Well-organized and replete with examples and exercises; a highly usable aid for those with depression and for concerned...

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DEFEATING DEPRESSION

REAL HELP FOR YOU AND THOSE WHO LOVE YOU

A psychologist offers practical, down-to-earth self-help advice for victims of depression and their families.

Stone (How to Think Theologically, 2013, etc.), a practicing marriage and family therapist, writes in this eminently readable book that self-help “is exactly what’s needed to manage and defeat depression.” While he doesn’t advocate avoiding professional help, Stone offers numerous strategies and techniques enabling those with depression to take immediate, substantive action to solve their own problems. The authoritative, comprehensive guide begins with an overview of depression in a section that aims to remove the stigma of depression and help sufferers embrace a future of hope. The bulk of the book details the “four faces” of depression: physiological, cognitive, behavioral and interpersonal, or as Stone puts it more simply, “body, thoughts, actions, and relationships.” The author devotes several chapters to each of the four areas and includes specific examples of people who overcame depression. In the chapters concerning the cognitive area, he discusses errors in thinking that accentuate depression as well as ways to change negative thinking, control obsessive thoughts, create hopeful conversation, reassign blame, deal with guilt and confront the inner critic. In a particularly interesting exercise, Stone recommends creating a depression flowchart. “The depression flowchart,” he writes, “simply reverses the order of the flowchart for assembling a piece of furniture: you learn how you get depressed and therefore what not to do. Now you can design an alternative way of responding to life’s frustrations and uncertainties.” A final part of the book provides specific resources to help with depression, including suicide prevention strategies and ways to seek out and evaluate professional help. At the end of every chapter, Stone appends two very helpful sections, “Take Action” and “For the Family,” each containing specific steps an individual and family can take to most effectively apply the chapter’s content to their own situations. Also helpful are appendices that include a “self-rating depression scale” and suggested readings and references.

Well-organized and replete with examples and exercises; a highly usable aid for those with depression and for concerned families and friends who want to offer meaningful guidance.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500739751

Page Count: 257

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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