Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

Next book

PROPELLED

HOW BOREDOM, FRUSTRATION, AND ANTICIPATION LEAD US TO THE GOOD LIFE

A smart and thought-provoking reassessment of the value of boredom and frustration.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

A look at the possible upsides of negative emotional states.

University of Louisville associate philosophy professor Elpidorou’s intriguing new book looks at not only the inevitability of so-called negative emotions—such as boredom, frustration, and anticipation—but also their worth and even the advantages that they can bestow. Human existence involves both ups and downs, he says, and temporary negative emotions are a necessary part of leading a meaningful life: “Life requires failures and pains just as much as it demands successes and pleasures,” he writes. Elpidorou takes readers through comprehensive breakdowns of what boredom and frustration truly are, using clear examples and an open, engaging prose style to shows how they’ve been viewed by various philosophers, psychologists, and authors over the years. He also effectively addresses how such emotions alter how people experience the passage of time. This latter aspect turns out to be a key element of the book’s analysis, because this time-warping effect also helps to foster a feeling of stagnation. Even so, the author argues, such states “contain the potential to liberate us.” In every section of every chapter, Elpidorou is rigorously thoughtful and quotably readable as he discusses unpalatable emotions that most people want to avoid. At one point, for instance, he notes that “Boredom emphasizes what it disrupts or takes away. It forces us to see things anew.” The cumulative effect is a strong and ultimately persuasive case that when life gives you lemons, you should simply value the lemons—a counterintuitive argument, to be sure, but one that the author convincingly backs up over the course of his book.

A smart and thought-provoking reassessment of the value of boredom and frustration.

Pub Date: June 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-19-091296-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Categories:
Next book

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 27


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

Next book

GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 27


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Close Quickview