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Single Effort: How to Live Smarter, Date Better, and Be Awesomely Happy Paperback – November 14, 2012
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About the Author
Single Effort grew out of Joe’s learning curve following a painful divorce. Through trial and a healthy dose of error, Joe learned to approach single life – and life in general – with smarts and heart, leading to newfound confidence and exciting new adventures.
Equally at home cooking a meal for his kids, crooning karaoke on a night on the town, deciphering the world of dating for his readers, or traveling the globe, Joe believes that it’s what’s inside that counts – that happiness comes from following your passion, loving and being loved, and ultimately, finding peace within yourself.
Joe Keller is a father of two, an entrepreneur at heart, and a lifelong learner. His personal quest is to live a fulfilling, awesomely happy life and to help others do the same.
Joe shares his passion for helping others through volunteer work in the U.S. and abroad, via his writing, and through public speaking. Joe makes his home in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Learn more about Joe at www.SingleEffort.com.
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The title comes, obviously, from the effort of living single in a world geared to couples. But it also describes Keller's belief that we can make one effort fill two goals. Keeping your house isn't just about having a presentable place to sleep; it's a way to maintain a relationship with your kids, and a cue to dates about your personal qualities. Self-improvement efforts, such as fitness classes, can double as low-pressure opportunities to meet women.
Some of Keller's advice is specific to divorcés: How to divide your marital possessions. How to make not just a living space, but a life worth living, at an age when you didn't expect such upheaval. How to decorate a house so your kids feel at home, but your date doesn't think you're still hung up on your marriage. Some of this isn't divorce-specific, though, considering that many engagements and courtships can outlast modern marriages.
Other advice applies to men at any relationship stage, and even to unmarried women. What do you need to make a complete kitchen? How do you keep a clean house on a single person's tight time schedule--and when do you consider it a good investment to hire a professional cleaner? What household appurtenances are worth the money, and which will turn into mere household clutter? When the time comes, where can you meet a potential mate?
Speaking of dates, Keller dedicates the second half of his book to the presumption that, even if you're single now, you don't expect that for the rest of your life. Midlife courtship is categorically different than college romance, and many of the standards, like where to meet women and how to comport yourself, have changed. Dating is its own unique skill set, especially when you and she may both have kids, and Keller breaks it down into manageable, bite-sized nuggets.
Perhaps Keller's most important advice is not about dating, or housekeeping, or surviving the divorce. Underlying nearly every piece of advice, Keller wants to make sure you remain willing to live with yourself. You will never keep peace with your ex, maintain a relationship with your kids, build a life and career worth maintaining, and meet your next possible spouse, unless you first can stand your own company. That's harder than it sounds, but Keller is there to help you out.
Many midlife bachelors have a passive attitude to being single. After all, our parents probably expected us to meet our spouses in school or early in our work lives; they never instilled the skills for late life singlehood. Keller provides the guidance we wish we'd had earlier on how to remain active in our own bachelorhood. Don't wait for a wife to take control of your life. Be the man worthy of such a wife, now.
Single Effort covers a number of subjects, including divorce, shopping, housewares, wardrobe, cooking, wine, self improvement, and dating. Some of the topics may be unusual, but Keller's intention is to build a broad foundation for success. He speaks of incorporating a principle called "single effort". These are basically actions or activities that serve more than one positive purpose, with the goal being to maximize the benefit of what you do. An example is taking aerobics classes, because it helps to improve your health, as well as provide opportunities to meet new women. It's nothing new or revolutionary, but it's a "shortcut" term that Keller repeatedly uses.
Keller believes that men should strive to be a "chivalrous Good Knight", which translates to treating all women with respect and kindness. And a man making his home a "female friendly" environment, increases his chances of success in building a relationship. This involves a man attempting to look at his lifestyle with a woman's perspective, something that most males might have difficulty with. Fortunately Keller provides a variety of recommendations, although some of his ideas might seem questionable, such as a fixation with scented candles, and fresh flowers.
Like most "self help" books, the recommendations are rather general and generic. Key individual factors like age, race, religion, physical characteristics, hobbies, and where you may reside, are not mentioned much. It is up to the reader to take the advice, and filter or modifying it according to their individual personality and situation.
If you already know your way around the kitchen, the chapters about cooking and recipes, may not be of major interest. If the topic of wine seems completely superfluous, or if detailed recommendations regarding housekeeping products are a bit too much, these may also be chapters to skim over.
What will probably be the deal breaker, are Keller's strategies for dating, although women and dating aren't really covered until Chapter 8 of 14. Keller begins with discussing where to meet women, and how to prepare to enter the dating world. He also provides tips for the critical first and second dates, and then provides some very solid and practical advice regarding online dating, which may be virgin territory for some readers. Overall, Keller provides some pretty sensible advice regarding romance, that even if not directly applicable, at least provides some things to consider. Again, some suggestions may seem odd, like recommending doing volunteer work on a first date, and some of his sample messages and emails seems a bit dubious, but Keller usually provides enough sensible options, to make up for those that are inappropriate or weak.
Writing in a relaxed style with a positive attitude, Keller attempts to provide a comprehensive strategy for success. Those looking primarily for dating advice, may feel that the book spends too much time in "Rachael Ray" territory, covering things like dealing with a stuck toilet, choosing cookware, and selecting household cleaners. It's a valid criticism, as Keller occasionally goes a little overboard imparting information. However you can't say that he didn't make abundantly clear what his concept of "female friendly" is. Nothing in love is guaranteed, and not everyone will find success "single efforting", but readers are provided with much food for thought. And Keller's website has links to download documents that are featured in the book.
While Joe Keller shares much, he does keep a few things to himself. He currently resides in Michigan, but doesn't disclose the kind of work he does, and only hints that he may have found success in love, using his own methods. Being a father, Keller touches on how children may factor into a relationship for a guy, but not in great depth. The question of how a woman's children might figure into the love equation is not even broached. If her kids don't like you (which is quite possible), what is a guy to do? This topic is very significant, as most women make their children a very high priority.
This book was sent to me by the publisher at no cost. Although I did not promise to write a review, in this very rare instance, I made the time to read Single Effort, and believe that it reflects both Joe Keller's good intentions, and sense of morality. As an avid Amazon customer and reviewer, it was quite amusing to read that Keller strongly recommends shopping at Amazon, in part because high quality reviews can be found here (can't argue with that!). Just in case he happens to read this, I want to thank Joe for his insightful book, which hopefully will be of much benefit to others.
Joe Keller "tells it like it is" about dating after he went through his own divorce and entering into the 21st century dating scene. Keller says, "Though it can be difficult to see until after the dust has settled, divorce can be liberating. It can give you the freedom to pursue life in the way you have always wanted, giving you a chance to follow new interest, passions and meet new interesting people."
I am a female, divorced 16 years ago and wanted to read what a man's perspective was on getting divorced and reentering into the dating game of life. You will love Chapter 8: Meeting New women, because Keller tells you where to meet women, and asking her out on a date. Chapter 12 talks about online dating as well and will guide you to all of the secrets to a successful relationship and possible lifetime partnership. If you are a single individual, this is one guide that will ease your mind when it comes to meeting someone and building the confidence to thrive in the dating world of this era.
This is a guide for the single guy but can also be read by males or females, single or not because it gives a unique dating perceptive of ideas. © 2013 Jackie Paulson
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