Foreword Reviews

Becoming Unruly

Conversations on Change from the Classroom to the Boardroom

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

With its detailed discussions and tips, Becoming Unruly is an educational self-help and leadership guide that facilitates change.

LaRoyce Batchelor’s self-improvement book Becoming Unruly includes thought-provoking prompts and tools for effecting change in a wide range of situations.

The book’s invitation to think differently, innovate regularly, and “BOUNCE” resiliently after encountering stumbling blocks is based on Batchelor’s nearly three decades of teaching experience at five universities in four countries—experiences that she says came at a cost. In a frank and conversational tone, she shares descriptions of personal hurdles, including unanticipated unemployment, inappropriate behavior from bosses, and research theft. These anecdotes give credence to the book’s suggestions for unloading the weighty baggage left by unsettling experiences.

The text includes a nonstandard opening that references the COVID-19 pandemic, framing its understanding as that of a radically altered world that’s been placed on a “Great Pause.” Many of the book’s engagement-driven activities, including suggestions to do something new each day and to start a new venture with only $5, are timely and encouraging. They are complemented by stories of the success of those who earned thousands through clever uses of social media. Some of the book’s suggestions are less pandemic friendly, as with its prompts to find two strangers to start a conversation with, and to pick up change on the ground for seven days.

Overall, the book’s approach is practical. It acknowledges that breaking habits can be difficult, and it makes an effort to highlight restrictive beliefs and self-created boundaries. Compelling questions in each chapter’s “Section Review and Work” help to identify unconscious barriers while emphasizing rigorous, honest self-examination, as with valuable reminders to consider personal and professional expectations; promises, including implied ones, that are made to others and oneself; perceptions of money; and one’s capacity to positively impact others through actions and attitudes.

A handful of rudimentary black-and-white graphics are used to illustrate a few chapter concepts. In “The Adventure Begins,” a depiction of daily specials includes clever titles such as “Run of the Mill Ravioli” and “Left Field Linguine” to emphasize the importance of trying new experiences, while a relatable image of a man and women in knee-deep water illustrates rethinking financial relationships well.

Particularly salient is a chapter with responses designed for those who are dealing with fallout from compromising. Although some may reject the book’s suggested profanities, particularly in professional situations, its alternative solutions, including a “letting go ceremony” and efforts to rewrite scripts with the goal of altering interactions, are useful.

Through detailed discussions and tips for confronting personal and professional challenges, Becoming Unruly is an educational self-help and leadership guide that facilitates manageable change with boundary-breaking tools.

Reviewed by Andrea Hammer

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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