I received this book as a gift from someone I dearly love. I wonder if that should that guilt me into liking the book? Should I compromise my honest opinions to respect whence it came to my possession? I am afraid that is not who I am. This is my account of Canfield’s “Life Lessons for Women” – brief but uncensored .
This is by no stretch of imagination the kind of book I would choose to read. My reasons: For one, why single women out and treat us so differently – as though we are a different species than our male counterparts? How would our society welcome a book I may title “Life Lessons for Men“? I would surely be attacked with discrimination, sexual bias, and favoritism, among other heinous accusations. I have come to loathe the ‘special treatment’ bestowed upon women, as though we are a lesser kind, or in need of a more gentle approach to life itself. I am glad to stand extremely successful in every aspect of my life without succumbing to the ‘special treatment’ camp!Quite simply, this book was written to address a certain woman in kind – and apparently that must be the norm, because the title says “Women”. It should instead be re-titled more accurately to Weak, Lacking Confidence and Self-Esteem, Needing-Reassurance-and-Hand-Holding Women.
For the life of me, I could not relate to the author and his warped perspective on women. Chapter upon chapter on how women generally lack confidence (we do?), do not value themselves (we don’t?), do not think much of their accomplishments (what?!!!), and ways to help you improve that (oh do tell). Canfield advises us to spend time by ourselves, do something we enjoy, spend time with people we love, do something good for ourselves, and on and on and on. What is this, a lecture for 14 years old debutantes?
Books like these instill those notions in the minds of society and create a picture of a weak woman as the norm – they maybe mean well and yet in order to help solve a nonexistent problem, they create a bigger one it in the process and do little to benefit those they claim they are helping. A confident strong young woman reading this book may be invited to start to doubt the level of her own confidence, strength, and esteem. After all, there is only validation of the opposite here.
Granted, a fair number of women, as well as men no doubt, may suffer from these terrible symptoms and need help. I am certainly not one of them but this book would have done little to change much for me even if I were suffering from those symptoms. There are ideas on how to get your life back on track, if you should become lost – the ideas are not original and fall under common sense category.
I will close on a positive note – I mean well by criticizing this book and my intent is to assert your self-confidence, self-esteem, strength and self-assurance – to raise it even, and to make you realize that the author makes room for too much generalization and too little value in his book.
Here is my life advice, for whatever it can be taken and used, to women and men alike:
be true to yourself
enjoy solitude and your own company
learn the difference between solitude and loneliness
aim to fill the loneliness with friends, family and good society
love yourself and first and foremost always love yourself
pursue your talents and marvel at your skills
use and exercise your brain to keep it sharp
be proud of your accomplishments
aim to do great things in life
Reading is the best pastime for an active mind! If you like to see the other book reviews, check the index of In Print.