FALLING IN LOVE

WHY WE CHOOSE THE LOVERS WE CHOOSE

A couples— therapist’s clinical look at how and why we fall in love removes some of the mystery from that most magical of human experiences. Pines (Romantic Jealousy, 1992; Keeping the Spark Alive, 1988), a social psychologist and researcher who is also a clinical psychologist specializing in relationship issues, tackles her subject from both perspectives. As a social psychologist and researcher she analyzes how we fall in love; her clinical experience and psychodynamic theories come into play in the exploration of why we choose a particular person. She draws extensively on three studies: interviews with 100 men and women about their romantic relationships; a cross-cultural study comparing American and Israeli accounts of falling in love; and interviews with 100 couples comparing their reasons for falling in love with later stress in their relationship. Pines describes falling in love as a staged process. First is geographic proximity; then a state of emotional arousal; awareness of the other’s appealing appearance and personality; discovery of similarities; and finally, with growing intimacy, the revelation of deeper psychological needs and the mutual ability to satisfy them. Gender differences and the evolutionary, social, and psychoanalytic theories that seek to explain them are also examined. As to why we fall in love with a particular person, Pines looks at various psychological theories and concludes that an internal romantic image plays a key role in whom we choose and that childhood experiences of love shape this image. Interviews with four individuals reveal how early relationships with parents affected subsequent romantic ones; Steve, for instance, was abandoned by his father and terrified of the live-in boyfriends of his cruel and demanding mother. He fell in love with a domineering woman and found the relationship exciting but scary, and he remains unattached. Not a how-to guide for the lovelorn but a serious, research-oriented work of special interest to those involved in couples— therapy. (11 b&w photos) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-415-92046-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Routledge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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