BOOK REVIEW: WE – A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel

BOOK REVIEW: WE – A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel

HarperCollins Publishers
March 2017
Paperback, $29.99
Reviewed by Natalie Salvo

Non-Fiction/Self-Help & Personal Development

7.5/10

A journalist and an actor walk into a bar. It’s not a joke, rather the pair come together to write a manifesto about how to live life including the things you should do and the things you can bear. The result is WE – A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Jennifer Nadel and Gillian Anderson (of The X-Files fame). The results are not the newest or the most ground-breaking ideas but they are well-packaged and delivered in a manner that’s straight-forward, engaging and practical.

Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel are friends who penned this self-help manual in response to various problems in the world. These include things like the high incidence of mental illness, rising rates of domestic violence, the treacherous conditions in the developing world and the fact that women do the majority of the work but make a fraction of the wages in pay. This volume won’t solve everything but it does capture a significant niche in the market. It’s also being billed as a “Feminist Manifesto” and in some ways this is true because it advocates for equality and supporting the sisterhood but it also differs from contemporary feminist literature because it is not particularly forceful in its approach.

WE is a journey based on nine principles that have been taught by sages and saints throughout the ages and they have the power to transform your life and the world around you.
It isn’t a lifestyle choice to be bolted onto our normal ‘me-centred’ way of living; it’s a path of radical transformation that puts compassion for the world at its core.

This book is divided into four essential practices: gratitude, gentleness, responsibility and meditation. There is a heavy emphasis on spirituality and meditation and so this message may not resonate so much with “women everywhere.” In each chapter the authors thread together ideas they’ve borrowed from other people as well as some interesting quotes, thought-provoking exercises, and affirmations that are an excellent antidote to the toxic messages we hear every day from ourselves or society in general.

Use this book as a guide and a source of inspiration. If you’re hurting, it will help you heal. If you’re lost, it will steer you home. If you’re searching for a purpose, it will gently lead you towards fulfilment.

WE is also divided into nine separate principles of advice that range in level from the simplistic to the profound. They are: honesty, acceptance, courage, truth, humility, peace, love, joy and kindness. As the reader proceeds through each section they should keep a notebook handy so they can track their responses and plot their journey in more detail. There are some helpful nuggets of advice found within these pages, like making sure you try to schedule regular fun or nurturing experiences for yourself; trying to remove false senses of self from your mind; and ways you can deal with and overcome intrusive thoughts. A lot of the text promotes self-care, overcoming self-doubt, and banding together to challenge the notion of the superwoman ideal that is perpetuated by society.

Being in conflict with reality is no different from banging your head against a brick wall and wondering why it hurts. Until you accept that the wall is there, you’ll get bruised again and again and again. But once you accept it’s there, you begin to have choices. You can work out how to get over it, under it or round it. Or you might decide to grow roses against it or to use it for shade.

WE is a cumulative self-help guide by two friends who claim to have experienced their fair share of ups and downs and have come out the other side with a swag bag full of useful psychological tools and advice they have collected from many different sources. This book also has an extensive list of additional reading sources for individuals who may be seeking further information in their quest for self-actualisation and fulfilment. WE is certainly a good starting point because it’s an overwhelmingly warm, positive, and easy-to-follow guide that may not be perfect, and certainly isn’t the only thing a woman needs to get out from under society’s thumb, but absolutely fills an important spot in this complicated, modern world.

BOOK REVIEW: WE - A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel

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