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Book Review: On Becoming Fearless

Many of us find it difficult to live our lives without fear of some sort. Whether it be fear of losing a job or of a child becoming ill or deep-rooted fears that are personal to us, fear is a common thread that runs haphazardly through humanity. Some fear is even healthy; it keeps us wary of the world around us so that we are at watch for potential danger. However, when fear stops us from dealing with our daily lives, then it possesses a much stronger hold on us than it should. How do we deal with this type of fear so that we can move on with our lives in a fulfilling manner?
Arianna Huffington has written an exceptional book titled, “On Becoming Fearless…in love, work, and life” which should be required reading for all women. I say “all women” because this is the readership at which the book is aimed; however, it’s content would be beneficial to men, too, in both the areas of overcoming their own fears and in better understanding women. Huffington was born in Athens, Greece, moved to England at age 16 and obtained a degree in economics from Cambridge University in 1972. She met Michael Huffington in 1986 and they were married in 1986. Eleven years and two daughters later, they divorced. Huffington has been politically active in both state and national politics, including running for governor of California against Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2003 recall election and lobbying for auto-makers to begin a focus on the production of vehicles using alternative fuels. She is also the founder of the Huffington Post, an “enormously successful online source of news and opinion.” Additionally, Time magazine named her as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006.
The inspiration for “On Becoming Fearless…in love, work, and life” came from watching her daughter’s face common fears that young girls have as they reach teen years. They worried whether they were pretty, if people liked them and when they should stand up for their own beliefs. She wanted her daughter’s to maintain the confidence and determination they had as young girls, so she began to examine why girls lose that confidence and what they could do to keep it. She talked with many women about their role models as young girls, what lessons they learned that taught them how to be fearless women, and began sorting through vast amounts of information to find the prime pieces that would benefit girls of all walks of life in maintaining their self-confidence as they grow older. In addition to observations from her own life, Arianna has included interview pieces from women such as Nora Ephron, Kathy Eldon, Marcy Carsey and Jody Williams.
The stories themselves are inspiring – tales of mothers who encouraged their daughters, stories of events that required that these women take a stand – and the advice these women have to offer to the young women of today is priceless. The book does not deal with one aspect of becoming fearless, but instead looks at the complete women – mind, heart, body and soul – and discusses what it takes to be fearless in each arena. Amazingly, it seems that the one thing that we all seem to forget in our quest to being fearless is being TRUE to ourselves. [Sometimes that alone takes more courage than we seem to possess.]
Fearless is a term used throughout the book, but one that is used almost as often and one that I like even better is “bold.” For many years, the idea of bold women was appalling to society. A woman termed as bold was usually crass, to forward for her station in society, and sometimes even vulgar. But the term “bold” when used for a man usually refers to bravery. Huffington claims the term bold – along with the other women she highlights in this book – as a title of honor for women and I found that to be refreshing.
Single moms need to read this book to remind themselves not only of the potential that they have as women, but so they can pass this vital information along to their daughters. They should share this book with their daughters as soon as they spot those first signs of diminishing self-esteem that so many young girls struggle with beginning as early as the pre-teen years. Single dads need to read this book so they can encourage their daughters to hold on to their individuality and the spirit they need to face this world head-on. The benefits of Arianna Huffington’s book, “On Becoming Fearless…in love, work and life” are numerous and should be shared with all the women – and soon-to-be women – you know.


March 21, 2008

Recently, Arianna Huffington, author of On Becoming Fearless, has been in the news in a rather unflattering light. It appears that she has gained the attention of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh with particular blog topics on her site, the Huffington Post.

I wish to state that while I will promote her book, On Becoming Fearless, in a positive light because I found it be very helpful for myself and a positive influence for women and teenage girls, I am not supporting – nor denying support – to Ms. Huffington in her other views.

I hope that my readers will understand that for the best interest of the Single Parents column, I do not endorse or deny support to any public or political figures within my column or the forum connected to it. I regret that my review of Ms. Huffington’s book and her recent attention in the media coincide; however, it was certainly not intended.

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