Book Review: You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls

October 1, 2009 at 3:08 am | Posted in Book Reviews, Resources, Wellness | Leave a comment

Man, You Can Do It! is an awesome book. The premise is ingenious: the author offers six categories — Dare, Create, Learn, Play, Deal (as in, “deal with it!”), and Connect — each of which contains 10 intriguing projects, ranging from walking on fire to basic saving and investment.

This book is not specifically tied to bipolar disorder, obviously, but it’s jam-packed with fun projects for those of us who have a hard time thinking of or maintaining hobbies. On those days when you’re absolutely bereft of ideas, this is a great book to pick up. In fact, this book has had a substantial influence on my life, since two of the projects — yoga and beading — have turned into life-improving near-obsessions.

The author, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, divides each project into several sections, including basic information on how to get started, “The Payoffs,” a mentor spotlight on a woman accomplished in each discipline, project-specific sidebars (the section on starting a rock band includes a list of “rock music Meccas”), and resources that include websites, books, movies, and classes and workshops. For each project, she really does provide all of the information you need to get started.

Though the book focuses on women, men could benefit from the step-by-step instruction as well — certainly most guys can use advice on gardening, budgeting, negotiating, and basic car repairs, though they may be too cool for the sections on, say, knitting and flower arranging.

Unfortunately, Grandcolas won’t be writing any more kick-ass books. She was one of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 during the 9/11 attacks. That’s the flight on which the passengers rebelled and succeeded in crashing the plane in a deserted area before terrorists could ram it into a fourth target. A trained emergency medical technician and all-around resourceful gal, she may well have been involved in that courageous uprising. Proceeds from the book go to a foundation named after the author that supports scholarships and aid for abused women and children. Yet another reason to shell out.

Happy doing!

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