Well-intentioned yet ultimately flawed examination of the creative force unleashed through forgiveness.

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FORGIVENESS: KEY TO THE CREATIVE LIFE

ITS POWER AND ITS PRACTICE--LESSONS FROM BRAIN STUDIES, SCRIPTURE, AND EXPERIENCE

A pastor uses field theory to expound on the power of forgiveness and the potency of creativity.

Influenced by the work of physicist Michael Faraday and others, author/counselor Emerson studies the connection between forgiveness and creativity, using field theory to analyze interpersonal relations. This book expands on Emerson’s earlier work (The Dynamics of Forgiveness, 2007) and is written for the benefit of students, clergy and laymen. Field theory is complex and applicable not only to physical sciences but also math and psychology. Here the author describes a contextual universe—one in which the injurer in need of forgiveness, the injured who may offer forgiveness and their observers coexist and influence one another. An act and the reaction to that act unfold in a shared sphere of experience that may encompass an entire community, as in the case of the Amish school shootings in 2006. During his years of practice, Emerson encountered many who indicated that neurological studies had been a factor in developing the ability to forgive and live creatively. Functional MRIs (fMRIs) suggest that important physiological changes take place in the brain when one forgives or responds creatively. Here, creativity is not penning a poem or painting a portrait, but behaving in a purposeful, nonreactionary way. The author also examines blame, shame and the church’s historical approach to forgiveness. The application of field theory to psychology is valid, and echoes that oft-repeated mystical truth—we are one. Although Emerson’s findings may have profound implications for clergy, practitioners and academics, it seems unlikely that a lay person would review his or her fMRIs in search of behavioral guidance. The impact of field theory on the average person in daily life is unclear. What is the value of this research in a spur-of-the-moment incident like road rage, when the middle finger trumps the mid-brain? Actual case histories, including Columbine, are analyzed after the fact and tailored to fit a model. A reactionary approach, it seems, but easily forgiven.

Well-intentioned yet ultimately flawed examination of the creative force unleashed through forgiveness.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2007

ISBN: 978-1434308009

Page Count: 203

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2010

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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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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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