This book is a probing examination of how to assess and dispense with the stresses of life.
In this comparatively short, accessible volume, Marshall takes aim at an omnipresent element of modern existence: stress. Innumerable studies have linked stress to a wide array of health problems, from heart disease to ulcers to depression, and Marshall offers advice based on the idea that stress is largely a person’s own creation.
“Creating good habits takes time, patience and resolve, and you will inevitably encounter setbacks along the way,” Marshall writes. “But the key is to never give up—and in a few short months, you may find yourself on the road to the way of life you truly desire.”
As the book unfolds its road map, it emphasizes three areas. The first are unrealistic or unhelpful assumptions that readers make, which can escalate stress levels. The second are physical aspects that are often key to managing stress—poor posture, poor eating and sleeping habits, lack of exercise, and so on. The third is the motivation of oneself and others.
Again and again, the author reiterates that people need not grant circumstances the power to dictate responses—a very useful reminder. As in his other books, Marshall presents his precepts in clear, ringing prose that’s intent on encouraging rather than scolding.
Some of these precepts—such as that one should never give up or that one is the captain of one’s own ship—are on the platitudinous side, but they’re no less valuable for that. Throughout his discussions, Marshall focuses on personal responsibility—the choices that one makes to control one’s personal finances, one’s exercise routines, and the way that one frames how one interacts with the world: “There is a problem when we think our responses are automatically controlled by external stimuli.”
Live WITHOUT STRESS contains a wide-ranging and convincingly sympathetic approach to understanding and dealing with all kinds of stress.
KIRKUS REVIEWS November 21, 2017