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Book Review of: Between Trapezes
Between Trapezes, by Gail Blanke
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola
Let's put you in this picture for a moment. Imagine yourself swinging on a trapeze high overhead. Can you let go of one trapeze to grab onto another? Or, would fear keep you from letting go? It's a long way down. Are you sure about your answer?
You may be saying, "Of course I would let go. How else would I be able to do what I'm really supposed to be doing?"
But, would you let go? This metaphor of the trapeze aptly applies in life, and it forms the theme for this book by Gail Blanke. As you read this book, you will gain insight into what degree you let go of the old and embrace the new--or let the old trapeze hold you back. And, you will find practical insights to help you do what you are really supposed to be doing.
You may find that you aren't letting go, after all. Most of us find this to be very difficult, if not completely alien.
What if you let go of the trapeze and could not catch the next one? You would fall. In the circus, you'd have a safety net. In real life, you seldom have one. And that is enough to paralyze us into letting go, so that we soar to the next trapeze bar. Instead, we hang onto the old one, letting fear rob us of the opportunity to fly to new rewards and new adventures. In the process of hanging on, we may stop moving and fall anyway. And many people do.
So, what does Ms. Blanke have to tell us about letting ourselves be between trapezes?
Ms. Blanke established herself in the executive ranks, first at Avon. She is now CEO of Lifedesigns. Her string of accomplishments started in her youth, when she was a champion swimmer. She missed qualifying for the US Olympic team by one tenth of a second! She is a motivational speaker with other books to her credit. She's also an executive coach, and her clients include such notables as Senator Bob Graham.
She has spent a fair amount of time between trapezes herself, and in this book she shares insights that are both practical and motivational. She walks through case histories that show how she and other successful people faced and overcame doubts--how they let go of the old trapeze bar and grabbed the new one. And she provides exercises that can help you do the same.
If you're stuck in the same old routine and wonder if there's more to life, the answer is yes. If you work hard at your job but can't seem to get ahead, the answer is probably in this book. If you just can't bring yourself to let go of old notions or old doubts about yourself or others, this book will show you how.
One old notion many people have is they are right about others being wrong. Being right in this way feels good at first. But, it keeps you hanging onto the trapeze of what others are doing wrong rather than allowing you to reach for the trapeze of what you are doing right. Listen to yourself talk. Is it about "them" or about you?
If you are mulling over what other people did, you are hanging onto the old trapeze. Playing the "somebody done me wrong" song simply is not going to allow you to create an environment for success. You have to move on. The same cure applies if self-doubts make you put a death grip on the old trapeze so that you cannot be the person you are capable of being.
Let go of the old, and embrace the new. Ms. Blanke expertly guides the reader in exactly how to do that. You've got to make moves anyhow, no matter which trapeze you hang onto. Why not make the right moves, by letting go of the old trapeze? Once you allow yourself to be between trapezes, you will be able to use the new trapeze to reach new highs of success.
I found the book a delightful read, and it made me think in new ways. That's a refreshing combination. More than that, it's a winning combination.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.