by Jeffrey Lieberman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 21, 2023
A compelling and engaging story that shines much-needed light into a dark corner of modern society.
A renowned psychiatrist explains the process and history of a debilitating, pervasive mental illness.
Lieberman, a psychiatrist who has specialized in this field for 40 years and the author of Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry, argues persuasively that the public understanding of schizophrenia is limited. Affecting 3.3 million people in the U.S. and 78 million worldwide, it has little to do with split personalities, but it manifests with a range of psychotic behaviors and delusions. “Schizophrenia doesn’t discriminate,” writes the author. “It can strike the Ivy League-bound high school valedictorian as much as it can the impoverished kid from a broken home. Gender, race, ethnicity, affluence, education—none of these provides immunity.” Tracking the history, Lieberman notes that ancient texts mention it, and for centuries, it was associated with demonic possession. Even after it was identified as an illness, effective treatment remained elusive. Eventually, researchers shifted their focus to chemical imbalances. The first therapeutic drug was chlorpromazine (thorazine), which led to a generation of antipsychotics. It also pointed the way to understanding that schizophrenia is tied to a malfunction of dopamine neurotransmission in the brain—although there is also a genetic element that makes some people vulnerable. Unfortunately, as the author shows, research was hampered by the emergence of syndromes that were not actually schizophrenia but looked much like it. The science has come a long way, however, and schizophrenia is now treatable—but it must be identified and addressed as early as possible. Schizophrenia is progressive, and once it reaches a certain stage, permanent brain damage is almost inevitable. Lieberman provides a list of symptoms to watch for, and a program that he has developed has had a good success rate. As he did in Shrinks, the author presents an informative, authoritative package.A compelling and engaging story that shines much-needed light into a dark corner of modern society.
Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023
Page Count: 544
Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022
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by Walter Isaacson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023
Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.
To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 688
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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by Robert Greene ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 1998
If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.
The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.
Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998
Page Count: 430
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998
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