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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "U-Turn" inspired my own change of direction.
After hitting forty in 2006 I had the usual male "mid-life crisis." Buying a Harley three years before hadn't headed my mantastrophe off at the pass, and I began to ask various questions: Am I doing what I should be doing? Do I really believe in the faith of my youth? How come forty doesn't look like I imagined it would be at twenty? I looked for some good books to...
Published on July 23, 2008 by Erik Olson

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ramble ramble
I forced myself to finish this wordy, rambling book. Yes, there is some valuable info, but it has to be extracted from a lot of story telling and excessive(sometimes abstract)example giving followed by a lack of conclusion or direction. I think the book could be revised to be more concise and to provide better direction to a possible "U-Turner".
Published on July 10, 2012 by seeB


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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "U-Turn" inspired my own change of direction., July 23, 2008
By 
Erik Olson "Seeker Reviews" (Ridgefield, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life? (Paperback)
After hitting forty in 2006 I had the usual male "mid-life crisis." Buying a Harley three years before hadn't headed my mantastrophe off at the pass, and I began to ask various questions: Am I doing what I should be doing? Do I really believe in the faith of my youth? How come forty doesn't look like I imagined it would be at twenty? I looked for some good books to help me with my angst, and when I laid eyes upon "U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life?" I eagerly grabbed it. I'm glad I did, because it was a catalyst for a major quest that resulted in a momentous U-turn.

Bruce Grierson indicates that a strong gut feeling is a sign that a potential U-turn is on the horizon. Symptoms can include anxiety, asking deep questions, and perhaps even an epiphany. However, we have to decide whether or not to acknowledge the gut feeling. If we put our head in the sand, then the U-turn can be smothered. But if we run with the gut, then we're on the path to course correction. In my case, it appears that the alarm of my "social clock" was blaring at full volume. I wasn't where I'd hoped to be, so I had to get there somehow - and I was ready to take a chance (an important aspect of the process). However, I wasn't sure what specific steps to implement. So for awhile, I kept reading, pondering, and arguing with myself over my next move.

As I continued through his book, I was afraid that Mr. Grierson's thesis would peter out and I'd be left high and dry. I'd had that happen before in books where the author's point merited an essay at best. Thankfully, that didn't happen with "U-Turn." He was able to propel his subject matter forward using different and interesting perspectives in each chapter. For example, "The Likely Candidate" asks if there is a U-turn "type"; "The Change of Heart" looks at emotion's role in change; and "The Parole Board's Dilemma" differentiates true U-turns from bogus ones. Page after page I found gold, and as I read I became surer that I needed to obey my gut and act decisively. But what should I do?

Eventually, the answer came to me within the text. Mr. Grierson mentions how taking a life-assessment time-out at the age of forty benefits a man. "U-Turn" was one of two books I read that discussed this idea, and it seemed like a sign. So in the summer of 2007 I took a leave of absence from my job to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain, a trek I had long considered doing. I stepped off from St. Jean Pied-de-Port on July 14th, and 500 miles later on August 24th I walked into Santiago, Spain. The Camino was worth the risk and effort because it stripped me down to a basic level and gave me plenty of time to silence my social clock and work through my pressing issues.

After I returned, I felt like I had completed an important quest. I'd done something arduous that people write books about, and I wasn't the same person as when I left. And what about my own U-turn? Well, the Camino led to that too. The major problem I wrestled with on the Way was my waning Christian faith. Over the years I had struggled with various problematic doctrines, infernal dogmas, and the disparity between faith and experience. Ironically, walking a religious pilgrimage trail served to lead me away from my long-held Christianity. Soon after returning from Spain, I left the Church and became an agnostic.

My fortieth birthday led to a couple of critical events, and reading "U-Turn" was an integral part of that process. It was one of the most helpful life-alteration books I read during my mid-life crisis. Another significant one was the humorous and insightful "Fat, Forty, and Fired" by Nigel Marsh. I recommend both titles for anyone who is reconsidering his or her life's road and looking for the off-ramp.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title could be "Anatomy of a Life Change", November 18, 2010
Anatomy of a Life Change would be a good paraphrase title for this book. The real title is a bit misleading become some may think this book is a how-to guide on how to change your life. It's not. This is a journalist writing a huge thesis on life change, the people who do it, what they did, how they did it, why do they did it, including psychological and sociological analysis and so on. The book is an enjoyable read because it contains such a wide range of stories about people who did big life "u-turns". Grierson shows that a crucial issue for many "u-turners" (the authentic ones anyway) was that who they were did not match what they were doing and they hit a point where they could no longer tolerate the charade.

My only criticism is that at times the reader gets lost in all the detail that Grierson supplies and loses sight of the larger framework. Grierson obviously did mountains of research and talked to a lot of people. At times Grierson's rather urban intellectual slant shows, but this is minor and doesn't divert enough from the quality of the book, for me to say to reject it on this account.

The book gets five stars because I haven't found anything quite like this book. Reading this book helped me get perspective on the u-turns in my own life. More importantly, it helped me figure out what things I still have yet to do. I read this book twice and have recommended it to friends.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insights drawn from fascinating lives, May 15, 2007
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Everyday I encounter people who have made U-Turns and their lives are richer and happier as a result. After reading Grierson's exploration of dozens of people who abandoned or reinvented their previous lives--often in dramatic ways--I am even more inspired and intrigued by the possibility of second chances.

Obviously, Grierson is a great listener and a wonderful storyteller. Unlike most non-fiction books I read, I found this one needed to be read slowly. After one or two stories, I had to stop and think about the tale Grierson had told. Equally inspiring is how obvious it becomes that anyone, anytime, anywhere can find themselves making a U-Turn into an authetic new life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving and absorbing examples of change, May 17, 2008
This review is from: U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life? (Paperback)
I'm still moved by the story about Kevin Kelly and his "second" chance at life. I'm a regular Wired magazine reader (which Kevin Kelly founded) but I didn't know this tidbit about his life. This is just one of the fascinating and often inspiring stories profiled in U-Turn. This book will at the very least make you question how sure you are about everything. Given all the intractable but hopefully not insurmountable problems (healthcare accessibility, climate change, dwindling natural resources) it would be beneficial if everyone questioned at least one long-standing view, even if just to reaffirm their commitment or get a spark for a new idea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ramble ramble, July 10, 2012
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This review is from: U-Turn (Kindle Edition)
I forced myself to finish this wordy, rambling book. Yes, there is some valuable info, but it has to be extracted from a lot of story telling and excessive(sometimes abstract)example giving followed by a lack of conclusion or direction. I think the book could be revised to be more concise and to provide better direction to a possible "U-Turner".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good!, April 17, 2008
By 
"Saul" (Glen Ellyn, IL USA) - See all my reviews
I enjoyed this book a lot. He covers the "phenomenon" of making big personal changes from every possible angle. The examples he relates ( with extensive quotes) make me want to find out more about these interesting people! The last chapters are quite interesting in relating that these personal epiphanies do not always happen in a vacuum... and that social and historical conditions of the time feed the personal changes and contribute to more social change, be it for good or bad, in a cyclical way. I would definitely recommend this book... a great topic to explore even if you are not (yet?) on the road to Damascus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend., December 30, 2014
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This review is from: U-Turn (Kindle Edition)
Lots to think about in this little book...Much to ponder. Interesting. Diverse. Well written. Challenging! Highly recommend.
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a Waste of Time, September 9, 2009
By 
Harlan "harlan8" (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life? (Paperback)
This is an overwhelming hodgepodge of stories about people making and not making changes in their lives. A slew of comments by psychologists and other experts about the motivations of people who make, and sometimes do not make, changes in their lives. But there is no conesiveness, no thesis about how or why people make changes in their lives. There is so much anecdote and commentary, but no real science or even opinion.

Ultimately it does not answer the question, "what if you woke up and realized you were living the wrong life". Its mostly a bunch of hunches about some people who have made changes, but no guide or really insight as to why some people make effective changes to their lives.
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8 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read or so I thought., April 25, 2007
I initially liked this book until as I got further along it became apparent that the author saw this as an opportunity express a political viewpoint. The "U-turners" he chooses as examples are nearly all of the same political bent. It really destroys the author's credibility when he makes it seem that only one kind of person (liberal or conservative) is capable of making a U-turn. Not a book I'd recommend.
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