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'Cool Stuff' they should teach in school    by Kent Healy & Kyle Healy order for
'Cool Stuff' they should teach in school
by Kent Healy
Order:  USA  Can
Cool Stuff Media, 2005 (2005)

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* * *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Ah yes, another motivational book, just what we all need. Hey, wait, this one's written by teens, and it's actually for other teens! And, it even has practical advice that sounds remarkably like what we've been telling our kids the last several years. Funny, how much more cool it sounds coming from these bleach-blond surfer dudes.

This 'Cool Stuff' they should teach in school is a practical guide for young people. It explains how having positive attitudes, strong work ethics, and listening skills can really help them accomplish goals. Along with pep talks, there are tips and advice on how to achieve their dreams. Kent and Kyle Healy have been around and then some in their young lives. Their parents evidently moved a lot from country to country. As a result, the brothers have had to develop and use their social skills and goal-oriented ideals to adapt and get what they wanted out of school, friends, and life in general. They found out early what many people don't discover until late in life, that attitude is everything.

They feel so strongly about attitude that they begin the book with a section on having the right attitude, goals, habits, and about the effects of peer pressure. The book is divided into five sections, which have to do with basic attitudes, how to get a job or be your own boss, managing money, people skills, and how to use all these things to build a successful future. Each section has chapters, which focus on specifics of these subjects. The reading is divided into easily digestible chunks, with plenty of color-coded quotes, check lists and personal examples from real teens and adults. Kent and Kyle also give anecdotes of their own life experiences.

I enjoyed reading this book, and plan to have my two daughters read it. It offers plenty of good advice that isn't preachy, with lots of real teens to learn from. There is humor, and also some humility, as the brothers aren't shy about admitting their weaknesses and mistakes. Every teen can benefit from the advice and tips presented. That being said, there is a slight problem with the fact that the authors have been so successful at such a young age and came from a strong family background; some teens may feel that while all this worked for Kent and Kyle, it won't work for them. The authors' good looks, the inclusion of personal photos (at the end of the book) that won't be in the real-world experience of many teens, and the quantity of sports involvement gives the misleading impression that the authors were born into privilege. Teenagers may not have the wisdom to perceive that every family has issues and problems to work through, no matter individual circumstances, and that these two have obviously worked very hard to achieve their personal dreams.

But hopefully most young readers will understand the universal applicability, as there are plenty of great stories and tips for teens that are usable in any circumstances at whatever point in life they may be. Such as these ideas for making money: wash windows, clean gutters, wash and groom pets, do craft work, organize garages, trade talents for items wanted, etc.. The point is that anyone can use their individual skills and talents to earn something. There is also great advice that sounds remarkably like what we've all been saying to our kids for years: Who you hang with determines your attitude and goals; dress for success; make lists; get organized; yadayada. Only it doesn't sound like parentspeak coming from these guys. I recommend 'Cool Stuff' they should teach in school highly for any teen or college student. Parents, put this on your Christmas list.

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