Master Crewe As Henry VIII

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Estelle M. Hurll thus describes this portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds:

Henry VIII. had been dead some two hundred years before the Master Crewe of our picture was born, but English kings are not allowed to be forgotten. Successive generations of children were shown Holbein's portraits of the bluff old ruler, and were taught something about his reign.

It happened one time that the children of Master Crewe's acquaintance had a fancy dress party. The Crewes were people of fashion who entered constantly into social affairs. Naturally there was much discussion over their son's part and costume. It was a happy thought which fixed upon the character of Henry VIII., for the boy's round face, square shoulders, and sturdy frame were well fitted for the rôle.

Evidently no pains were spared to make the costume historically correct. Holbein's portrait was the costumer's model, and every detail was faithfully followed. The boy is dressed in the fashion of the sixteenth century in "doublet and hose." This consists first of a richly embroidered waistcoat, the most effective part of the dress. The sleeves are made of the same material and are gathered at the wrists in a ruffle. The lower part of the doublet is a skirt falling just above the knees.

Over all is flung a handsome mantle; but this is drawn apart in front to display the smart waistcoat to full advantage. A broad-brimmed hat set jauntily on one side, and trimmed with a long feather, completes the costume. By way of ornament is worn a big jewelled collar and a long chain with locket. A short sword swings from the girdle, and on the left leg is the garter, which is the badge of membership in the ancient Order of the Garter, of which Henry VIII. was the tenth sovereign member. This is of dark blue ribbon edged with gold, and bearing in gold letters the motto "Honi soit qui mal y pense".

It is one thing to have a perfect costume, and another to understand the rôle. Master Crewe not only looks his part, but he acts it as well. He has not failed to take in all the points of the portrait, and imitates the pompous attitude to perfection. He stands with feet wide apart, grasping his gloves in the right hand and supporting the other on the sash.

He is a bright boy, who enters into the spirit of the game, and it tickles him hugely to play the part of a despot. But while he is Henry VIII. in miniature, he is Henry VIII. without the king's coarseness, and in the place is a child's innocent pleasure. It was no wonder that his parents, delighted with the success of the costume, wished to have a portrait made.

The boy is painted as he appeared when posing for his admiring friends. In his effort to assume a lordly air his boyish glee gets the better of him, and he belies the character by a broad grin. Perhaps he has caught the twinkle in his father's eye, or his mother's suppressed smile, and he can keep serious no longer. "Bravo!" cries the audience, and he smiles in innocent delight at his success.

His pet dogs are in the room, and one of them is rather suspicious of this strange young prince. He sniffs cautiously at his legs, for though his eyes deceive him, his sense of smell cannot be mistaken. Through a window in the rear we get a glimpse of the park beyond, which adds much to the beauty of the picture.

Further reading:
Sir Joshua Reynolds A Collection of Fifteen Pictures and a Portrait of the Painter with Introduction and Interpretation by Estelle M. Hurll

Book Review: The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives Of The Daughters Of Nicholas And Alexandra By Helen Rappaport

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

When I first requested a copy of The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives Of The Daughters of Nicholas And Alexandra by Helena Rappaport, I thought it would be one of those difficult reads that would take me ages to finish. Why? Because the fate of this wonderful family was so tragic, I thought I could only bear reading it in small doses. But I devoured it. Rappaport's style is engaging and compelling. Once you start reading the book, you just cannot put it down.

Thanks to a treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, some of which had never been published before, Rappaport manages to bring the four Grand Duchesses back to life. During the decades, the sisters have been turned into a faceless and undistinguished mass. The fact that they themselves used the term OTMA to refer to themselves, often wore similar white dresses, and were paired in groups of two by their own mother, only reinforced this erroneous impression. In reality, each Grand Duchess had a very different personality and individuality. Olga was the bookworm, with an intellectual bent. Tatiana took a lot after her mother, was very practical and was famous for her nursing skills. Maria was a placid and sweet creature, while Anastasia had an irrepressible but good nature.

All of them though, even once grown-up, retained a certain innocence about the world, which was due to the seclusion in which they had always lived. Although they were the most popular princesses in Europe, the details of their daily lives were hidden from a public who wanted to know more about them. Alexandra, who was very often ill and had an aversion for society, and Nicholas, wanted to give their daughters as normal an upbringing as possible, without however, letting them forget their positions and the duties that came with them. As a result, the four sisters (and their brother), grew up with barely any friends and eager for any information about the world outside their palace. They grew up into sweet and caring women devoted to their family, their country, and God, but to the Russian people they, like their parents and brother, were strangers.

Rappaport doesn't just manage to present the Grand Duchesses as individual women, allowing you to finally be able to tell them apart, but she also reveals details about their daily lives no one else had ever mentioned before. There is new information about the Grand Duchesses, their brother, and their parents on most pages! Quite a feat, if you consider how many volumes have been written about this unfortunate family! Placed in the proper context, this information helps us gain a deeper understanding of who the Romanov were, why they acted the way the did, and what their relationship in the family dynamic was. I had never realised, for instance, the terrible toll her frequent pregnancies, which resulted mostly in the births of girls, and the illness of her only son had on Alexandra's health, and how much that impacted the family, increasing their seclusion and their distance from the Russian people.

As I reached the end, I couldn't help but hope the story had ended differently. The last days and deaths of the Romanovs are covered in just a few sentences though. That's because Rappaport has already written a wonderful book, Ekaterinburg, on the subject. While I do understand her choice, I wish she had given us a few more details, just to make the story more complete. As it is, the end is quite rushed. All the same, though, this is a must read for any fans of the Romanov family. It will greatly enrich your understanding of all its members.

Meticulous researched and compellingly written, The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives Of The Daughters Of Nicholas And Alexandra By Helen Rappaport, brings the four Grand Duchesses, each with its own distinct personality and individuality, back to life. The book, which draws heavily from diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, features lots of never-published-before information on their daily lives that will greatly enrich your understanding of this wonderful but tragic family. The end, though, is a bit rushed.

Available at: amazon

Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

Some Stunning Lucile Dresses

Monday, 21 July 2014

15 Minutes With Melanie @ Madame Guillotine

Friday, 18 July 2014

Madame Guillotine is one of the first history blogs I stumbled upon, and I was instantly hooked. So, I was thrilled when its author Melanie Clegg agreed to be featured in this month's instalment of the "15 Minutes With" series. Melanie is a history geek and art history graduate who writes novels of "posh doom", is obsessed with Versailles, loves Paris and gin, and is a committed vegetarian. On her blog, she writes about all things history and art, but sometimes she'll also share bits and bobs from her personal life.

Want to find out more about Melanie? Read on:

1. If you could live in any era, what would it be and why?
This is a tough one as I love so many different eras and for such different reasons and of course they all have their drawbacks as well as their benefits, which are mostly, let's face it, almost entirely sartorial. However, I would have to go for the French Revolution really as there is no other period that I consider to be quite so blood pumpingly exciting, vibrant and interesting. Plus if I go back there then there's a small chance that I might be able to hook up with Louis Antoine de Saint Just, who has been my Number One historical crush since my early teens. Le sigh. Plus I think the whole red ribbon around neck, dampened white muslin dress, shaved back of neck and pallid goth face powder Merveilleuse thing was a STRONG LOOK and one that I reckon I could rock with enormous aplomb.

2. If you could invite three people, dead or alive, to dinner, who would you invite, and why?
Okay, assuming that I've successfully gone back to 1794 and rescued Louis Antoine de Saint Just from the guillotine, then he's going to be my co-host for this dinner party. I know that I should go for a decent mix of guests but I think I'm going to invite Alan Turing, Lord Rochester and Oscar Wilde, although the latter is probably SNOWED UNDER with hypothetical dinner party invitations to the extent that they're literally falling off his mantlepiece in Tite Street Heaven so maybe I'll invite Athénaïs de Montespan along too for a bit of much needed glamour and gossip as I have a horrible feeling that otherwise I'll be trapped in between Maths talk from Alan Turing and Lord Rochester's scary seduction technique.

Actually, this dinner party sounds AWFUL doesn't it? Good grief. Okay, let's have Coco Chanel, Empress Joséphine and Athénaïs instead and we shall FEAST on macarons and champagne while ignoring Louis Antoine de Saint-Just's miserable laconic mutterings about our inappropriate aristocratic decadence. God, what a KILL JOY he would be - maybe I should just leave him to his fate so he can't ruin my parties?

3. Three books everyone should read?
Another hard one as how does one narrow it down? However, Catch 22, Anne Frank's Diary and A Prayer for Owen Meany generally head up any such lists in my view, with honourable mentions also going to Wolf Hall and From Hell as I'm ALWAYS nagging people to read them.

4. Who's your style icon?
Courtney Love without a doubt. She is just amazing and has been a massive inspiration to me since my miserable teens when I used to wander the streets of Colchester dressed in a flammable nightie with a decapitated doll safety pinned to my waist, some broken up Docs on my feet and my hair in over bleached tatters about my pallid face. I thought I looked AMAZING. Amazingly AWFUL.

5. What are you watching on TV?
I don't actually watch much television to be honest, other than a handful of VERY selective things, namely: Marple, Ripper Street, Game of Thrones, Endeavour, Foyle's War, Penny Dreadful and erm, that's it. I find the vast majority of television really boring, alas but I'll make an exception for those few shows.

6. What's the soundtrack of your life?
The terrible screams of my dying enemies.

Or 'Regret' by New Order, which is my favourite song. The line 'You used to be a stranger, now you are mine' gets me every time.

However, I got my first tattoo the other day and it was a totally different lyric: 'dazzled, doused in gin' from Taste in Men by Placebo so maybe that's the soundtrack to my life? Who knows?

7. What's your favourite holiday destination, and why?
Until quite recently, I was absolutely petrified of flying and so hadn't actually been to many places as not being able to fly rules quite a lot of the world out! I've been to Paris a lot though and had to go to Rome as part of my degree course so I suppose it would have to be one of them as I love them so much.

However, now that I'm less freaked out by the prospect of flying (I had a word with myself recently about the impact this fear was having on my life), I am keen to see more of the world and have Berlin, Florence, Tokyo, New York and Saint Petersburg at the top of my list of places that I want to see.

8. What inspires you?
I am mostly motivated by money and revenge. Seriously, this may be taking the old adage about 'the best revenge is to live well' to a whole new level but it's the thought of various people being made completely miserable by how well I am doing that spurs me on to do even more and better.

That and being able to buy nice things.

Oh that makes me sound awful, doesn't it? Okay, how about: the thing that MOTIVATES me to carry on is the thought of doing better than PEOPLE WHO WILL REMAIN NAMELESS (until I publish my memoirs and THEN THEY'LL BE SORRY). Okay, that's not much better is it? Ah well.

On a more inspirational (and nicer!) level, I find the women that I write about really inspiring - so many of them were REALLY up against it and had the odds massively stacked against them and others had to show genuine courage in the face of oppression, tyranny and fascist regimes. I feel honoured to share their stories.

9. One thing on your bucket list?
I recently wrote a sort of bucket list as I'm approaching what is delicately referred to as a Significant Birthday and am less than pleased about this fact, even though my Medieval forbears would no doubt have been pleased as punch to get to such a great age. There's loads of things on there but the ones that I am most keen to accomplish are getting arrested (to the surprise of anyone who has been out drinking with me, I have yet to feel the cold, clammy hand of the law on my shoulder), see The Cure live (I'm particularly into this one right now as I seem to be listening to nothing but their album Pornography on repeat while I work on my current book) and meet Aidan Turner. I ALMOST met him once when they were filming Being Human in Bristol as he nearly knocked my husband over with his bike. My husband isn't very nice so he didn't tell me about this until Aidan Turner was long gone and tiny speck in the distance: 'Oh, you know the guy who almost ran me over just then? It was that actor you really like...' Argh. However, the new version of Poldark is apparently based a few minutes drive away from my house so I suppose I could just hang about their gates looking pathetic until they let me in..?

10. Something about you that would surprise us?
I put a few facts about me to a panel on Facebook and the one that elicited the most surprise (and mirth) was the one about how I once bit David Bellamy when I was a small girl because he ENRAGED ME by picking me up to give me a cuddle. As the benign stars of our childhood are toppled one by one here in the UK, I live in FEAR that this rather hilariously awkward childhood memory will take on a more sinister aspect. I HIGHLY doubt it though as David Bellamy is awesome.

Thanks a lot, Melanie!

Go and check out Melanie's blog, Madame Guillotine, now! You can also keep up with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and buy her books on Amazon.

Prince Alfred, Duke Of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Born on 6th August 1844 at Windsor Castle, Prince Alfred was the fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In only four years! Poor Victoria! Still, the parents and the country rejoiced at having a "spare" heir should anything happen to Bertie, Prince of Wales. The two royal brothers grew very close. But while Bertie, growing up, wasn't really allowed to do anything (Victoria didn't trust him with affairs of government and any other job, including in the military, was precluded to the heir to the throne), Affie, as he was known in the family, was enrolled as a midshipman in the Royal Navy at the tender age of 13.

Queen Victoria was sad at losing her son, but her husband supported Alfred's wish and so she gave in. So, Affie embarked first on the HMS Euryalus, which took him to the cape of Good Hope and Australia (he was the first English prince to visit them), and then on HMS Racoon, and finally on the HMS Galatea, which he commanded. He remained in the navy for the next twenty years, attaining "only" the rank of admiral, much to his mother's disappointmentl The Queen thought he should have risen higher.

In 1866, Prince Alfred was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted by Parliament an annuity of £15,000. On 8 June, he took his seat in the House of Lords. In the meantime, his career in the navy continued and, in 1868, he once again went to Sydney. On his first visit, the Prince had been welcomed with open arms. But on the second, he was almost assassinated! The Prince was at a picnic at the beachfront suburb of Clontarf to raise funds for the Sydney Sailors' Home when he was shot in the back by Henry James O'Farrell. The Prince recovered in a couple of weeks and went back home, while O'Farrel was hanged.

On 23 January 1874, Alfred married the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, daughter of the Tsar Alexander II, at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, the marriage wasn't happy. Marie was considered haughty, and her generous dowry her only attraction. Alfred wasn't perfect either. He drank a lot, loved money, had a bad temper, and was considered by many to be quite boring. Still, the couple did their duty and had six children: Alfred, Marie (the future Queen of Romania), Victoria Melita, Alexandra, and Beatrice. One of their children was, unfortunately, stillborn.

It was rumoured, during his days in the Navy, that Affie had been offered the throne of Australia and refused it. In 1862, after the abdication of King Otto of Greece, he was chosen to succeed him, but his mother and the British government were against it and nothing came of it. Instead, the Queen and Prince Albert, wanted him to succeed to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. In 1893, he finally inherited it from his paternal uncle, but he didn't rule it for long. After only seven years, on 30 July 1900, he died of throat cancer.

Further reading:
Dearest Affie by John Van der Kiste and Bee Jordaan

Haydn's Contract

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Haydn served the Esterhazys uninterruptedly for the long period of thirty years. Here's the agreement he signed with the prince Paul Anton:


"This day (according to the date hereto appended) Joseph Heyden [sic] native of Rohrau, in Austria, is accepted and appointed Vice-Capellmeister in the service of his Serene Highness, Paul Anton, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, of Esterhazy and Galantha, etc., etc., with the conditions here following:

"1st. Seeing that the Capellmeister at Eisenstadt, by name Gregorius Werner, having devoted many years of true and faithful service to the princely house, is now, on account of his great age and infirmities, unfit to perform the duties incumbent on him, therefore the said Gregorious Werner, in consideration of his long services, shall retain the post of Capellmeister, and the said Joseph Heyden as Vice-Capellmeister shall, as far as regards the music of the choir, be subordinate to the Capellmeister and receive his instructions. But in everything else relating to musical performances, and in all that concerns the orchestra, the Vice-Capellmeister shall have the sole direction.

"2nd. The said Joseph Heyden shall be considered and treated as a member of the household. Therefore his Serene Highness is graciously pleased to place confidence in his conducting himself as becomes an honourable official of a princely house. He must be temperate, not showing himself overbearing towards his musicians, but mild and lenient, straightforward and composed. It is especially to be observed that when the orchestra shall be summoned to perform before company, the Vice-Capellmeister and all the musicians shall appear in uniform, and the said Joseph Heyden shall take care that he and all members of his orchestra do follow the instructions given, and appear in white stockings, white linen, powdered, and either with a pig-tail or a tie-wig.

"3rd. Seeing that the other musicians are referred for directions to the said Vice-Capellmeister, therefore he should take the more care to conduct himself in an exemplary manner, abstaining from undue familiarity, and from vulgarity in eating, drinking and conversation, not dispensing with the respect due to him, but acting uprightly and influencing his subordinates to preserve such harmony as is becoming in them, remembering how displeasing the consequences of any discord or dispute would be to his Serene Highness.

"4th. The said Vice-Capellmeister shall be under an obligation to compose such music as his Serene Highness may command, and neither to communicate such compositions to any other person, nor to allow them to be copied, but to retain them for the absolute use of his Highness, and not to compose anything for any other person without the knowledge and permission of his Highness.

"5th. The said Joseph Heyden shall appear in the ante-chamber daily, before and after mid-day, and inquire whether his Highness is pleased to order a performance of the orchestra. After receipt of his orders be shall communicate them to the other musicians and shall take care to be punctual at the appointed time, and to ensure punctuality in his subordinates, making a note of those who arrive late or absent themselves altogether.

"6th. Should any quarrel or cause of complaint arise, the Vice-Capellmeister shall endeavour to arrange it, in order that his Serene Highness may not be incommoded with trifling disputes; but should any more serious difficulty occur, which the said Joseph Heyden is unable to set right, his Serene Highness must then be respectfully called upon to decide the matter.

"7th. The said Vice-Capellmeister shall take careful charge of all music and musical instruments, and shall be responsible for any injury that may occur to them from carelessness or neglect.

"8th. The said Joseph Heyden shall be obliged to instruct the female vocalists, in order that they may not forget in the country what they had been taught with much trouble and expense in Vienna, and, as the said Vice-Capellmeister is proficient on various instruments, he shall take care to practice himself on all that he is acquainted with.

"9th. A copy of this agreement and instructions shall be given to the said Vice-Capellmeister and to his subordinates, in order that he may be able to hold them to their obligations therein laid down.

"10th. It is considered unnecessary to detail the services required of the said Joseph Heyden more particularly, since his Serene Highness is pleased to hope that he will of his own free will strictly observe not only these regulations, but all others that may from time to time be made by his Highness, and that he will place the orchestra on such a footing, and in such good order, that he may bring honour upon himself, and deserve the further favour of the Prince, his master, who thus confides in his zeal and discretion.

"11th. A salary of four hundred florins to be received quarterly is hereby bestowed upon the said Vice-Capellmeister by his Serene Highness.

"12th. In addition, the said Joseph Heyden shall have board at the officers' table, or half a gulden a day in lieu thereof.

"13th. Finally, this agreement shall hold good for at least three years from May 1st, 1761, with the further condition that if at the conclusion of this term the said Joseph Heyden shall desire to leave the service, he shall notify his intention to his Highness half-a-year beforehand.

"14th. His Serene Highness undertakes to keep Joseph Heyden in his service during this time, and should he be satisfied with him, he may look forward to being appointed Capellmeister. This, however, must not be understood to deprive his Serene Highness of the freedom to dismiss the said Joseph Heyden at the expiration of the term, should he see fit to do so.

"Duplicate copies of this document shall be executed and exchanged.

"Given at Vienna this 1st day of May 1761,

"Ad mandatum Celsissimi Principis.


Further reading:
Haydn by J. Cuthbert Hadden

Book Reviews: Her Next Chapter, Understanding Troubled Minds, & The Person Called You

Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Hello ladies and gentlemen,

ready for today's reviews? Here we go:

Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More by Lori Day
I've always loved reading. It's a passion that I have inherited from my mother. But, as far as I can remember, we've never read anything together. I don't even recall her reading to me, although that probably happened when I was very little. I hadn't realised what a missed opportunity that was until I read Her Next Chapter by educational psychologist and consultant Lori Day. In Her Next Chapter, Day explains the myriad of benefits of mother-daughter book clubs. They foster a closer-connection between a mother and her daughter and provide a safe and non-judgemental environment to discuss difficult topics with your little girl.
The book is divided into two parts. The first explains what a mother-daughter book club is, and provides useful tips to set up your own, as well as advice on how to deal with any issues that may come up when it is up and running, such as what to do when a couple quits or how to deal with any bullying incidents that may happen. The second part, instead, focuses on complex and difficult topics, such as gender stereotypes, sexualization of little girls, LGBTQ issues, violence against women and abusive relationships, that you may wish to address with your daughter but don't know how. After discussing each issue, Day provides a list of books, movies and other types of media you can read/watch with your daughter as well as a series of questions to start the discussion in a way that's appropriate for her age. This is also a great solution for those mothers who want their daughters to be aware of certain issues but are too embarrassed or uneasy to breach the topic themselves. In a book clubs, there are gonna be parents that are more at ease about discussing those issues than you are, so your daughter will receive all the information she needs by someone you trust, under your supervision, and in a safe way.
This book isn't just for mothers, though. It's for stepmothers, grandmothers, teachers, and any other adult who is entrusted with the care of a little girl. The tone is engaging and entertaining. You'll feel like you're talking to a friend who went through the same problems and can now give you advice on how to solve them. Overall, this is a must read for anyone interested in promoting media literacy in little girls and help them navigate the many issues they will face in their lives. I cannot recommend it enough!
Available at: amazon
Rating: 4.5/5

Understanding Troubled Minds by Sidney Bloch
Mental illnesses are very common. They are also widely misunderstood. In most people's minds, a person affected by a mental illness is a dangerous lunatic who must be locked away so that he/she won't physically hurt himself/herself or anyone around them. What few realise is that mental illnesses, just like physical ones, can take many forms. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, dependency on alcohol and drugs, sexual dysfunctions, and psychoses, to name a few, are all mental illnesses that rob their victims of a full and vibrant life.
Unfortunately, the stigma associated with these illnesses, and a still prevalent belief that many of them such as depression or drug abuse are caused by a weak character, prevent people from seeking help. The truth is that like any other organ of the body, the brain can get sick. The brain is the organ that makes decisions, so, when it gets sick, the person affected is unable to reason clearly and often acts and thinks in a way that's harmful (although rarely violent) to them and those around them, especially their families. Relatives and friends, unable to understand what's going on in their minds, often get frustrated when a loved one acts in an "irresponsible" way and refuses all offers of help. Few of us know what to do in those circumstances.
That's why Understanding Troubled Minds should be in anyone's bookshelf. Written by psychiatric Sidney Bloch, this guide explains all you need to know about mental illnesses. After a brief history of mental illnesses, the author discusses all the different types of mental illnesses, from mood to eating disorders, from psychosomatic illnesses to disturbances of personality, and more. There are also sections of the mental illnesses that most commonly affect women, children, adolescents and the elderly. The final chapters are dedicated to the explanation of both drugs and psychotherapies used to treat the mentally ill, strategies to promote mental health, and the ethical problems faced by psychiatrists.
Bloch writes in a matter-of-fact way, without passing judgements. His style is concise and straight-to-the-point, informative, and clear even for laymen. He doesn't fill the book with technical and medical language only a few can understand. Each chapters also features the stories of patients affected by the discussed diseases, allowing the reader to better relate to the patients and understand why they're acting the way they do. At times, I found the writing a bit dry in places. After all, this is a concise medical encyclopedia about mental illnesses, so I supposed that was to be expected. But overall, the book flows easily. Bloch did an incredible job at presenting such a controversial, misunderstood and complex topic in such a human and easy-to-understand way. I highly recommend it to both professional and laymen.
Available at: Random House
Rating: 4.5/5

The Person Called You: Why You're Here, Why You Matter & What You Should Do With Your Life by Bill Hendricks
Too many people have no idea about to do with their lives. They are lost, not sure in which direction to go. Or trapped in a job that, even when well-paid, doesn't fulfil them. They know there's something better out there for them, something that will give their lives purpose, but they don't know what it is and how to achieve it.
Enter Bill Hendricks. A giftedness expert, hendricks believes that we are all born with certain individual gifts. It's only when we honour them that we can live a fulfilled life. Although these gifts start emerging from the moment we're born, figuring out what they are can sometimes be difficult. Even when we do, we are often conditioned to think that they're useless and that you could never make a living with them. How could you earn money, for instance, by listening to people discussing their problems and commenting about them? And yet, Oprah Winfrey made millions doing just that! Of course, like Hendricks points out, not everyone will make millions or become famous by honouring their gifts, but their quality of life will definitely improve. A person who is gifted at drawing may never become the next Picasso or Michelangelo, but they could become a cartoonist, a graphic designer, an animator, an architect, or a tattoo artist. There are so many options and yet, because we are aware of only a few of them, we tend to think it's impossible to pursue our real passions and, instead, opt for a safe job behind a desk that, in the best case scenario, makes us unhappy, and in the worst, leaves us unemployed when those safe jobs are made redundant.
In The Person Called You, Hendricks offers us a step-by-step process to understand what we are, what our gifts are, and how can we use them to find a job that suits us, improve our relationships with others, and live a better quality life. The book is full of both historical and fictional examples that shows us the impact honouring or neglecting our gifts has on our lives. It's a very inspiring read. But Hendricks' approach is also practical. He doesn't hide the fact that finding a job that suits our gifts, for instance, is not easy, and that no job will ever be a completely perfect fit. But he also puts these challenges in perspective, offering practical tips to make choices that will lead, one step at a time, to a more fulfilled life.
Hendricks is very passionate about his mission, and it clearly shows in every line. The Person Called You is a very easy and pleasurable read. But of course, you do have to implement his tips if you want to see some real changes in your life. Overall, this book should be a mandatory read for any student trying to figure out what career to pursue, as well as anyone who is at a crossroad in their lives, or is thinking about quitting a job that's making them miserable.
Available at: amazon
Rating: 4/5

Are you going to read these books, or already have?

Disclaimer: I received these books in exchange for my honest opinion. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

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