who assumes that the work you love will naturally benefit others. . . . Boldt seems to think that most people expect to little, not too much, from their jobs. Through a series of shrewd "focusing questions" (What were you doing the last time you were so absorbed that you lost all track of time?)" he helps you build a profile not only of the work you want to do but who you really are. Inspiring."

- Mademoiselle

"If you are committed to finding work you can love, Laurence Boldt’s book will provide a structure in which you can find the clarity you need. Like many others in the field, Boldt believes that the answers lie within us—and that we must find the space and courage to address the fundamental and challenging questions: "Who am I?" and "What am I here to do?"

"Getting clarity involves focusing on:

  • Integrity: work that emerges from our own values, visions and intuition.
  • Service: work that provides us the opportunity to give our gifts in a meaningful way.
  • Enjoyment: work that is natural and fun.
  • Excellence: work that inspires you to do your best.

"Buy the book, get some paper and a pen, and carve out some time to wrestle with the questions he poses! You'll come away many steps down the road to work you love."

- Working From The Heart, Inc.

"Falling Water's single best-seller for three straight years, How to Find the Work You Love is a remarkable guide that presents simple yet highly effective strategies to help you find the courage to start the search for a new career and to tap into your own best resources to discover what you really want and are really good at doing."


"How to Find the Work You Love is another great book by the author of Zen and the Art of Making a Living, this, in contrast, little book is helpful for those in the passion search process who enjoy working with open ended questions."

- Centerpoint Resources,

"How to Find the Work You Love is a beautiful book by Laurence Boldt that focuses not on the mechanics of the traditional job search, but on understanding who you are, what you believe, what you feel is important—and taking this knowledge to discover creative, independent and fulfilling work. The book can help any reader to feel validated when that pesky bug in their ear says, 'There's gotta be something more from work than this. I am capable of more. I deserve more.' Indeed, we all do."


The Tao of Abundance

"Not since Alan Watts has there been a lay expert with the erudition and insight to so expertly pack a difficult package of unfamiliar notions into a book of immediate relevance. What is consumerism to me? and sex? and money? How do they relate to my goals and aspirations? Laurence Boldt, a career counselor and author of the bestselling Zen and the Art of Making a Living, presents a sophisticated alternative to life as we know it. Fully equipped with opinion polls, sociological studies, intellectual histories, and classic economics texts, Boldt dismantles the foundations of our consumer society brick by brick and, more importantly, our unquestioning acceptance of it. The alternative is a path of awareness, of flowing, and of sufficiency that together result in the joyful abundance of a productive, natural life. The shift in world view that Boldt seeks to effect in the reader has such profound practical implications that this book could very well change your life-which is exactly the author's intention. Boldt can be excused for slipping into fuzzy notions like the so-called perennial philosophy, for his recasting of modern life in Taoist terms of ready abundance is so convincing that it makes you wonder how we got stuck in our lifestyles of lack in the first place."  

- Brian Bruya,

"The art of abundance is not the art of money making, but the art of knowing how to live." Drawing heavily on Taoist concepts of work, creativity and love, Boldt (Zen and the Art of Making a Living, etc.) offers a systematic program for achieving well-being. Asserting that the Western emphasis on subduing nature and our relentless consumer culture offset the perception of "abundance," he suggests that feelings of prosperity and contentment can flourish independently of actual material wealth. He offers the Taoist pursuit of harmony, leisure and beauty in simple things as a means to help readers appreciate the world's inherent pleasures and to create a sense of fulfillment. According to Boldt, everyone can live abundantly by identifying their true sources of happiness, by following the path of least resistance and by redirecting energy that is unnecessarily tied up in the daily struggle to survive in our culture. Each chapter contains short sections focusing on specific Taoist concepts and showing how readers can apply them to their lives, as well as inspiring quotes from Eastern and Western thinkers. Boldt also provides a workbook section to help readers examine their ideas about money, careers, relationships, time and more. Those looking for a way to sidestep the endless cycle of getting and spending will welcome Boldt's practical, humanist approach to change."

- Publishers Weekly

"At some level, we all know that materialism won't bring us true happiness, but we haven't really figured out how to fill that void if we don't have material wealth; we haven't understood 'true abundance.' Focusing somewhere between material wealth and spiritual prosperity, this book takes us away from the 'psychology of poverty and lack' and into a life of balance and total fulfillment. Following in the Five Fingers of The Tao, the reader learns the eight principles—such as recognizing the unity in all things, learning to receive, following the path of least resistance, taking time to be—that enable one to live abundantly. A workbook of exercises and assessments provides the opportunity to apply and integrate these Taoist principles into daily living."

- Napra Review

"After years of rising stock prices and unprecedented economic growth, has the feeling of abundance passed you by? In The Tao of Abundance, Laurence Boldt, author of the best-selling Zen and the Art of Making a Living explains why and what you can do about it.

"While many have been left behind by the recent economic boom, even among those whose incomes have risen, many feel that the quality of their lives has actually deteriorated or only marginally improved. Despite the longest period of sustained economic expansion in the postwar era, the lowest level of unemployment in decades and a 45 percent increase in consumption levels in last twenty years, the number of Americans who describe themselves "very happy" peaked in 1957!

"The Tao of Abundance examines the reasons behind this contradiction: Why in the midst of the unprecedented material affluence are so many troubled by a nagging sense of lack? Boldt argues that in defining abundance in abstract economic terms we have overlooked important human factors related to quality of life. Drawing on eight principles of Taoist philosophy, he explores spiritual insights and psychological attitudes that will move us toward an experience of real abundance. Along the way, he exposes the core beliefs that comprise a psychology of lack and shows how we can overcome them once and for all.

"The Tao of Abundance also addresses social and economic factors that contribute to an individual and collective experience of lack, and offers suggestions for how we can mitigate these effects in our own lives. This is not a book of spiritual platitudes divorced from the realities of our everyday lives, but one that demonstrates the relevance of ancient Taoist insights to enriching our lives today. The exercises at the end of the book assist readers in making the attitudinal, lifestyle, and behavioral changes that will bring a greater experience of real abundance into all aspects of their lives."

- Business Spirit Journal Online

"Through his intelligent, appealing integration of Eastern philosophy and practical advice, Laurence Boldt has helped thousands of readers find personal satisfaction in their work and personal lives. Now he applies these principles to the subject of abundance: How do we achieve material wealth without sacrificing our souls?

"In The Tao of Abundance, Boldt applies ancient wisdom to modern times, presenting eight guiding principles from Taoist philosophy geared to help readers make practical life changes that will bring them a truer and deeper sense of abundance. He encourages readers to strike a balance between material and spiritual wealth—not to favor one over the other—and argues that increased material wealth comes as a natural byproduct of psychological fulfillment. With exercises designed to help readers find their own balance between societal demands and their own deepest desires, this helpful, inspiring book offers the chance to experience a new feeling of abundance in all aspects of life."

- Fellowship for Intentional Community

"A book that tackles many of of the difficult questions regarding consumerism and money. Author of the bestselling Zen and the Art of Making a Living, Boldt draws from opinion polls, sociological studies, Taoism, the perennial philosophy, and more to deconstruct our present notions of a consumer based society and reconstruct it along lines that encourage a more flowing, harmonious, rewarding and spiritual relationship with money and the world around us."

- Soul to Spirit

The Tao of Abundance by Laurence Boldt Philosophy of Happy Life

In the Tao of Abundance you will go on a journey that will help you discover what your true belief system is and how your life is being manipulated by the misconception that peace of mind is gained through the acquisition of material things.

The old saying goes that money can't buy happiness. Regardless of what is going on in the economy or in one's bank account, or even if people are doing well financially, they still might feel empty and bankrupt on the inside. They might go around with feelings of deep insecurity. Many people feel this way. Sadly, in today's materialistic world, people think that they have nothing, or that they are nobody if they don't have financial wealth. This sad mindset causes many people to become depressed, and to give up hope on themselves, and in life. However, in The Tao Of Abundance, Laurence G. Boldt makes us re-examine this misconception. In this book, you are going to have your core systems and believes challenged. Much to your surprise, you are going to see that you are being manipulated and brainwashed into thinking that you need "stuff" to feel whole.

The author points out six things that money can't do in the Tao of Abundance. The six things that money shouldn't do are these:

Sacrifice your soul, relationships, health, intelligence, joy, and most important, your dignity. Aren't these concepts amazing?

Then, the author challenges you to examine what financial wealth is costing you, and what price you might be paying. You will begin a journey of self discovery by thinking about the Taoist teachings that are used in the book. You will then gain insight and knowledge regarding the misguided thinking that many people have, that material things and wealth bring you peace. You'll learn to find contentment via your own self created life peace and fulfillment. You are the author of your own success, and you only can decide what it's going to take for you to have inner peace.

The Tao of Abundance give you eight principles such as:

The unity of it all starts you on a path of true abundance.

Learning to receive opens the doors for you to receive your greatest good.

Getting on the path of least resistance give you success with the greatest of ease.

In order to improve health, and to have deeper, healthier relationships, and to generate wealth for yourself, you have to circulate your energy.

The road to your authentic power is the road that enables you to honor your dignity and to use your inborn abilities.

In order to rid yourself of stress and gain peace of mind, you must find the Yin and Yang balance in your life.

Take the time to nurture yourself and the things that are important such as relationships. Give yourself time to grow, and to be.

You must learn that in order to reach your destiny, you have to trust in and embrace the way things naturally turn out in your life.

You'll find that the Tao of Abundance will allow you to change the perceptions and the focus of your life. In this way, you can use your energy to move with the flow of the universe. Then you will see the doors open that grant you abundance, inner peace, and satisfaction.

Ben Sanderson

How to Be, Do, or Have Anything

I had no idea the amount of help I would get from How to Be, Do, Or Have Anything (A Practical Guide to Creative Empowerment). Just looking at the title you might think it's just another one of those books preaching the same old, same old and it won't really have much of an effect. But no. Laurence G. Boldt's approach to motivation is refreshing and easily understandable. This is far from the average how-to book.

This Practical Guide is organized like a peek into your own brain if it were completely uncluttered. At the end of every chapter there are questions that will assist the reader in charting out his or her personal goal-reaching map. The reader is not only told what they can do, but they also learn why doing a certain thing would help.

Boldt fills this how-to with quotes that motivate you and gives you a peek into the lives of people who have succeeded in realizing their dreams. For example, I learned how the creator of Dilbert, Scott Adams, used to write himself a mantra 15 times every day which was, "I will become a syndicated cartoonist." Later he changed it to, "I will be the best cartoonist on the planet." On every other page and also at the end of every chapter I found uplifting and pertinent quotes such as this one from William James: "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude."

You also learn what things keep you from succeeding and how to avoid falling into the trap of negativity. I believe in the idea that each goal leads to more goals, so Laurence Boldt's How To Be, Do or Have Anything is a great book to read, in any case or at any point in one's life. This book can be used over and again. I'm sure after using it for a while, the practices mentioned will be inherent in you and you will perform them effortlessly.

by Joy Jama

A neat book, as many of Ten Speed Press books are, "How To Be, Do, or Have Anything" has great ideas, implementation strategies, and good advice. Well worth reading if you have anything you'd like to change or accomplish and are looking for focus. It has an upbeat message, and you can do parts of it without the others. Some books and tapes are deliberately sequential so that you must complete the entire program before getting results, but I found that this was useful in parts as well.

- Mind Body Bootcamp

Don't let the title of this book fool you—it isn't just another "sleep you way to infinite riches" guide. Rather, Laurence G. Boldt has written a thoughtful book about setting and achieving realistic yet inspired goals. Whether you want to start your own business, develop more rewarding personal relationships, or create a healthier lifestyle, he clarifies the different steps necessary for achieving your dreams. With the use of exercises at the end of each chapter, the book explains how to identify and focus on one or more goals, demonstrates how to listen to your heart, and helps you determine whether you chose your goal for yourself, or to please someone else. Boldt also explains concentration, commitment, discipline and motivation as issues related to getting what you want. Further, he illuminates the obstacles of distraction and fear that sometimes prevent you from fulfilling your potential. Inspiring quotes open each chapter.

This book should be required reading for all young people, not to mention those adults among us who have not yet decided what they want to be when they "grow up." Otherwise, for anyone needing a fresh burst of motivation or a crisp new sense of direction, this book is, at the very least, a useful companion.

- Bodhi Tree Book Review

"Is there something you really want? Do you have an ambition to write a book, climb a mountain or start your own business? Maybe you dream of going back to school or changing your career. Maybe you just want to change your financial circumstances or develop better personal relationships. Possibly you're not even sure what you want; you just know this isn't it. If you struggle with getting started, following through or persevering toward any of your goals, this book with the outrageous title, "How To Be, Do or Have Anything" is one to take a look at. If you've ever met someone who dreams bigger, does more and lives larger than the rest of us, you know how a positive attitude can inspire you to aim higher. Reading this book is a little like finding someone successful and convincing them to show you how it's done. But this book goes beyond inspiration with concrete suggestions for following your dreams.

A book with a plan

It's this practical approach that makes the book worth reading. While other books may inspire you to go after what you want, this one helps you develop a plan. It points out the hurdles, encourages you toward the next step and provides you with common-sense advice for reaching your objective.

The book provides readers with a "manifestation formula." That's a fancy name for a straightforward approach to turning ideas into action. Author Laurence G. Boldt concentrates on the first four steps of the formula: vision, focus, desire and commitment.

If that sounds like nothing new, Boldt assures readers it isn't. Everything that's ever been accomplished from landing on the moon to baking a pie goes through this process. It's just that many people lose their way. They might get stuck, move too fast or try to skip a step. They also lose confidence, succumb to fear or give up too soon. There are a multitude of ways to fall short of your potential.

Four stages: vision, focus, desire and commitment

Boldt takes readers through the stages of his manifestation formula beginning with vision. At the vision stage, he encourages readers to allow themselves to dream big, consider the outrageous and not disregard the impractical. This is the stage for creativity and imagination, observation and experimentation. Boldt shows readers that creating a vision also means discovering the purpose and direction of your goals.

After vision comes focus. Just as you would scan a landscape when searching for something, once you find what you're looking for, you focus in on it. In this section, Boldt explains how to develop concentration, make decisions and set goals. Important stuff that moves you out of the realm of imagination and into the realm of action.

Stage three concerns desire. Boldt explains that great ideas and great plans often get left by the wayside when the first obstacle comes along. Maintaining your motivation is critical to keeping up your momentum. And he offers suggestions for dealing with doubt when it inevitably appears.

Finally, there is commitment. Boldt explains how to deal with distractions overcome fear and follow through on your goals. He explains, "When you want something so much that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, you have reached the point of commitment."

Each chapter is followed by written exercises to help readers explore the particulars of their own goals. The book also makes use of quotes from famous and successful people. In the margins of the pages you'll find wisdom and encouragement from the likes of Bette Davis, Thomas Edison and Leonardo Da Vinci.

If you're looking for common-sense along with inspiration, How to Be, Do, or Have Anything has it. And if you need to be reminded that going after something better, trying something new, and making your life more satisfying is worth the risk, this book is great place to start."

- Laura Lyjak,
Career Focus Magazine

"Anyone can be taught how to be, do or have whatever they want (within reason), contends consultant and personal coach Boldt in this extensively revised and updated version of his Manifest Your Destiny: Life Planning with a Punch (1984). Employing the same approach as in his 1991 classic, Zen and the Art of Making a Living, he offers a mix of inspiration, philosophy and how-to in a step-by-step format that entails creating a vision, committing to it, following through and periodically evaluating one's progress. Rooting his concepts in common sense and clear language, Boldt illustrates them with bracing quotations, graphics, related questions and exercises (including examples of how Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo might have responded to them). As in his other books, readers can dive into the chapters in any order that dovetails with their goals, skills and interest level. Those familiar with Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way books will find Boldt's daily log and "manifestation journal" familiar, while those who have read widely in the genre will find his approach to topics like visualization, overcoming fear, and sharpening one's focus and decision making reminiscent of Barbara Sher's Wishcraft, Susan Jeffers's Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."

- Publishers Weekly


"As might be surmised from the title, Zen Soup, this book draws upon Buddhism for many of its quotations, as well as the categories or quotes. Some of the subjects are: Be here now, Beginner's mind, The art of Zen, and Selfless service. If Buddhist philosophy is your cup of tea, this is the quote book for you.

"However, there is much here for the non-Buddhist as well. some of the other subject areas are Courage, Creativity, Humor, and Integrity. Quotes from many authors and many points of view are represented.

"The quotes are mainly short, and tend to be inspirational. They mostly match up well with the topic. In structure, the book consists of a subject, with a little over a page of commentary on the topic, and then from two to half a dozen pages of quotations. It is small enough to carry easily, and has plenty of white space on the pages.

"A nice selection, and a worthwhile book."