A candid guidebook to exorcising mental trauma.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?

CONVERSATIONS ON TRAUMA, RESILIENCE, AND HEALING

A collaborative look at brain trauma and methods to alleviate the potentially lifelong effects.

Child psychiatrist and neuroscientist Perry teams with Winfrey to examine traumatic injury caused by an abusive childhood. The book is formatted in a conversational interview format, with Perry sharing his insights on stress, brain biology, and physiological response, offering new approaches to emotional and psychological pain. Using medical models, Winfrey’s personal experience, and Perry’s years of research, the authors demonstrate the brain’s resilience and ability to adapt to traumatic situations, particularly when paired with psychopharmacological remedies, natural interventions, and behavioral treatments. This process of neural recalibration works wonders in instances of deeply embedded trauma and abuse, allowing people to live better lives through newly invigorated self-worth. Winfrey candidly shares difficult memories of a childhood where regular whippings (as early as age 3) were “accepted practice” and there were expectations of silence and a smile in their aftermath. In addition to this early trauma, she recounts her difficult adult relationship with her mother, which culminates in a powerful scene in a nursing home when Winfrey froze at her mother’s bedside, unable to address her. She admits that while collectively these events manifested into her adult relationships and behavior, she eventually processed and embraced the trauma as an opportunity for healing and a way to move forward. With proactive conviction, the authors help readers to recognize their own internalized trauma and encourage the reshaping of personal paths toward wellness and “to excavate the roots that were put down long before we had the words to articulate what was happening to us.” Through therapeutic frameworks and the curative power of community, belonging, human connection, and mindfulness, the authors show how renewal of mind and spirit is attainable. Though many of these issues have been addressed before, Perry and Winfrey’s partnership is notable, and their book is worthy of attention.

A candid guidebook to exorcising mental trauma.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22318-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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

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GREENLIGHTS

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

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