Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Book review - Naked Determination, by Gisela Hausmann

This unique book is a collection of true stories from the author’s richly varied life. Each story illustrates one lesson learned in the author’s quest for achievement and empowerment.  This being said, though, the book is just a great read for its own sake, and should not be viewed as being merely in the self help, or personal development category.

The popular trope of self-reinvention is always a drawcard for me, but even so, this book stands out above the general run of “self-help” books, which all too often contain nothing but platitudes. The basic premise behind Ms Hausmann’s work is that one can do almost anything as long as one refuses to admit that one can’t do it - a great attitude and certainly one that has worked for her.  

The book is structured into chapters of which each chapter illustrates one single lesson the author has drawn from her life experiences. Each chapter tells the story and then unpacks the lesson learned. There are small pictures and illustrations, but these don’t get in the way of the text, and in fact give the work something of the flavour of a friendly chat, with the occasional photo coming out of a wallet. I found Ms Hausmann’s writing style extremely engaging; there is a warmth and naturalness to it that makes one feel one is in the presence of an old friend.  The occasional awkwardness in English arising from the fact that English is not the writer’s first language does not detract at all from the book, and in fact I felt that it enhanced it rather, giving Ms Hausmann’s writing that faint exotic flavour that a slight hint of European accent can give to a person’s speech. As a working editor myself, if called upon to fix this, I would not touch it - one of this book’s great charms is the way the author’s unique voices sounds so clearly in every line of it.  A thoroughly enjoyable read, and one that I am sure I will revisit often.