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Shifting Sands


    235 Montgomery Street, Suite 650                   Ken Lupoff, Senior Publicity Manager
    San Francisco, CA 94104-2916                       Phone: 415.743.6469 Email:
    Fax 415.362.2512                                   Tiffany Lee, Publicity Assistant                               Phone: 415.743.6477 Email:

   For Immediate Release

                                       Shifting Sands
                 A Guidebook for Crossing the Deserts of Change
                                        By Steve Donahue

We live in a culture in which “mountain climbing” is the dominant metaphor used to personify the
journey of life. Most of us try to define our lives by mapping out and executing a specific route
before traveling straight to the top to reach a seemingly clear goal. However, during times of
change or crisis, this mountain climbing strategy isn’t always the most applicable or effective
method there is for solving problems. We don’t always know where we’re going, what we’re
doing, or even what goals we want to achieve.

Shifting Sands: A Guidebook for Crossing the Deserts of Change is based on author Steve
Donahue’s fascinating and true overland adventure across the entire breadth of the Sahara Desert.
During that journey, he discovered that life, especially during times of change, is much like
crossing the desert itself: we get stuck, we get lost, we chase mirages. Unlike the top of Mount
Everest, the Sahara seems to be endless and without a clear boundary. The horizon offers no clue to
how much desert has been crossed or how much remains to be seen. It is impossible to know when
and exactly where the desert ends. While the route up Everest has a well-defined path, in the
Sahara, the dunes are always changing and it is extremely easy to get lost.

Divorce, death, mid-life crisis, illness, or addictions are like deserts. Starting a business or a new
career, losing a job, healing childhood wounds, or searching for new meaning in our lives can also
send us wandering over shifting sands. Any transition that happens to us or that we willingly
pursue can turn into a desert. A desert of change is defined by a single criterion: the condition or
requirement that the traveler will be transformed before they make it across.

Since the deserts of life cannot be crossed with mountain-climbing strategies, Donahue presents a
unique approach that is quite contrary to the goal-setting, destination-focused belief system
promoted in so many books and TV shows. What is the goal of life? What is the mountain peak
that says you’ve finished your job as a parent? How do you know when a divorce is over?

Desert travelers who read Donahue’s Shifting Sands—with its gripping vignettes from the author’s
actual journey across the Sahara—will learn about the Six Rules of Desert Travel: Follow a
Compass, Not a Map • Stop at Every Oasis • When You’re Stuck, Deflate • Travel Alone Together •
Step Away from Your Campfire • Don’t Stop at False Borders.

Shifting Sands can inspire us all to embrace our deserts and move more confidently through times
of transition. Every chapter in the book contains practical and paradoxical wisdom that provides the
guidance and courage for all of us to make the most of our journey through the shifting sands of


“Shifting Sands is a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read that is certain to shift your outlook
on life. Steve Donahue’s stories and lessons for dealing with change capture the human condition
in a deeply profound way and will captivate and enrich anyone who picks this book up.”
—David Irvine, author of Simple Living In A Complex World and Becoming Real: Journey to

“Shifting Sands captures key principles for dealing with life's uncertainties. Donahue takes us
through his spellbound journey crossing the Sahara Desert and relates it to the hills and valleys of
life. He provides entertaining quips about his experience intermixed with profound learnings that
are applicable to each of us as we manage our work and life experiences. I highly recommend
reading this book.”
—Richard S. Gaskins, Vice President Diversity, Human Resources, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

“In this profound and moving guide, Steve Donohue gives us a new language for thinking about
and handling the challenges (‘the deserts’) we encounter in our lives—divorce, career change and
other transitions. Powerful and personal, Shifting Sands offers six strategies for re-thinking how
we approach life transitions. It should be required reading for every person who is at a loss when
confronted with a difficulty that doesn't lend itself to goal-setting and goal-getting.”
—Jennifer Lawler, martial arts coach and author of Dojo Wisdom: 100 Simple Ways to Become a
Stronger, Calmer, More Courageous Person

STEVE DONAHUE is a professional speaker, consultant and coach. He has addressed hundreds
of corporations and tens of thousands of individuals on the subjects of personal and organizational
change. His clients include AT&T, IBM, Pillsbury, Procter & Gamble, Bank of America, Ford and
Volkswagen. He was Executive Director of the Hoffman Institute of British Columbia from 1995-
97, and is co-developer of the interactive CD-Rom also entitled Shifting Sands.

Shifting Sands: A Guidebook for Crossing the Deserts of Change
By Steve Donahue
Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.    ISBN: 1-57675-280-1
Paperback                                        $16.95
Number of Pages: 168                             Publication Date: May 2004

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