A banal self-help guide to restoring balance in your busy life.
It’s curious that, at the time of writing, there don’t appear to be any reviews of this book on the usual websites or in other publications, other than a self-promoting blurb on the Sussan clothing line’s website. Could this be because it really doesn’t have much to say that would be useful and/or that it is written in a plodding, tedious style?
Authors Shannah Kennedy and Lyndall Mitchell are ‘The Essentialists’. To give you a flavour of their book, here are some of their top tips taken from a range of their simple disciplines:
- Keep compliments on file
- Commit to a daily decluttering routine
- Create solutions to remove the roadblocks
- Limit screen time…avoid it after 5pm
- Stay home in the evening hours
- Join a new group
- Make friendships a priority
From this short, fairly random list one can see the advice is at times contradictory, often impractical and always banal. Once they have added in their hints and tips on deep breathing, essential oils, getting out in nature and detox rituals, I can readily see why the only place – outside of the publisher’s and authors’ websites – this book is promoted is on a fashion house website.
Shannah Kennedy and Lyndall Mitchell claim more than 30 years combined experience of coaching and mentoring to individuals and businesses and the ideas in Restore are clearly a collection of the often-simplistic tools presented in life coaching and team building exercises.
I would argue that the authors’ suggestion for readers to ‘dip into [the book] to nurture, nourish, reconnect and refuel’ themselves is only applicable on the most superficial reading of the text as they seem unable to maintain an argument for the length of the very short 5 or 6 page chapters.
Look at Chapter 10, Revive with Yin Movement,for instance: they define Yin as female energy and then highlight female attributes which will apparently benefit those around you as well as oneself, all the sexist stereotypical passive and caring notions that feminism has been struggling against. They recommend you ‘find a purpose’ but not display drive or motivation as that is Yang (male) energy. Then it is suggested you should turn inward and at the same time communicate and build trust with others. However, at the same time one should not be sociable, extroverted or reach out to others – again Yang energy.
If you can accomplish all this while simultaneously relaxing and restoring your energy then you’re a better person than I am.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: April 2019