Thought-provoking, Hindu-focused mental health commentary.


Be YourSelf


A psychiatrist discusses his midlife embrace of Vedanta philosophy and related insights on depression, anxiety, and other subjects in this debut memoir and self-help guide. 

Although Vasudev hails from a Hindu family, he says that “No one really talked about God or spirituality at home.” After an introductory chapter celebrating his current calmer and more joyful sense of self, he circles back to his past, detailing his childhood in India, which encompassed several family moves (his father was in the Indian Army) as well as many later challenges while he attended medical school, including dealing with its rites of passage, reminiscent of hazing. It was only in midlife, in 2013, that the Canada-based geriatric psychiatrist, despondent over his father’s recent death, went to a meditation class at the suggestion of his wife; he then read Paramhansa Yogananda’s 1946 book The Autobiography of a Yogi, and his life was transformed. Specifically, he became more open to the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. Here, he breaks down key Vedanta precepts, including the different kinds of karma, and shares several parablelike stories drawn from various works, including the Bhagavad-Gita. He also dedicates chapters to depression, anxiety, psychosis, obsessions and compulsions, PTSD, and addictions; in them, he includes some of his patients’ stories and notes how Vedanta ideas, such as the power of deep breathing, may help address and manage mental health issues. He concludes by encouraging readers to embark on a spiritual journey to find their divine selves. Although Vasudev’s celebration of Eastern philosophy is certainly common to many midlife-awakening memoirs, he offers a rather unique blend here by not only highlighting traditional Hindu texts, but also sharing his experience and expertise as a psychiatrist. The result is an intriguing dive into the concept of self and a caring, relatable guide. At one point, for example, the author acknowledges that he’s had to learn to listen better to his patients, including a schizophrenic’s claim that “there is a spiritual reason for her experiences.” Vasudev is by no means comprehensive in his psychology discussion, but his book will serve as a springboard to many readers for further exploration.

Thought-provoking, Hindu-focused mental health commentary.

Pub Date: April 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-8734-7

Page Count: 168

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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