A worthy, comprehensive exploration of supplements to improve brain function and energy.



A health science guide examines alternatives to caffeine.

At age 26, Beshara was diagnosed with a heart condition that required him to drastically cut down on his caffeine consumption. For the young business owner, the recommendation seemed impossible. “I took it for granted that coffee was the ambitious person’s best friend,” writes the debut author in his introduction, but after five years of experimentation, “I have learned about the different compounds from around the world that allow me to consume a fraction of the caffeine I used to, yet produce a multiple of the energy and productivity that coffee once delivered.” In this book, Beshara takes readers on a journey into the world of nootropics, adaptogens, mushrooms, anti-inflammatories, and other noncaffeinated methods of keeping the body energized throughout the day. Nootropics—a broad category of compounds intended to improve cognitive function that run the gamut from safe and healthy to dangerous and addictive—take up the bulk of the volume’s pages. They include alphabet soup compounds like Omega-3 EPA and Alpha-GPC as well as obscure plants like ashwagandha and bacopa monnieri. Adaptogens are destressing agents. Beshara structures the work like a series of product reviews, giving each compound or plant a sustainability score (how safe it is to consume regularly) as well as discussing how well it works and any negative side effects it might have. Panax ginseng, for example, receives a sustainability score of only three out of five (too low for the author to recommend). While this adaptogen has displayed signs of improving cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s patients, “Panax ginseng must be avoided in pregnancy. It has been shown to increase the risk of birth defects. Continuous use should also be limited to six months or less due to its hormone-like effects on the body.” Beshara’s book—written with Engle (The Concussion Repair Manual, 2017) and debut author Haynes—is short at just over 120 pages, but it features an extensive bibliography that includes the many studies on which the text is based. Those who are looking to consume less caffeine will be intrigued by this extensive list of alternatives, though nothing the work describes sounds quite as good as a regular cup of joe.

A worthy, comprehensive exploration of supplements to improve brain function and energy.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0545-9

Page Count: 146

Publisher: Monocle Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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