Non-Fiction

Article excerpt

Title: Simplify Your Work Life

Author: Elaine St. James

Data: Hyperion, 296 pages, $15.95

Review by Brandy Hilboldt

Simplicity sells.

During the past six years, Elaine St. James has written five best-selling books around the theme of cutting back, slowing down and enjoying life -- sort of the new millennium's less drastic answer to Timothy Leary's advice to turn off, tune in and drop out. Her latest book is subtitled Ways to Change the Way You Work So You Have More Time to Live.

Who doesn't want to do that?

Like St. James' previous books, this one is full of specific advice. She writes about the pitfalls of taking work home, answering the phone every time it rings and letting a paper tiger remain untamed. Her tips tell readers how to get off junk mail lists, how to make returning to work after a vacation less traumatic and how to realistically estimate time involved in projects so that you're not over-scheduling yourself. (Make a list of everything involved, including research, writing and report presentation. Beside each item, estimate how much time if will take to do it. Add up the time. Double it.)

If you want a philosophical essayist's thoughts on simplifying life, pick up a copy of Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin (William Morrow and Co., $10.) If you want concrete instructions, get Simplify Your Work Life.

St. James' other titles are Simplify Your Life, Inner Simplicity, Simplify Your Life with Kids and Simplify Your Christmas.

Brandy Hilboldt is an editor and writer for the Times-Union.

Title: Niccolo's Smile

Author: Maurizio Viroli

Data: Farrar, Strau and Giroux, 299 pages, $25

Review by Jay Goldin

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was witty and intelligent, a keen observer and, as his works show, a fine writer. If only the same could be said for Niccolo's Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli and its author, Maurizio Viroli.

The best that can be observed of Viroli is that he has worked hard and done his research well. …

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