04 August 2008

Caught in the Headlights

Unlike many readers and reviewers, I wasn’t drawn to this book by the forward by Glenn Beck or the enthusiastic back-cover endorsements of a Utah author, legislator, and/or radio personality. In the first place, I am not as politically conservative as most people think I am—too much NPR, I fear—and I live in the wrong state to know much of anything about Barry Phillip’s other notable fans. I read the book because of the backliner:

We've all had those “deer in the headlights” moments when we realize we’ve been chasing the wrong things. Caught in the Headlights: Ten Lessons Learned the Hard Way is a frank, insightful look at ten key goals most of us think we want—only to discover our eyes are on the wrong prize. Barry K. Phillips not only entertains, but also examines common values, and enlightens us to the goals we should seek, and what to do differently now that we know better.

The ten “values” most of us seek? Happiness, self-esteem, pride, freedom, control, tolerance, forgiveness, success, the “big event,” and the perfect body. Alas, he is probably dead-on in his assessment of the human condition. (Or maybe he just has me pegged.) Most self-help authors and motivational speakers with Phillips’s keen insight and sharp moral compass are to be avoided at all costs. If they don’t lecture you to within an inch of your life, they will almost certainly drive you to antidepressants. Phillips not only holds the lectures—or at least disguises them very, very well—he is most likely to drive you to sudden fits of uncontrollable laughter. The good news? This very readable and highly enjoyble book will not only make you take a good hard look at your life and possibly resolve to change for the better, it will entertain you and put you in a better mood while you are at it.

In the interest of fairness, I ought to warn you that Barry Phillips is a bit of a show-off. (This is written tongue-in-cheek for those of you who have difficulty determining the inflection in my often murky writing-style.) Not only does he explore each value clearly and candidly, but he illustrates each point with an often-insightful cartoon. As if exposition and illustration weren’t enough for one man, at the end of each essay he tosses in an original poem to . . . I’m not really sure why he did that . . . probably just to prove that he could! This guy is so adept at artistic multi-tasking that it wouldn’t surprise me to learn he’s composed theme music to accompany each section. (Somebody let me know if a soundtrack becomes available.)

Caught in the Headlights is a short book at about a hundred pages, but don’t let the brevity alone draw you in. It’s a ploy. This is a book you will need to read at least twice—I have—and then put in an easily-accessible location so you can pick it up for reference again and again—I did. In a word, Mr. Phillips: Bravo! Oh, wait. Let's make it two words; I need to add another: Thanks!

· Paperback: 116 pages (including forward by Glenn Beck)
· Publisher: Cedar Fort (June 2, 2008)
· ISBN-10: 1599551675
· ISBN-13: 978-1599551678

Buy this book from Amazon HERE!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful review. I don't usually order non-fiction, but I could use a good laugh about life in general right now. And I'm a sucker for illlustrations and poetry, it's just unusual to find them in the same venue. My book is on the way. Thanks for the link. It saves enormous frustration for the electronically challenged ... like me.


Barry said...

Kerry, thanks for the great review. No sound track yet, but I could hum a few bars! I'll check back to answer any questions.
Thanks again,

Cecily Markland said...

Great review! You've made me a fan already even before my own copy of the book arrives! I'd also like to know, is Barry from Utah? What's his background, etc. Guess I need to wait for my book and see for myself.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Hi Kerry,

I just presented you with an award. =)The downside is you'll have to come to my blog to pick it up. (One of those copy and paste things. Sorry about that.)

Julie Wright said...

great review Kerry! It sounds like one I could use. Oh . . . and I didn't write a book in that book in a month thing, but I wrote 20,000 words. eh, not great, but better than the whole year prior :)

Carrie Carp said...

Sister Blair,

It was so good to see you yesterday! Even though it's been like 100 years, I still remember and appreciate your love and leadership growing up! Thank you for that.

Our family blog is jaysonandcarrie.blogspot.com but it's not very exciting. You can definitely get in contact with my folks through it, though. They read it because my son is the favorite grandchild (and will be until another one comes along, he's the youngest right now).

Oh and just to let you know, Jayson is reading "Digging Up the Past" right now... I've got him hooked too! Thank you for your uplifting books that we've been able to add to our library!

Carrie (Johnson) Carpenter