A Review of Amy Newmark's "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Simply Happy"

Simple Soup Suggestions

I smiled when I saw the book cover of Amy Newmark’s "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Simply Happy." Her bright face sits atop a stack of CSS books, and one of my stories is featured in the third one down. Typically, a CSS book is a compilation of 101 stories from different contributors. I enjoyed getting a peek behind the scenes of this popular series as I read through Amy’s personal stories and her references to others.

The theme of how to live successfully by using easy and immediate tips is as refreshing as the new look of the iconic cover and its revamped CSS person on its spine. Amy’s references in this book to the original CSS published in 1993 (the year my son was born), inspires me to add it to my collection.  

My home library includes: "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams & Premonitions," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel," which have stories by my friends Shelley Szajner, Janice Wilson and Marie Gilbert respectively. I chuckled when reading Amy’s references to these familiar books in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Simply Happy."

On page 232 Amy tells how she and her staff choose the 101 stories from thousands they receive for each title: "There is an overarching imperative, and that is to introduce you to positive people whose stories illustrate simple ways to have a happier life." CSS has changed her life with its "positive, resourceful, and resilient stories." Mine too. I have enjoyed the Soup for years.

When a Wall Street investment banker (Amy) tells you you don’t have to be perfect, but to work towards excellence, that certainly realigns my vision of reality. How freeing to consider a problem from an alternate perspective; one that flips the problem so it appears, and then becomes, not so troubling. Or, learning to break down an overwhelming situation into smaller bits to handle in an organized way.

Self-help and improvement is most palatable when it is easy, fast, and digestible in portions that we slice up ourselves. Include unexplainable luck and experiences, and this book sparks an appetite for fine living. (Oct.)



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