A beautifully rendered, well-organized and supremely effective guide, full of insights for the ages.

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A VIEW FROM THE COSMIC MIRROR

REFLECTIONS OF THE SELF IN EVERYDAY LIFE

Self-help for the wounded soul is reflected by the cosmic mirror.

The work of authors Gemmill and Kraus suggests that our life experiences are a valuable reporting mechanism, a tool by which one may confront personal issues: “The core idea of the cosmic mirror is that we unknowingly populate the world around us with our denied inner attributes and struggles.” Petty squabbles, emotionalism and intense dislike of others offer vital clues to unresolved material in the shadow and aura. The shadow is the dark side of the self, a repository of denied urges and feelings, while the aura holds unexpressed talents and qualities. Whatever is repressed is projected onto others. We may react with hypercriticism or blind devotion, yet the enemy and the hero within us require acknowledgment and expression for full realization of the self, according to Gemmill and Kraus. Outing the shadow and aura can lead to a healthier, more expansive and less polarized view. Denial can lead to downfall, as in the case of Eliot Spitzer, whose “illicit behavior was not unlike the crimes of those he prosecuted when he was the New York State Attorney General.” In addition to enhancing self-understanding, the principles presented by the authors can be applied to relations with parents, coworkers and significant others, as well as our perceptions of those in the public eye, be they politicians, athletes, government officials, royalty or celebrities. The authors masterfully develop their thesis and thoroughly support it with personal stories of workshop participants, the writings of poets and philosophers, Native American wisdom, Japanese folklore, pop culture and the seminal work of Carl Jung. Illustrations, diagrams and a glossary facilitate understanding of psychological terms and concepts. Numerous practical and perceptual exercises aid in revealing the inner you. To thine own self be true, thanks to the cosmic mirror.

A beautifully rendered, well-organized and supremely effective guide, full of insights for the ages.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2010

ISBN: 978-1452032832

Page Count: 353

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2011

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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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