Sunny, easy-to-follow self-help principles.

WE

A MANIFESTO FOR WOMEN EVERYWHERE: 9 PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY

A series of practical steps for women to self-improve and help each other.

In this collaboration, actress Anderson (co-author: The Sound of Seas: The EarthEnd Saga #3, 2016, etc.) and journalist Nadel (Pretty Thing, 2015, etc.) combine elements of self-help techniques, behavior therapy, meditation, and friendly conversations with a best friend or therapist. “WE is a journey based on a set of nine principles that have been taught by sages and saints throughout the ages and which have the power to transform your life and the world around you,” write the authors. “It isn’t a lifestyle choice to be bolted onto ego-driven living; it’s a path of radical transformation that puts compassion for the world at its core.” The authors claim that by following the numerous exercises included under each guiding principle—honesty, acceptance, courage, trust, humility, peace, love, joy, and kindness—women will notice a shift in their attitudes toward others and how others treat them. The assignments, which can be accomplished in small increments, require the use of a journal or notebook. Since they build on one another, readers should start at the beginning rather than jump to a particular principle. Personal comments by both authors help readers understand how the nine beliefs have affected their lives, and they include a useful summary of each of the values as well as relevant affirmations from a variety of historical figures, including Helen Keller, Anne Frank, and Rosa Parks. Though the authors don’t provide much new or groundbreaking information, the way they have grouped it together, distilled the essence of each practice, and provided a road map of tasks will enable readers to actually set a plan in motion. “You have nothing to lose but your unhappiness,” they write, “and the world has everything to gain.”

Sunny, easy-to-follow self-help principles.

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2627-7

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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