ZU Magazine is a publication of ZU Media. Below is an article from Issue 5: Revolution.

Guest Writer | Tien Thai

There are plenty of ways to create a revolution. People can protest, become a leader, or make their voices heard in public. For Lea Michele, the successful Glee actress, revolution is discovered through her two published books, Brunette Ambition” and “You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life.

Michele uses her own ambition to inspire young women to be themselves, listen to their hearts and follow their passions.

The book was published in May 2014 and it was placed as #3 on The New York Times Best Seller List shortly after its release.

The book shares practical strategies for proper self-care, fashion, fitness and nutrition to sustain a healthy and fit lifestyle.

Through her life and work experiences, Michele encourages readers to discover a diversity of interests and hobbies.

“You should try other things without necessarily trying them out as your job; just because you love something doesn’t mean it has to consume your days. It can just add richness and texture to your life … nobody should be entirely defined by one thing,” Michele said in Brunette Ambition.

She explains her take on proper nutrition and fashion by demonstrating her eating habits and sharing her desire to value what she has while shopping.

Most importantly, Michele aims to help readers maintain healthy friendships.

“I am so grateful that I’ve developed some incredibly strong relationships, because if I’ve learned anything from the very difficult experience of losing someone, having wonderful friends around you is the most important thing there is,” Michele said.

With these messages, “Brunette Ambition” has received positive feedback from the readers, who have emphasized the credibility of the book and affirmed the author’s ability to inspire.

“I read ‘Brunette Ambition’ in its entirety in one sitting and if one thing is for certain, I will absolutely be going back and flipping through it when I am looking to do some self-care, want some career tips … need some advice on friends or inspiration,” Selina Falcon reviewed on Goodreads.

Beside the positivity, “Brunette Ambition” also received some constructive criticism from those who do not agree with Michele’s viewpoints.

“I did not love this book, but I did not hate it either. It had some useful information and good points, but it was crammed with so many different topics that I found it an odd mix … I was not the target audience for this book. The book seemed targeted to younger Lea Michele fans,” Anna Cole reviewed on Goodreads.

You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life, is Michele’s sequel to “Brunette Ambition.” With “You First,” she expands on the importance of journaling.

“‘You First’ is about respecting and understanding what you really want — and then going out to achieve it,” Michele said

Michele broadens these topics by explaining what they mean to her and giving tangible techniques for how readers can apply them to their own lives.

For instance, when it comes to fitness and exercising, Michele claimed that she discovered that the most enjoyable way to maintain a consistent daily fitness routine is by searching for the type of exercise that she enjoys so that she can feel motivated about it.

“It really has to come from finding something that you love. I think for me the key to keeping it fun has been that I don’t give myself a hard time about it. I don’t time myself,” Michele said.

In regards to taking care of herself properly through nutrition, Michele adheres to the practice of journaling her food intake to avoid eating excessively and mindlessly.

“It is really there to train yourself to be accountable for what you’re putting into your body … so this book is here for you now: You’re accountable for yourself through its pages,” Michele said.

Not only did Michele create diary space for reflection, but to recognize goals and make steps to achieve them. According to her, having goals on paper actually helps create a credible record for accountability.

“Real success takes real work! Use these pages to establish where you want to be so that you can start on the path to get there,” Michele said.

As in “Brunette Ambition,” Michele utilizes “You First” as a way to emphasize what it takes to maintain true friends.

“But one thing that I really value is that we’re always able to talk about it almost immediately after it happens, resolve it and put it aside … If you have the right friends, they can support and help you so that you shine your brightest,” Michele said.

Michele designates a space at the end of each chapter for readers to reflect on the topic.

This is one of the primary factors that makes “You First” special and unique.

Reader Teresa Konopka reviewed the book on BarnesAndNoble.com saying, “What I like about this book is that it offers ways to get better. For instance, instead of just saying ‘do you think you are healthy?’ there are journal entries about ‘how can you get healthy? how can you change your diet and exercise habits?’”

Michele’s books provide knowledge and practical steps and exercises for her readers to take to live their best lives and make their dreams come true.