ACE Your Life: Unleash Your Best Self and Live the Life You Want

Book review by Michelle Jacobs

“You must chisel away those barriers and ‘stuckness’ to reveal and unleash your personal power.”

The three components of this revelatory guide for transforming your life are acceptance, compassion, and empowerment (ACE). With insight and wisdom founded on professional knowledge and experience, Maidenberg breaks down each component and incorporates inspiring stories alongside scientific and philosophical expertise. Maidenberg also provides self-discovery exercises, questions, and prompts to engage readers and seekers in actionable work that can lead to true transformation. Each section offers definitions, benefits, methods, and strategies that combine to provide a way forward for people who may feel stuck in unfulfilling lives and cycles of frustration and missed opportunities.


Book review by Kirkus

“A pragmatic, step-by-step guide to self-acceptance and understanding that focuses on personal growth.”

Many people reach toward fulfillment only to find satisfaction just out of reach, or, sometimes, very far away. They find themselves “bogged down in the stuckness,” which Maidenberg defines as a cycle of regret and hopelessness—one that’s often but not always made worse by trauma, stress, and other emotional pain. Maidenberg’s ACE method is named for its three basic pillars—acceptance, compassion, and empowerment—but before delving into these, she explores the functions of the mind, particularly how it works to avoid uncomfortable situations. This inclination, she notes, can also obscure one’s core values, which affect one’s chosen goals and actions. By practicing mindfulness, completing questionnaires, and doing self-guided growth exercises, she aims to help readers discover these values and work toward meaningful change.


It’s common for anyone to feel trapped or stuck by their inner commentator, habitual patterns of behavior, and the lessons they’ve learned throughout their lives. Everyone has regrets, with many trying to preserve strained relationships and other difficult parts of their lives. When faced with these hardships, it’s easy for self-worth and confidence to take a nosedive, causing many to wonder where they went wrong and to wish for a “do-over.”

ACE Your Life: Unleash Your Best Self and Live the Life You Want offers another way. Michelle P. Maidenberg, Ph.D., MPH, LCSW-R, explains how to create a life and legacy of love (both of self and others) and fulfillment. Predicated on acceptance, compassion, and empowerment skills, Maidenberg’s approach has transformative range, working for those who feel slightly “stuck” and are seeking personal growth and enhancement as well as those with more complex “stuckness” caused by trauma, cumulative stress, or other significant challenges.

Each section of Ace Your Life walks the reader through definitions, benefits, barriers and includes curiosity-based mindfulness questions and exercises to promote growth, healing, and a path toward personal fulfillment. Individuals who want to enhance their life in a significant way and become their best self through the work and wisdom of personal growth will benefit from this encouraging, inspirational, and easily actionable guide.


Book review by Susan Gibbs

ACE Your Life Unleash Your Best Self and Live the Life You Want is a helpful, uplifting 244-page book. The author writes in an enjoyable, easy-to-understand, logical way. From a young age, we learn to avoid discomfort at all costs. Our thoughts control how we feel and try to protect us from discomfort, but thoughts are not facts. We can get stuck in certain thought patterns due to core values and limiting beliefs. Making a positive change requires us to believe we can do it, possess the will to do it and have a plan to carry it out.


Book review by Indie Reader

Self-help books often focus on external conflicts–how to protect yourself from attacks by the denizens of an uncaring world. The author includes plenty of that, but she also recognizes that part of becoming a better person includes taking better care of oneself. Everyone knows someone who claims to be “my own worst critic,” right? One of Maidenberg’s goals is to teach such people to “turn down the volume on their inner critic,” converting it into “an inner coach, inner advocate, and inner nurturer.” Other books recommend complete overhauls of habit and personal outlook, but Maidenberg’s approach is less radical–more like nibbling at the edges than whole bites. Her style is as easy and conversational as, say, Calvin Trillin’s columns, and she uses a wealth of examples–comedian Emo Philips. Writer Maya Angelou. Scores of other psychiatrists, therapists, and healers. Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, whose definition of mindfulness–“creating space between the craving and grabbing”–is intriguing.