Practical Planetary Miracles
In his latest, John Gray's Mars and Venus have entered a New Age
Practical Miracles for Mars & Venus
By John Gray
HarperCollins, 244 pp.
Eight years ago, in his huge bestseller, "Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus," psychotherapist John Gray found a compelling hook on which to hang the differences between men and women in relationships, and launched a self-help empire. Adding 10 more bestsellers, including titles like "Mars and Venus in Love," and "How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have," the Mars-Venus universe includes an institute, a counseling system with specially-trained Mars and Venus counselors, workshop series, videotapes, web site, advice columns, and, beginning in October, a television show starring Cybill Shepherd.
Gray's enthusiasm, along with his optimism, sincerity, and sheer good-naturedness, partially explains his success. It's hard to argue with someone who is so strenuously wishing you well. He seems to honestly believe that "everyone now has the power to create practical miracles in their own lives," as he says in his new book. He promises immediate results, furthermore, with little effort and he appears equally genuine.
After 150 pages of you-can-do-it cheerleading, "Practical Miracles" finally divulges that he has developed nine techniques for creating positive changes. These steps, some drawn from his previous books, include exercises in breathing and meditation, focusing, articulating needs, and thinking positively. For the most part they do indeed seem to be practical steps that can be incorporated into a person's life fairly easily and most likely with a beneficial effect--whether or not you call them "miracles" is up to you. For some readers, these techniques will be old hat, but newcomers attracted to the self-help genre by Gray's reputation may find them helpful.
Gray's dedicated readers will find more in "Practical Miracles" than just relationships: he talks career, weight loss, and sexual vigor. A "practical miracle" is Gray's term for a positive change that might once have seemed impossible, such as falling in love again with your partner, overcoming addictions, or finding satisfaction in your work. Like other New Age enthusiasts, Gray believes that we now live in a time when anything, including these practical miracles of personal and global change, is possible.