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186 of 189 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful tools for living the wayfinder's life
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" is a truth that will manifest itself over and over as this exciting new book is read and shared and read again. The number of markers and underlines and margin notes in my preview copy are testaments to the fact I was ready. I devoured it and now am going back to start practicing the many exercises. The book's purpose...
Published on December 27, 2011 by Elizabeth H. Cottrell

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313 of 334 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't yet read a Martha Beck book, don't choose this one as your first (or second)
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,...
Published on March 18, 2012 by Primrose Hill


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186 of 189 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful tools for living the wayfinder's life, December 27, 2011
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"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" is a truth that will manifest itself over and over as this exciting new book is read and shared and read again. The number of markers and underlines and margin notes in my preview copy are testaments to the fact I was ready. I devoured it and now am going back to start practicing the many exercises. The book's purpose is to help you more clearly identify "what you should be doing with your one wild and precious life."

The author, Martha Beck, has outstanding educational and life experience credentials for writing this book. It is both a sharing of her own life journey as well as a manifesto for anyone ready to embrace their own best life. With a B.A. in East Asian Studies and master's and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from Harvard University, Beck is a trained observer and analyst. Her coaching specialty is helping people design satisfying and meaningful life experiences. She first got on my radar screen as a columnist for Oprah Magazine, where I am regularly impressed with her no-nonsense, delightfully humorous approach to issues about life's questions, fears, and psychological roadblocks.

I recently read Beck's bestselling book EXPECTING ADAM, the story of her 1987-88 pregnancy and giving birth to a Downs syndrome child (new edition in 2011). Its subtitle is "A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic." The unabashed revelation of her own fears, neuroses, and personal/professional challenges at the time was both heart-wrenching and inspiring. Martha has known and overcome tragedy, sadness, and self-limiting thoughts. She is an excellent guide for empowering others to overcome their own life issues. FINDING YOUR WAY IN A WILD NEW WORLD is her ultimate guidebook, the best of her teaching and philosophy in one zinger of a book.

FINDING YOUR WAY IN A WILD NEW WORLD is not going to resonate with everyone. Some will dismiss it as just another pop cultural self-help book. Others will use terms like "woo-woo" and "New Age nonsense." They'd be selling it short. I am a devout Christian with an insatiable curiosity and open mind about spirituality and human potential. This book was filled with research-based findings on the power of our connectedness with each other and with all living things in nature (flora and fauna), and I believe people of any faith will find it enriches, rather than contradicts, their core beliefs.

Beck includes many practical exercises for each section of her book, all designed to exercise the parts of our brain that we don't use enough, to train ourselves to focus our attention, and to tap into the energy that is mostly likely to allow us to find and cultivate our own best selves. They're designed to get us out of our mental ruts!

Here are some hints that this book might be perfect for you right now:
* If you feel a yearning that you can't identify or suppress.
* If you feel the need for clarity and purpose in your life.
* If you're afraid to do things that you think you'd love to do.
* If wild success and abysmal failure both scare you.
* If you feel fragmented with no clear focus in your life.
* If your wild fantasies seem impossible but won't let you go.
* If you feel you're about to explode with possibilities and potential but can't grab on to that one thing that feels just right.
* If you suspect your self-talk is holding you back.
* If you feel like you're bumping your head against one obstacle after another but you're certain there's something better on the other side.
* If you feel the world is changing so fast you can't keep up.
* If you feel stuck and unproductive.
* If you feel in need of emotional healing before you can move on to your real purpose of healing others.
* If you desperately want to make a difference with the rest of your life but don't know what on earth you that might "look like."

If any one of these rings true, you owe it to yourself to read this book. There is a generous excerpt available for free on Amazon. If it doesn't grab you by the time you finish reading those pages, either the book is not for you or the timing is not right in your life.

If the timing is right for you, you'll gain clarity, focus, and powerful tools for living abundantly in the best sense of the word.
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313 of 334 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't yet read a Martha Beck book, don't choose this one as your first (or second), March 18, 2012
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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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Koren Motekaitis, December 27, 2011
I was excited to read Martha's new book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World until I found out that it was about MAGIC. Oh no I thought would this be too woo woo? Would my clients now think I was crazy since I trained with Martha Beck and am one of her coaches? Would my radio listeners turn the dial and look for something else that really applied to their life?

Then I read the book. WOW! I invite you to go beyond the language that Martha uses in her book. Maybe you do not understand what Wordlessness means right now. But when you read the book and practice her tools you will experience and understand Wordlessness. Don't let the ideas or what you think MAGIC, WORDLESSNESS, or some of her other words Martha uses to stop you from at least exploring Martha's latest book. When I read this book I let go of my resistance to the language in her book and Martha opened up information and powerful experiences for me. Her book makes so much sense and her tools can help you.

And like all of Martha's other works she encourages you to test it out for yourself and see if it works. Don't just take her word for it since she is a best selling author and columnist in O, the Oprah magazine.

Unlike other self-help books where you ask yourself, "how can I REALLY apply this to my life?" Martha gives you tools that you can do while living your life in her latest book Finding Your Way In A Wild New World.

I rarely write book reviews eventhough I have used the reviews for 1,000s of books/items for years as a buyer and this time I decided to write a review, because maybe you are skeptical like I was and I wanted you to know that once I let go of my resistance, Martha's book gave me more insight and tools to help myself as well as my clients and listeners on my show.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can You Really Make Money Following Your Bliss?, December 28, 2011
By 
Gina Clowes (www.allergymoms.com) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Did you ever hear one of those interviews when someone says "I feel SO lucky because I get up everyday and I get to do what I love and get paid for it!" ?

Finding Your Way in a Wild New World is a guidebook to enable you to do just that!

After serendipitously being introduced to "Expecting Adam" several years ago, I became huge fan of Martha Beck's writing: intelligent and insightful, yet self-deprecating and silly.

You're having so much fun reading that you hardly realize how much you are learning and that she has equipped you with tools that can change your life.

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of some the exercises in the book. Do them and you're on an expedition that will help you dust off your unique talents, combine them with the lessons you've learned in life (aka bumps in the road) and put them to "work" (play!) in a way that no one else can.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Way, way too out there for me, February 19, 2012
I consider myself a somewhat new-agey person. I believe in things I am far too embarrassed to admit to my agnostic brother, my Catholic best friend, and basically anyone who I've heard mock any metaphysical stuff, ever. I have an open-mind and love the quote, "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
And I've been a very strong fan of Martha Beck through the years. I loved Finding your North Star, the Joy Diet, and the Four-Day Win.

But this book was way too far out there for me. Bending spoons and "being one" with objects and things...sorry, I'm not buying it. At times it did seem like an ad for her uber-expensive Africa coaching sessions. I really love her O magazine articles, but I strongly suspect the editors there (wisely) keep her more woo-woo ideas out of them. If you want her advice, Finding Your North Star is far and away her best book.

The problem, I realize, might be *me*-that I'm just not open-minded or metaphysical enough-but I think most Americans will find this book too out there.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Successor to Her Earlier Coaching Books, January 2, 2012
I will read any book by Martha Beck. She is one of my heroes, for her courage in confronting and leaving the totalitarianism of the Mormon church, and one of my saints for the compassion and love with which she wrote about her journey away from a religion and family that caused her untold sorrow and suffering. In my personal life, her earlier coaching books, starting with Finding Your Own North Star, have steered me through huge life changes and troubles with difficult people. I take at least one of her books on each duty trip, to keep up my spirits and keep me connected to my true self.

Nonetheless, I wondered whether she could write another book that was as good, as helpful, as rereadable, as her earlier ones have been for me. The answer is yes, I am happy to say. The general message of Finding Your Way could be thought of as broadly the same as her earlier books: There is a way for you to live in the world that is right for you; you must live that way to be happy and healthy; here are the steps you can take to find that way for yourself. But this book is not a repetition of what she's said before in any way that detracts from its usefulness. This time, she focusses her advice on a group of people she calls the Team: people who feel they should be doing something to help the world, and that the time for them to do it is now. As she says, if you're reading her book, you're probably on the Team--I agree. Her stories, her insights, her advice and practical exercises are all new and very helpful. They don't repeat and they don't supersede the material in her earlier books, they just add a whole lot of wonderful resources. I am already on my second reading--got the book late last week--and expect to cherish and reread it as much as her others. Thank you, Martha!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loving the Wild New World, January 2, 2012
By 
Karen Wan (Chicago, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
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I'm a big fan of Martha Beck, and her new book Finding Your Way In A Wild World is her latest amazing book. She manages to synthesize new ideas about personal transformation in a way that I wish I had thought to do. Her writing also reflects a self deprecating sense of humor that always makes me feel she is one of us. In this book, she provides everything from a recipe on how to make a green "gorilla" smoothie to fun games to play to do your job better.

She covers four technologies of "magic":

Wordlessness
Oneness
Imagination
Forming

Those ideas alone aren't so unusual or new, but the way in which Martha weaves through adventures in Africa and personal experiences is nothing short of genius. If you're interested in approaching personal change through a fun set of writing exercises, this is a great book to buy or get on loan from your local library.

This is my favorite book of hers since reading Finding Your Own North Star. I read that book back in 2003 and it helped me change my life in so many ways, I'll always read everything she writes. '
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will change the way you see your world, January 2, 2012
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Have you ever been so captivated by a book that you didn't want to put it down for anything? This is THAT book. I've read most of Martha's books and Finding Your Way in a Wild New World is my new favorite.

On the release date, I purchased the Kindle version because I didn't want to wait for the hard copy. From the very first page, Martha's story telling captured my attention and I continued to read for the next 4 hours. I devoured the book. Finally, at 1am, my eyelids shut down or I would have kept reading. Then I dreamed about what I read and woke up with new awareness and curiosity about everything around me. Finished this powerful book the next night.

Martha's writing combines epic storytelling, powerful metaphors, pragmatic tools and exercises, all infused with humor. You'll laugh, you'll gasp, you'll love it. When you finish, you'll have all you need to find your path back to your true nature; a state of rest and play. I'll go right ahead and say it, I predict it's the best book I'll read all year.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wise, wondrous, witty, January 2, 2012
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The year is young, but I doubt I'll read another book in the next twelve months as inspiring, smart, and challenging as this one. Ten years ago, reading "Finding Your Own North Star" gave me the tools and the courage to leave my high-paying, high-prestige job. I've used its principles to build a new career that's so much rewarding and just as remunerative. Now Martha Beck's new book is showing me the tools that will help me take my living to a whole new level. I'd been hearing Martha talk about Wordlessness, Oneness, Imagination, and Forming for a while, but it's a revelation to read the depth of research; clear, cogent exercises; and inspiring storytelling in these pages. I've already started sharing the book with my kids and their friends so that the next generation can shape their life paths right out of the gate instead of waiting until their forties the way I did! LOVE this book!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martha Beck's Best Yet--A Companion in Our Wild New World, January 17, 2012
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*****
Martha Beck fans, hold onto your hats, because this book is much more metaphysical than her other books--cutting edge energy medicine meets science, shaman meets researcher, and the mystical meets the ultimately practical. This is my very favorite of all of Martha Beck's books; I agree with one reviewer who said that each of the author's books builds on the one before and reveals more and more of the wisdom that the author has acquired on her personal journey. It is a book that I will reread over and over again; I will also do the exercises repeatedly. I'm not a person who enjoys exercises in books normally, but these are more than that--they are mind-blowing tools for life and for self-discovery, and add so much to the experience of reading this book. It feels as though I've gone on an amazing personal journey, rather than just read a book. I wish I had the words to convey this better.

The book is built on the premise that our world is changing rapidly, and that in order to thrive, we must change how we relate to others and to our environment, how we learn, how we are present and experience life. It is written for those readers who are open to discovering their true nature in ways which involve spirituality and working with energies--all ways which have been scientifically proven, but which also depart from the usual personal development books, career coaching books, and even life coaching books (including other books by Martha Beck). If you're looking for conventional wisdom and/or you are not open to metaphysics, you will not like this book. Otherwise you will be delighted, and, if you do the exercises, your life cannot help but be changed, as mine was.

The book is built upon metaphors from the author's recent travels to Africa. It uses the author's experiences with animals and nature as examples. It is written for readers who discover that they are "wayfinders"--a type of becoming-enlightened seeker-healer who uses "technologies of magic": wordlessness, oneness, imagination, and forming; as well as technology in the traditional sense. When I finished, I felt more in touch with my true nature and had far more clarity than I ever have had before about what I was put here on earth to do. I wish I could convey this better in a review...it is such an unusual book, and for me, a unique and incomparable reading experience.

I would give this book ten stars if I could; it is my new favorite book, ever.

Highly recommended.
*****
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Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want
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