An exploration of how people fall into patterns of blaming, and strategies for combating that tendency.
Finding fault in others for one’s problems might be a common behavior, but it’s not an unavoidable one, as debut author Schachtel demonstrates through his analysis of blaming behaviors. The cognitive behavioral therapist identifies “six constructs…that intensify blaming,” including “Look How Important I Am,” or exaggerated self-confidence; “Comparisons,” in which one blames others so that one can feel “successful”; “Work Place Environment,” in which one is driven by a desire to appear competent; “Loss and Grief,” which can foster guilt and self-blame; “Let’s Pray About It,” in which one uses religion to find a culprit for negative outcomes; and “Maybe Later,” in which one avoids blame through procrastination. He also identifies four types of blamers; for example, the “calculating” type is ruthless about shifting responsibility onto others, while the “whatever” type passively assumes that other people will solve problems for them. The diagrams and illustrations here seem intended to elucidate the author’s concepts, but they sometimes create more confusion than clarity. More useful is Schachtel’s suggestion that readers keep a log of their own thoughts, in order to uncover one’s “attitudes, behavior, and excuses” related to shifting responsibility. Overall, the author is engaged in a noble project—to get people to stop blaming others and take back control of their own lives. But this slim effort, which is fewer than 200 pages long, doesn’t succeed at fully explaining why people are prone to such behavior. The intended audience also isn’t very clear, with some examples involving workplaces and others focusing on marriages.
An intriguing but somewhat confusing behavioral treatise.
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").
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)