THE PLIANT ANIMAL: Understanding the Greatest Human Asset by George Weinberg

THE PLIANT ANIMAL: Understanding the Greatest Human Asset

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Greatest Human Asset"" is our ability to change ourselves by changing our outlook. Now this is not the most profound of discoveries, though Dr. Weinberg writes quite movingly--if somewhat loosely--of the ""descent"" of psychology from a study designed to help people change themselves to a specialist's controlling tool. In upholding free will against the forces of determinism and fatalism, Weinberg is echoing much of the self-help movement; and he nods to this trend with a final section on the ""practical"" side of pliancy: here, that means philosophical essays on the psychological benefits of helping a friend, of imparting values to one's children, even of literary insights. Altogether the book extends outward from--and, to some extent, recapitulates--Dr. Weinberg's position in Self Creation (1978) that one's actions tend to reinforce (or even create) one's outlook: ""we can choose acts for their anticipated effects on ourselves."" If his review of the history-of-psychology is somewhat facile (and decidedly narrow), he could help the dispirited who only need a little encouragement.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's