RESOLUTIONS. We all make them. And break them. As the year draws to an end, the whole idea of starting on a new slate becomes appealing.

After all, a new year ushers in endless possibilities of how your life can somehow turn around if you’re motivated enough to make the necessary changes.

I’m guilty of that. At the beginning of 2017, I joined the gym. My fervour to lose the middle-age paunch lasted exactly one month. Now it’s December all over again and all I’ve accomplished Is to make donations to my neighbourhood gym without making an appearance.

The paunch remains, I still have a gym membership I don’t use, and right now, at the end of 2017, I’m starting to have that same intense fervour to make some changes in my life.

This time, I’m going to stick to it! That paunch has to go. I’ve got to start fitting into my old clothes again without having to lop off a body part, or remove a couple of ribs. Life MUST change for me. So help me God.

So I roped in my editor along with my sister into my Life-Has-To-Change-In-2018 grand plans, and got them to get me a couple of books to help me make a head start. Nothing like having a couple of rah-rah cheerleaders to buy me books, which incidentally feeds into my other plan of Saving-Money-In-2018 a.k.a. Get-Other-People-To-Buy-You-Things-You-Want. My second plan however, is a different story for a different day.

Do books work? Can self-help gurus change your life for the better? Or are they merely masquerading as snake oil salesman waiting to make a fast ringgit by claiming to hold the answers to life? Can I be motivated enough to make resolutions that finally stick in 2018?


Publisher: Collins & Brown

Edited by: Rosemary Ellis, Editor-in-Chief, Good Housekeeping

143 pages

This was a bargain-bin book that was going for dirt cheap. The title caught our eye. Drop a dress size: Lose a couple of kilogrammes and keep it off for good! Oh joy. Here’s yet another opportunity for me to reduce weight. Drop a dress size? I’d go with that. So far, I could write a book on how to gain a dress size and morph from fab to flab in record time. “Buy me that book!” I tug on my sister’s arm and then add as an aside: “That could be your Christmas gift to me. Besides, it’s cheap!” Of course, I got my book.

With a title that can attract anyone fighting a constant battle with the scales, this Good Housekeeping publication helps break down your eating habits — from breakfast on-the-go and workplace snacking, to eating out and cooking at home — and helps you narrow in on the temptation trouble-spots and help you make the necessary changes.

The Dukkan, Atkins, Cabbage Soup... if you’re anything like me, you’d have tried them all. And found that all you had gained was more weight (from the binge eating you do after the diet) and fewer friends (try drinking soup while your thinner friends indulge in nasi lemak). What we really need to do is find out the causes of why we pile on the kilos and change how we think about food while choosing the right food to eat.

You’ll learn how to identify common diet traps and decode food labels so you can make informed, guilt-free decisions. And the best bit? Nothing is off-limits so there’s no need to give up the chocolate cake. Instead, the book shows how to practise better portion control and make simple but effective swaps and substitutions. Eating on-to-go? Find out how the high-street sandwiches fare in calorie count, and what it takes to burn them off. No time to exercise? Find out how to squeeze in a low-sweat workout into your busy routine. Good Housekeeping Drop a Dress Size is the ultimate guide to pain-free dieting. Packed with shopping tips and realistic goals, this easy-to-stick-to plan will get you back in those skinny jeans and change your life for good.

The book is divided into eight segments which include Eating In, Getting Down To Work, Eating Out, In The Supermarket, Fitness First, Party Time and has easy recipes, which are low-calorie but doesn’t sacrifice on taste.

What’s Hot: It’s concise, broken down in simple language and colourful enough to hold my attention. What’s more, it comes with easy-to-follow exercises that you could do from the comfort of your home. No more I-got-no-time-to-exercise excuses. Easy to read and easy to follow, there are tables, diagrams and schedules you can follow to kick-start a healthier new year.

What’s Not: There’s no room in there for nasi lemak, roti canai or the food-coma-inducing banana leaf rice. It’s meant for the Mat Salleh market so

it doesn’t make much allowances for local delicacies that we’re known to indulge in. Will it help me shed the kilos? If I’m hardworking enough, maybe. Chances are, both books are going to end up as shelf-fillers and with enough time, perhaps I’ll make a killing (like a bawse) by selling them to my local paper lama uncle.


Author: Lilly Singh

Publisher: Ballantine Books

320 pages

Canadian YouTube personality, vlogger, comedian, author and actress Lilly Singh has come up with a whopper of a book that’s guaranteed to make you pause, reach out and grab a copy for yourself. Who can resist a hot Punjabi ladki in a bright red power-suit on the cover with an eye-catching title like How To Be A Bawse?

Better known by her YouTube moniker Superwoman, Lilly’s videos have garnered over two billion views since, and accumulated over 12 million subscribers! In 2016, she was 3rd on the Forbes list of the world’s highest paid YouTube stars, earning reportedly US$7.5 million (RM30.65 million) in that year. She also ranked first on 2017 Forbes Top Influencers List in the entertainment category.

So when Lilly comes up with a title like How To Be A Bawse?, you can surely trust that she’ll be divulging some life-changing insights on how you can live out your best life right now.

Never mind that there’s a large warning disclaimer at the back of the book that says: “This book doesn’t include hopeful thoughts, lucky charms or cute quotes. That’s because success, happiness and everything else you want in life need to be worked for, not wished for. In Lilly’s world, there are no escalators, only stairs. Get ready to climb.” Bummer.

But I thought you needed to lose weight, you say. How is Lilly going to help you achieve that? Ah, you see, by learning how to be a bawse, I might take control over my life again. No more channelling a slug. I’m going to be a bawse from now on and be motivated enough to haul my large rear to gym.

Her book is divided into four sections — Master Your Mind, Hustle Harder, Make Heads Turn and Be a Unicorn. Each section is filled with chapters that illustrate a specific theme. There are a whopping 50 chapters in all. But don’t let that intimidate you — the chapters are bite-sized and filled with plenty of pictures to help break the monotony of words. In fact, it seems to have been designed to fit the attention span of a toddler.

The 50 chapters ranging with advice on everything, beginning with Conquer Your Thoughts to Protect Your Vision, right up to Be In Synch, has the DIY superstar dispense with short, anecdotal, sometimes pithy advice to help you circumnavigate through life purposefully.

While it’s meant to get you inspired to climb the ladder to success, it’s also a window into the author’s achievement of becoming a celebrity and her relationships with fellow stars.

There are plenty of glossy pictures of Lilly in various poses, interspersed with advice and stories from her own life and the lives of other celebrities including Selena Gomez and Snoop Dog.

While all that’s fine and dandy, she doesn’t actually lay down specific steps on how to become like her. Instead, we’re encouraged to find our own individual selves and follow her general guidelines to actualise our dreams. Err... okay.

What’s Hot: Lilly specifically states in the first chapter: “Let go of your resistance for the sake of this book.” Okay, so there are some interesting anecdotes and advice. For example: “You’re never too good to stop investing in yourself.” There you go, Lilly said it. I’m not going to feel guilty over my Bobbi Brown purchases anymore. It’s not a splurge. It’s an investment.

What’s Not: Again, nice stories and pithy advice that I already know doesn’t make a great self-help book. Chances are you’d come across advice you already inherently know. Only, it’s told with a lot of humour and wit. Another peeve? This book is very much “if you can dream it, you can do it” but it doesn’t allow much leeway for things beyond your control.

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