Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Confident Woman

The Confident Woman:  How to Boost Self-Esteem and Happiness for Everyday Women by Carolina Ordoñez is exactly what it sounds like:  a self-help book for women.  Ordoñez has taken her journey from being a meek and depressed young girl to a confident and successful woman, sharing anecdotes of her own experience while explaining what she did to improve herself.  Each chapter focuses on one particular aspect, and Ordoñez discusses why the issue is important to your self-esteem, what she did to change this aspect in her own life, and offers advice as to what she personally recommends to truly get the most out of improving yourself with regards to this aspect.  At the end of the book are lists of recommended reading and videos to watch, which are relevant to the bettering of oneself. 


The Confident Woman may be a quick read, but this is certainly not a book that guarantees a quick fix for your self-esteem issues.  To be completely honest, when I started it, I actually wondered a little whether such a short book could really even be all that helpful.  And now that I've finished reading?  My verdict is that The Confident Woman is absolutely a helpful book.  I tend to be fairly picky about the self-help books that I pick up, since most of them end up falling well short of their purpose for me.  Once in a while, though, I come a cross one, or one is brought to my attention, that shows a bit of promise, and this was one.

Ordoñez writes in a tone that is rather conversational, and I got the sense that I was being given advice by a friend or a trusted acquaintance.  I've read other books of this nature that try to achieve this same tone only to end up coming across as patronizing or condescending, but I got none of that sense from this book.  English is not Ordoñez's first language, and there were some instances where I picked up on that either from the grammar or the language used, and in general, the technical aspects of the book were kind of rough around the edges, so I'd probably send it to an editor for some tidying up, if it were me.  I don't feel that the content of the book suffered much because of this, though, and I think I got a lot out of reading it.

As for the actual content, I wouldn't say that the strategies Ordoñez advocates in this book are necessarily groundbreaking or revolutionary, as she does discuss a lot of commonly understood methods for boosting one's mood and self-esteem.  In some ways, though, The Confident Woman also mentions some things that may not occur to everyone, and she presents everything in such a way that the task of working toward improving yourself does not seem quite as daunting as it may have been before.  There are no inane "steps" that you are told to complete before continuing on to the next part of the book; I can understand why so many books include "homework," but I was actually kind of glad that this one did not.  There is a list toward the end of the book, but that's it.  Mostly, this book acts as a sort of guide, offering up what worked for Ordoñez herself, but with the disclaimer that just because it worked for her does not mean it is guaranteed to work the same way for everyone - she encourages you to adapt things that you learn to fit your own situation, so that you can better achieve whatever your goals may be.  The disclaimer might come across as a backpedal to some people, or as a "Cover Your Ass" device, but when I read that in books of this nature, it always makes the author feel more genuine to me, because there is a lot of truth to the statement.  People ARE all different, and we all come from sometimes similar, but also very different situations in life, and we all respond to things differently.  

So, overall, Ordoñez may have a relatively simple book in The Confident Woman, but being so short may have been to its advantage for me, because it kind of served as a little kick-start.  I had some moments of clarity while reading, where I read something that I had already considered or been exposed to in the past, but the way it was presented here brought a new perspective to the idea for me.  I also like the reiteration that it is an active choice that a person can make to become more confident and to become satisfied, content, and even happy with yourself and with your life.  It's not easy, certainly, but the key is that you have to make the conscious decision that you WANT to make the changes and improve yourself.  I realized while reading The Confident Woman that I have been making a lot of excuses in my own life and allowing others to lead me in many ways, but I know that I have the tools to turn it around and begin making the changes necessary to get where I want to be.

So, if you're looking for a quick and realistic pep talk, or maybe just a reminder, or maybe you just want a more accessible guideline for improving your own confidence and self-esteem, I would recommend giving The Confident Woman a try.  Its simplicity was welcome and makes it stand out from so many others of its kind that use gimmicks or promises to lure you into buying.  And although the book focuses on women, I think that at least most of the advice Ordoñez gives could very easily be adapted for men who might struggle with these issues as well.


TCK Publishing

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Thanks to the author for providing this book to me for review!  If you are interested in giving it a try, it is available FREE for Kindle on Amazon from 8 August 2013 until 12 August 2013, so don't hesitate to check it out!


Click to check out my progress on the challenges this book applies to!


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