A successful, engaging book about shamanic ideas and psychological archetypes, among other concepts.

Change Your Story, Change Your Life

USING SHAMANIC AND JUNGIAN TOOLS TO ACHIEVE PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION

A rich guide to spiritual awakening and emotional balance.

Many self-improvement titles urge meditation, breathing, and journaling to engage readers on their path to wellness. Greer, a clinical psychologist, Jungian analyst, and shamanic practitioner, takes readers much further, introducing less common tools, such as shamanic principles and Jungian archetypes. Shamanism, he insists, aims to free people from habitual responses and inserts a “pause” between stimuli and reactions. Doing so, Greer writes, allows one’s perception to be autonomous and influenced by detached observation. To readers who are unfamiliar with shamanic principles, the book clearly and vividly describes its practices to help readers live more fully and compassionately. For example, Greer explains that holding too tight to one’s personal “story” discourages change, but detachment from divorce, abuse, failure, or heartbreak can allow for re-evaluation of one’s beliefs. The author also fascinatingly asserts that all things have a frequency and an energetic nature and that people can sense vibrations in their physical surroundings. But there’s also an intriguing lesson behind this idea: our bodies carry frequencies as well, he says, reinforcing the idea that the physical body, like the mind, carries energy that affects one’s overall wellness. Greer also thoughtfully explains mindful breathing, journeying through autobiographical exercises, and acknowledging and calling on inner archetypes (“we all have an inner critic and an inner wise person, an inner mother and inner father, and an inner feminine and inner masculine figure or energy”). In a final chapter, the author discusses the use of rituals as a way to create new stories. Overall, Greer successfully offers an entrance into ancient topics that may renew readers’ zest for life and their hope for future progress.

A successful, engaging book about shamanic ideas and psychological archetypes, among other concepts.  

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84409-464-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Findhorn Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

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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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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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