Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
From Drift to Shift by Jody B. Miller is a motivational, self-help book. In this book, Miller promises, “…you will get the information, insight, and inspiration that you need to find meaning, fulfillment, and happiness in your work and in your life. This is my promise to you.” Whoa.
This far-reaching assurance is not fulfilled within the pages of this book. Neither is it “…the roadmap that can get you there—to that place in your life where you are meant to be—so that you too can experience true happiness and fulfillment every day.” A roadmap should be direct in explaining how to get from point A to point B. The way this book is organized is anything but direct.
As with her all-encompassing promise, Miller has tried to deliver too much. The book has the characteristics of being: a self-help book, a collection of personal triumph stories, and/or a handbook of good advice. On the positive side, it does include appealing stories about courageous, tenacious, and amazing people. Some of these are quite moving. However, the haphazard organizational style and tired motivational truisms overshadow what might otherwise have been a good collection of inspirational essays. In addition, the writing is flat and lackluster.
Miller seems to assume the reader is going to agree with her based on the emotional content of her stories. Her main assertions are summarized as follows: Most people start out drifting in their lives. Then a shift (change) can lead to a person’s true purpose. Finding your true purpose leads to happiness. (Even if the circumstances leading to the shift were traumatic.) Happiness is everything in life.
While the stories are engaging, reading them doesn’t guarantee eradication of unhappiness. Nor can you be assured of happiness just because you follow Miller’s recommendations.
She includes some sound advice but nothing new. Maybe a reader who has never read this type of book before will find valuable guidance. It is also possible Miller’s personal style will resonate with readers who didn’t like other books of this type. For me, this material has been covered in the same way too many times before. Moreover, there were too many other drawbacks to make for enjoyable reading.
The book is organized in an unusual and confusing way. After an introductory section, there are four sections entitled: Why Shift(?), When to Shift, How to Shift and After the Shift. These sections include eight chapters of stories of people who, for various reasons, have gone through shifts (changes) in their lives. At the end of each chapter, there is a “Takeaway” section. Hint: These summaries are the easiest way to get the key ideas if you want to scan the book.
After the sections listed above came the Appendix, which normally signals the end of the book. Not here; after the Appendix, there were Notes and Resources. Then five sections of material that Miller seemingly put there because she didn’t know where else to put them. Add a few more pages about the author, her blogs, etc. and you get the picture. All the extra material made me wonder if the book was ever going to end.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 starsI did find errors, but the writing is mostly clear. I give it this rating since other readers may find it more appealing than I did.