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Book Review: Road to joy is ongoing

June 09, 2010|By Brian McGackin

There are so many inspirational self-help books in stores these days that it can be frustrating trying to figure out which one to buy. If you're the kind of person who needs help working on their confidence or decision-making skills in particular, just going to the bookstore can turn into a nightmare. Every author boasts that their book has all the answers, happiness made simple, five steps to a fulfilling existence, but few actually back up the claims of their book jacket.

It comes down to results, however. No matter how enlightened or informed a self-help book may seem to be, it is often difficult for a book to really change someone's life. In the case of many of these self-help books, the best-case scenario involves a reader being so enthralled that he or she can't put the book down. They go off into the world full of hope and expectation. Six months later, however, half of the information has been forgotten, and old habits begin to return.

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Burbank resident Joan Marques has come up with a way to ensure that the positive work habits she describes stay with her readers, though. In her new book "Joy at Work, Work at Joy: Living and Working Mindfully Ever Day," out this month, Marques offers readers what many other inspirational texts offer: hope for a more joyful and satisfying existence. What she understands that few others seem to have connected with, however, is that change is not just a spontaneous, one-time event. Reading a book once and willing oneself to immediately ascribe to new dogmas is ineffective. Change is a constant process, one that needs to be confronted each and every day.

Marques' book is a refreshingly logical contribution to an otherwise emotional and spiritual field of study.

"Joy at Work, Work at Joy" is designed to not only make it easy to start living a more fulfilling life, but easy to keep living that way. The book is intended to be read once a day instead of all in one sitting, so the reader gradually builds up a way of living over the course of a year. Each page is allocated a day of the year, and broken down into three parts: a "Guiding Quote" that sets the tone for the day; an affirming "Action" that the reader can speak aloud and carry with them in their mind; and a short anecdote, or "Point to Ponder," that illustrates the positive thought in a more concrete manner.

Another small point that actually goes a long way toward making the reader feel more connected to the book is that each "Action" is written in first person.

It never feels as though Marques or the book are telling the reader how to live his or her life. Many inspirational/self-help books use this method, but coupling it with a daily plan is a strong force over the course of a full year.

Marques is no stranger to this type of writing, having co-authored "The Workplace and Spirituality" with Satinder Dhiman and Richard King in 2009. "Joy at Work, Work at Joy," though, is a step up from her previous effort, one that I could easily see being accepted as a future staple of the genre.

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