Unleash Your Inner Super Powers – Entered in 2018 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Jacqui Letran

Unleash Your Inner Super Powers: and destroy fear and self-doubt by Jacqui Letran is the third in a series of self-help books aimed at teenagers. Letran presents a small handful of attributes and skills called Inner Super Powers (ISPs) and discusses ways that each person can develop these ISPs and use them to better their lives. Specific focus is placed on conquering fears and self-doubt in social situations from small gatherings of friends to high-stakes public speaking assignments.


In Unleash Your Inner Super Powers: and destroy fear and self-doubt the reader is presented with several skills and given exercises to help develop those skills. This book can be slightly overwhelming. The structure of the book is well thought out, but the main takeaways in each chapter do get a bit lost in the verbiage of the piece. This is easily remedied through slightly more concise writing, which would also aid in cutting down on any unnecessary repetition. A glossary would also go a long way in aiding any confusion the reader may experience, by giving them one place to go for all the necessary key terms.


Though this book is aimed at teenagers, and the examples presented are specifically tailored towards that audience, the advice and exercises could be useful to people of all ages. Letran does a solid job of explaining every topic she approaches in a way that emphasizes that feeling inadequate is a universal human experience. She presents the information in such a way that each new topic builds on the one before to encourage the reader to continue improving upon the earlier skills as they learn new ones. Unleash Your Inner Super Powers: and destroy fear and self-doubt by Jacqui Letran is a great resource for anyone, teenager or adult, who is looking for some basic advice on how to begin building self-confidence.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Damn Mind – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Jacqui Letran

Jacqui Letran’s second book in her Words of Wisdom for Teens series is another shining light for young adults. I would but my DAMN MIND won’t let me!: A teen’s guide to controlling their thoughts and feelings is a book written to help teenagers break patterns and gain a better understanding of how their mind works. Coming from the view point of clinical psychology and science, Damn Mind is an excellent secular resource. Letran not only breaks down technical scientific and psychological concepts into understandable chunks of information, but she wraps up the educational chapters with what she calls 60-Second Readers, which are bullet-poined summaries of the content from each chapter. In the last third of the book, she offers case studies. At the end of each of those chapters, she offers a tip and a self-reflection exercise. She also offers “free stuff” including the audiobook through a link on her website. Therefore, she gives readers the opportunity to explore further once they’ve read Damn Mind.

Written in language that is relatable to teens, Damn Mind is a quick and fairly easy read. Occasionally, some of the chapter sections are a bit heavy or complex in their wording, but Jacqui Letran quickly offers simpler language within the text. Throughout the the educational sections of the book she shares interesting information and unique ways of looking at things. For example, Letran shared and pulled out in a highlighted section that the conscious mind can only take in 1% of the information that it is being fed at any given moment. She also compared the importance of thinking in positive terms to doing a Google search – the mind nor Google pays attention to words such as “don’t”. Jacqui Letran asks deep and powerful questions in I would but my DAMN MIND won’t let me! I highly recommend Letran’s Damn Mind for teens everywhere.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Reclaim Your Happiness – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Jacqui Letran

Jacqui Letran’s 5 Simple Questions to Reclaim Your Happiness is a straightforward self-help guide to, well, reclaiming your happiness. In it, Letran prompts the reader to ask themselves these five questions: What am I feeling? Why do I feel this way? Is this emotion useful? How can I see this differently? And, would I rather be right or happy? Letran also includes the accounts of three of her clients to illustrate how effective addressing those five questions can be. Along with a ton of helpful writing prompts for the reader, 5 Simple Questions to Reclaim Your Happiness is a tool with which its readers can get their lives – and happiness – back.

Though they illustrate her point well, the supposedly real-life examples that Jacqui Letran used in this book seemed far too fictionalized; all of them toed the line of believability, sometimes even seeming to cross that line. Whether these characters really were clients of hers – and whether some of the details in their stories have been embellished – remains to be seen. Also, 5 Simple Questions was a bit too short and vague. In some respects, it wasn’t exactly a revolutionary self-help book; some additional detail and fresh ideas would help here.

There were some truly excellent qualities about this book, though – one of them being Jacqui Letran’s straight-to-the-point style of writing. She doesn’t waste time trying to be the reader’s best friend, but rather, lays out her ideas and evidence and lets the reader use them however they see fit. Not only was this an interesting approach, but it was also an effective one. Also, the use of detailed questions and writing prompts is a fantastic way to keep readers interested and actively engaged – in the book and in their own lives. 5 Simple Questions to Reclaim Your Happiness is a short and quick self-help book, but lives up to its genre and gives the reader the tools they need to help themselves – and it certainly pays off.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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