Foreword Reviews

Breaking Why

Hacking and Rebuilding Strategic Emotions for Authentic Success

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

This principled self-help text is designed to help ordinary people pursue their passions while striking a balance between purpose and profit.

Part self-help and part business book, Frankie Russo’s Breaking Why argues that defining one’s purposes is a prerequisite for achieving success.

Organized into a tidy, ten-step process that includes planning, committing, and building a supportive team, this book asserts that people need to pursue meaningful living in concert with earning profits. It draws upon personal experiences to illustrate what such intentionality looks like, and to support the thesis that redefining one’s purpose leads to personal and professional stability. Values like giving back, practicing patience, and celebrating accomplishments are championed as a complement to the book’s recommendations.

Straightforward self-reflection questions are included; they aim to help people identify their purposes and pinpoint what’s hindering them. The book is clear and helpful when it comes to developing personal mission statements and plans, as well as when it comes to explaining its own benefits. The questions are an interactive, inspiring element within the book’s otherwise generalized content.

Also to inspire immediate action: the work utilizes imperative language in its brief instructions for getting started, believing, and committing. It directs the audience to drop their excuses, too. Such instructions are placed at the end of each chapter—like action steps to put the content into practice. Concise, punchy insights embellish the chapters, which are supported by studies about the benefits of working hard and being grateful, as well as by excerpts from credible sources on topics like personal achievement and combating fear. There’s a sense of expertise that carries throughout.

But the book is less engaging when it strays from its direct instructions, and from Russo’s stories, into more popular self-help territory, as with its anecdotes about resilience and turning failure into learning opportunities; these draw on the stories of Michael Jordan, Mark Twain, and notable inventors and entrepreneurs, but are too familiar to be of particular interest. Further, the book’s prospective audience—average people looking to find their purposes—may be put off by these extraordinary, uncommon success stories.

It comes to seem that the book’s work too much overlaps with that of other self-help texts that deliver similar advice. Its primary message—that one should determine their underlying reasons for following their particular course, and that this knowledge should be a source of motivation—is indistinct. This is true of much of its advice, too: the encouragements to dedicate oneself to making one’s dreams a reality, seek support, and be persistent are all generic. Still, the ten-step process has a unifying effect, moving the book toward its goal point effectively.

Breaking Why is an orderly self-help guide that suggests ten steps toward personal success; they require determining what makes a person passionate, and deriving a sense of purpose from that awareness.

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher 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 publisher 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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