A vivid, offbeat, and thought-provoking look at ways of dealing with the stresses of life.



A self-help book that taps into the wisdom of animals in an effort to improve readers’ emotional health and leadership skills.

“One of the casualties of a busy and technological modern life,” writes leadership coach Anstandig in this heavily autobiographical work, “is that we have lost our sensitivity to pressure as a central signal system for taking care of our needs.” One of her book’s many lessons details how she learned from the various animals in her life how to deal with these pressures and become “a pure and free version of me.” She relates many stories of having been, as she puts it, “raised by wolves,” referring to her childhood dog companions. Her narration of her deep emotional connections with these and other creatures, including horses, undergirds a greater discussion of a concept she calls “Natural Leadership,” which is based on “our innate signal systems as mammals and on phenomena that occur in the natural world.” There are various channels that all feed into the integrated awareness of Natural Leadership, Anstandig says, and she maintains that making an effort to truly listen to these signals give us “a more honest story about who we are.” Overall, the author’s decision to ground so much of her motivational insights in her friendships with members of other species turns out to be a compelling one, as it allows her to discuss the workings of pressure without getting distracted by the typical, everyday rationalizations that tend to stick to the subject when discussing human interactions. Her animals, she engagingly points out, insist that she meet them “where they live: in the present, in honesty, and in the body.” Her extensive passages describing these relationships—their “verve and aliveness,” as she puts it—are the high points of the book.

A vivid, offbeat, and thought-provoking look at ways of dealing with the stresses of life.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63195-693-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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