Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life

Penguin Pr. Oct. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9780593655955. $28. MEMOIR
Schwarzenegger (Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story), a champion bodybuilder, movie star, philanthropist, and former governor of California (2003–11), gives his motivational recipe for a fulfilling life. Using his varied and multiple careers as examples, he first stresses the importance of taking the time to develop a clear, strategic, and expansive but focused vision. Once a goal has been established, the book emphasizes the importance of hard work, efficiency, self-promotion, and a reassessment of outdated thinking. This title shows the benefit of honestly accepting failures and using them as incentives to move forward. It also highlights the value of listening, learning, and incorporating the experiences of others and the advantage of action-oriented positive thinking. But some readers may find it surprising and unnecessary when Schwarzenegger dismisses the worth of a college education. There’s also no mention of his affair with his housekeeper, his divorce, or his admission of decades of sexual misconduct. The book concludes with his emphasis on the critical significance of working with peers and giving back to the community.
VERDICT Schwarzenegger provides a useful, logical, and sometimes humorous blueprint for general readers to achieve a successful and satisfying life, although he chooses to avoid talking about his own misconduct.
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