My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: Probably a solid 2.5 stars from me. It’s not so much that I didn’t appreciate what this work aimed to do, but I think it could’ve had more to it than what it did. I think a reluctant reader and someone who wants something of a quick inspirational guide could pick this up and run with it, but I felt it didn’t really live up to its respective title. The 17 biographical layouts were fine (albeit more like an encyclopedic reference than anything else), but the self-help introduction didn’t really have more than just basic facets that anyone could do and that more comprehensive guides have covered in much better spectra. I need a little bit to think this over in terms of expanding upon my thoughts via the rating.
Ultimately, in retrospect, I appreciated the message behind “17 Women Who Shook the World” – because for all intents and purposes, it’s an inspiring read to examine the lives of 17 women who overcame challenges in their respective lives and upbringings to become milestone figures in their respective trades and career paths. There are profiles of women like Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Madame C.J. Walker, Suze Orman, Oprah Winfrey, among others. I did have to wonder in some measures what made the book choose the respective figures they did, but nonetheless, it provides a decent introductory profiling of the women they chose to portray.
I’m not so sure the narrative excelled, however, in the measure of the “24-Step Program” of its respective title. For a reluctant reader or someone unfamiliar with the women this title chose to depict, it might be useful and encouraging, but it tends to be a bit redundant and oversell the perspective point in a way that doesn’t feel as natural or as truly rooted (especially in areas of the profiles) as it could’ve been. I read this title fairly quickly, but a lot of the information here felt like it was trying too hard and didn’t have the level of true inspirational narrative depth or resonance that other guides of its kind I’ve read. I think many people may feel that many of its respective tips are common sense and one could pick them rather easily. The steps themselves are fairly convoluted, not expounded upon, and feel so basic that I think a much longer, in-depth presentation probably would’ve suited it better than what it chose to show. I give it credit for some of the portrayals and ideas, but not in the way that it chose to show it, which was limiting.
I also wasn’t fond of inaccurate attributions that the text made in certain points. One should be careful using the term introversion and depression, because they don’t mean the same thing. I saw in one of the narratives that Marie Curie was an avid reader and was more “introverted” after a certain number of events occurred in her life, but then that measure was closely associated with depression over events in her life, and I wanted to say – “Do NOT link those terms.” Introversion is simply a different source of energy/thinking for people who fall under that term – they derive their inspirations from within, rather than externally. There is nothing wrong with that, and certainly nothing to be put in negative context. Depression is very different from that. I think there were other areas where mistaken attributions on the part of health/wellness were made, but that was one of the major areas that I saw in the text itself that particularly struck me.
I think there are other guides to wellness/inspiration that one could pick up that would be a better, more comprehensive, and accurate read than this, but I’m not going to knock it for aims and for being a basic guide that could serve as an introductory text. But I would take it with a grain of salt and supplement other texts either with it or in substitution if possible.
Overall score: 2.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Schiffer Publishing.