Book Review: “Wake Up The Winner Inside” by Karla Brandau

This month was dedicated to confidence here at Women’s Leadership Today. Developing confidence is incredibly important in the workplace, especially for women who face prevailing gender-bias. When considering appropriate reading for this topic, I wanted to find something that would make a real-life positive impact on the reader. After all, confidence is not something you are born with, but something you must work on. And what better way to “work out” your confidence muscle than with exercise? 

The author of “Wake Up the Winner Inside,” Karla Brandau points out in her introduction, “I did exercises for the body every day, so why not also do exercises for the mind and call them mental aerobics?”  

In her book, Karla lays out 13 mental aerobics for the reader to practice helping build psychological strength and value. While I read through the chapters one by one, Karla suggests dedicating a week to an individual aerobic at a time so the reader can effectively practice and instill the associated values. 

Each aerobic includes an affirmation. Affirmations have been scientifically shown to affect our brains in ways that cause tangible results in our future behaviors. Meaning, through the simple action of repeating a positive value to ourselves, we are likely to see that value reflected more in our everyday lives.  

But the aerobics are much more than affirmations.   

Each aerobic is broken down into 4 takes: 

  1. The explanation of the aerobic and affirmation 
  1. “Karla’s Coaching Corner” where the author explores the in-depth nuances of the aerobic 
  1. “Conditioning Exercises” which detail specific exercises to aid in practice 
  1. “When the Winner Awakes” which reveals the signs the reader will notice when the aerobic has started to take effect in everyday life.  

Karla lays out a solid plan for not only affirming the positive change the reader might like to see, but also simple exercises that allow them to put these values into practice. The theory being that if we exercise our mind, like we do our bodies, we can become mentally stronger and more prepared to face future challenges.  

A wide variety of topics and issues are covered over the course of the book’s 13 mental aerobics. I found myself relating to the issues presented throughout and feeling a sense of relief at the concrete exercises and solutions offered. The information is easily digestible and dotted with humor, stories, and humble recollections of the author’s own experiences. It has the feeling of taking part in personal coaching sessions with the author herself. 

All in all, “Wake Up the Winner Inside,” by Karla Brandau was a fantastic read. I expected a book of exercises would be quite dry, like a checklist. However, Karla does an excellent job of presenting the exercises while simultaneously entertaining the reader at every turn. It feels personal, empathetic, and even inspiring at times. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is determined to make a positive change in their mental resilience and needs an easy-going gateway to achieving real results.