on September 18, 2007
I received an advanced copy of this book after meeting Deborah Norville at a book signing at a book expo in New York City this Summer, and I read it in one sitting (with notes!?!). I couldn't put it down! She is as dynamic of a writer as she is in person (and on TV) - she was very warm and gracious, and after reading her book, it is clear that she practices what she preaches. Her book is a seamless compilation of stories from her own life (one of my favorites is the one about the 'airport cat'), other people with incredibly interesting research sprinkled throughout supporting how being gracious and the power of thankfulness can truly impact your life in a positive way. It was a fantastic read that I recommend to everyone. Enjoy!
on October 4, 2007
I loved reading this book because of the positive things it stirred up inside of me. The stories were inspiring but more importantly I recognized what I was missing on those days I wasn't so grateful. Thanks Ms. Norville for reminding us of not only the importance but the incredible benefits of saying thank you. I see more clearly now how it's really up to me to participate in making my own day a great one and how easily I can also help make someone else's! I wish everyone would read this book. Can you imagine how much nicer our world would be?
While you won't find any earth-shattering revelations in this book, Deborah Norville does a great job of reminding us of the power -- and importance -- of gratitude in our lives. She has an easy-to-read style and some great reminders, but overall, the book is a bit light on the examples (and some of those she uses don't really seem to apply to the point she's trying to make). I think this book could have been a 2000-word magazine article instead of a whole book.
All the same, gratitude is important and overlooked, and I appreciate the reminder!
on December 21, 2008
One rainy day last week I wandered into a bargain bookstore and picked up Thank You Power by Deborah Norville. Initially I was put off by the airbrushed photo of the author, plastic-pretty dressed in corporate-glam attire (one should always be wary of a book cover that's dominated by the author's picture, unless it's a biography). But because I was feeling a bit flat, and the book was drastically reduced, I decided to put aside my preconceived ideas and purchase it. The cultivation of gratitude has long been a part of my spiritual practice, so I hoped a book on the science of thankfulness would lift me out of my slump.
As I progressed through the chapters, I was pleasantly surprised. The book is well structured, with quotes from notables such as Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Brother David Steindl-Rast, and James M. Barrie. There are practical exercises including a Thank You Power checklist, a Gratitude Questionnaire, and pithy sayings--for example, "find a blessing in something bad".
Overall, I was enjoying the book and would probably have given it three or even four stars until I got to Chapter Six, ironically entitled "Stop Staring in the Mirror--Look Out the Window Instead". The chapter opens with the question: "Want to feel good about yourself? Do something for someone else." Nothing wrong with that. But then Deborah goes on to relate an episode from her life when she gave a lecture at the Dayton Junior League: "Those Junior League ladies were dressed to a tee: great makeup and hair, pretty spring suits, and some fancy looking footwear...The ladies laughed about how badly their feet hurt, but we all agreed: at times you have to suffer for beauty. Each of us might be enduring pain, but we felt like a million bucks wearing such cool shoes."
Deborah then notices the stage manager, a complete stranger with whom she feels an "instant rapport", dressed in Levis and tennis shoes, and takes it upon herself to tell her that she'd also look great in makeup and "superhot pumps" and exhorted the poor woman to stop being "one of the guys" and "embrace her femininity". That's Ms Norville's idea of doing something for someone else.
With feelings of violence, I stopped reading then and there. I don't know about anyone else, but if a buttinski like Deborah Norville came to me with such unsolicited advice, I'd have let fly with a few choice expletives that I won't inflict here on my gentle amazon readers. This author is just typical of the prevailing "extreme makeover" culture that leaves so many women feeling inadequate because they don't conform to the standards of beauty set up by such self-proclaimed fashion police as Norville and her ilk.
At the age of 57, I'm happy to have reached the point where I can go without makeup and wear my jeans and tennis shoes (or sweat pants and Crocs) with pride, knowing that true femininity and beauty come from within. And as far as "thank you power" is concerned, I'm grateful I could find a blessing in something bad: that I didn't pay full price for what ultimately turned out to be a disappointing and irrelevant piece of superficiality.
I am a self-help publication junkie, so the description of this book interested me. I thought it would be right up my alley. Listening to the first CD of the 4-CD set, I enjoyed some of the content but didn't like Deborah's narration. I wanted to like it because she seems very personable on TV. Her style of vocal delivery is well suited for "Inside Edition" TV news magazine articles, but doesn't go with the touchy feely topic of gratitude and giving thanks for all that comes your way. In my mind, this material should be delivered with a gentler, more spiritual tone.
I have loved listening to gratitude authors such as Sarah Bon Breathnach ("Simple Abundance") and Thich Nhat Hanh ("The Art of Mindful Living"). They offer inspiration and set a calm and comfortable mood with their spoken word. Their audio books are like curling up in a warm blanket by a fire -- very comforting. I have so much stress in my life that I need this kind of quiet, thoughtful time to relax.
Listening to Deborah's book was not this type of experience for me. Her content is very "newsy" and overtly built upon the premise of her conclusions being scientific. As a student of psychology, I had this drummed into my mind during college: Correlation is not Causation. This means that just because two factors appear at the same time on a consistent basis, it is important to remember that one does not necessarily cause the other. For example, if the phone ring every time I'm in the shower, it doesn't mean that my going into the shower causes the phone to ring. I felt very skeptical about the studies that Deborah describes and wants us to accept as solid fact. Just because people who express gratitude seem to be healthier does not mean that if I start being more grateful, I will become healthier. The explanation for these two things -- grateful and healthy -- consistently appearing at the same time could mean that healthy people find it easier to be grateful. Her data and research do not convince me, but my gut feeling is that being grateful probably does have a positive impact. But I think Deborah needs to be very careful about the claims she makes. She ties things together neatly that we want to believe, but I don't buy the science behind it. And I'm usually not a cynic. It's just that her reasoning sets off my "imposter" radar. Especially the way Deborah sums up stories by saying it is "Thank You Power" that improved these people's lives. It makes it sound like her special formula of gratitude is the answer when it's really just your common, everyday thankfulness available to all at no cost.
In the 2nd through 4th CDs, she goes through tons of soundbite stories of people who have been grateful and the great things that have happened to them, but they get tedious piled on top of each other and I started losing interest. I wanted to like this audio book, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.
In summary, I think this should have been a 1-CD book. Stick with the first CD as it is, but have someone else read it who is more calming and has a more spiritual delivery. The good thing is that I think men would probably enjoy this delivery where a book/audiobook like "Simple Abundance" is probably too female-foused for them to enjoy.
on October 14, 2007
The power of Gratitude has been written about by numerous authors over the years. What is encouraging is the growing amount of scientific work going into proving that having an attitude of gratitude has positive impacts not only on our relationships with others, but also on our health. Psychologist Robert Emmons, at UC Davis, has been among the leaders in studying the impact and his recently released book, "Thanks", is a great companion read to this book.
Deborah Norville has made an important contribution to advancing knowledge of the power of gratitude because of her being a celebrity. Like it or not, in our celebrity crazed society, Norville will likely be read by many more than academics like Emmons et al. But, that is a good thing as it will magnify the impact of the works of Emmons and others.
Besides kudos for writing on this subject, Norville deserves credit for way she has has woven, throughout the book, a plethora of references to leading studies on the subject of gratitude. The result is a book that is both educational and uplifting, a rare combination worthy of five stars. This is much more than the typical celebrity, happy talk, PR piece.
Nicely done, Ms. Norville. Now if only, we could get millions more to practice living a life of gratitude. Of course, believers in gratitude know that the key to spreading gratitude is to role model living a life of gratitude, each and every day, in every way. For sure, such is challenging in the often negative world, but definitely the right choice.
PS This is a great book to give as a gift to those joining us for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday!
on October 24, 2007
The premise behind THANK YOU POWER by Deborah Norville is a simple one; i.e., that we should
all be more grateful for what we have . . . yet unfortunately, we often
forget to express such gratitude--and that's a shame.
Saying thanks can be fun . . . it can also make you feel better . . . in
addition, it can even help you make more money as was pointed out
in this one study:
* Waitresses who simply wrote "thank you" on the check
before handing it to their customers received on average 11 percent
more in tips than those who didn't. Waiters who wrote a message about
an upcoming dinner special on their checks also received higher tips.
On average, their tips increased by 17 to 20 percent. In a world where
personal connections seem increasingly limited, and sometimes stressful
when they do occur. Thank You Power has great resonance.
Norville also points out that saying thanks can help turn around those
who have not been kind to you in the past, such as if you did the
* What would happen if you came to work one day and said, "Hello,
how are you? I baked cookies last night; want some?" Remember
how that bag of candies made the doctors better thinkers? There
may be someone who secretly has the dagger out for you, or perhaps
he or she is just insecure and, in that insecurity, has been acting
like a nitwit. A small gesture directed toward that person cost you
little and could change him or her a lot.
For one thing, it makes people more willing to resolve conflict.
In one experiment, test subjects were told to sit quietly, make jokes,
offer someone candy, or say they were uptight. Then they were put
into a dispute that had to be resolved. The people who offered candy
or make jokes were more likely to collaborate and work with the
other parties to resolve the dispute. Once again, the good feelings
from Thank You Power contribute to desired results. And there are
many ways to bring Thank You Power to the workplace.
I also liked the quotes that were incorporated into each chapter,
including this one:
*When other people are made to feel important and appreciated, it
will no longer be necessary for them to whittle others down in
order to be seen bigger by comparison.- -Virginia Arcastle
Do get hold of this book, either for yourself or for those that
you care about . . . keep in mind, too, that it would make an
ideal gift for the upcoming holiday season . . . and I bet if you
give it, you'd even get some thanks for having done so!
on December 18, 2008
I just simply wasn't 'wowed' by this audio book. I didn't think that it told me anything that I didn't know already. Who hasn't ever heard that having a positive outlook on life benefits you?
The book wasn't horrible, it was just very 'bla' I guess. And that's why I've held off writing a review for this for so long, because I don't really have anything good to say about it, nor bad. But I will try to elaborate.
Good: It reminds you to be positive. She gives some studies and examples to back that up.
Bad: I already know I'm supposed to be positive and already try to do that. Many of her examples didn't 'click' with me, or even, disturbed me.
It was ironic that so much of her book was about how hearing about happy things makes you more positive, and then all of her stories were really disturbing. Like, a story about a woman who was mauled by a mountain lion.
In conclusion, I can't really recommend this book.
on June 1, 2009
This book is not only poorly written (complete with grammatical errors), it's also completely off topic. Less about the enormous power of incorporating gratitude into one's life, it's more a rehash of sensationalistic tabloid stories from "Inside Edition" -- each twisted to somehow incorporate the "thank you" message. These include a story about Deborah buying shoes for a stage worker so the stage worker could be more feminine. What?! Completely, utterly worthless and not even worth a sale price in the bargain bin.
on May 20, 2013
But I would like to have a deeper look into how being grateful for everything in your life changes your expectations. Deborah told about her trauma on national TV. This affected her deeply. Naturally, I mentally compared it to any woman that was beaten by her husband, had a horrible time getting away from him, but managed to do so-alive. Then went to technical school to get a job in IT while support 2 traumatized children. But then I realized that both traumatic situations in each woman's life was equally traumatic at that moment. Each had to live thru it and find a way of accepting it and being grateful for the next step in their life-whatever that may be. So I gave it 4 stars. Traumatic events in a person life can't be judged against another persons' event.