Articulate, loaded with informative details, especially timely, and bound to leave the reader reaching for a bottle of...

CRISIS IN U.S. HEALTH CARE

CORPORATE POWER VS. THE COMMON GOOD

A book examines all aspects of medical care in the United States and how it has changed over the past 60 years.

Geyman (The Human Face of ObamaCare, 2016, etc.) graduated from medical school in 1956. During the subsequent 60 years, he has garnered experience as a rural family physician, a teacher and administrator in three medical schools, and an editor of family medicine journals. He has watched as corporate health behemoths have swallowed up family practice, the traditional bedrock of the relationship between physician and patient: “Family medicine, as the direct descendent of general practice, taking care of patients regardless of age, comprises less than 10 percent of the country’s physician workforce.” The service ethic of medicine, Geyman declares, has been replaced with the “business ethic,” and the result is poorer patient care. Another serious problem he addresses is the skyrocketing cost of health care. High insurance deductibles, extraordinarily escalating pharmaceutical prices, and a tendency on the part of physicians to order excessive tests and procedures to increase compensation have put basic medical care out of reach for millions of Americans. Geyman cites several breathtaking examples regarding prescription costs: the drug Hetlioz, used to treat sleep disorders, costs $148,000 per year. And “hospitals and pharmacies found the prices they had to pay for a bottle of 500 tablets of Doxycycline, a decades-old antibiotic, rose in just six months in 2014 from $20 to $1,849!” This accessible, comprehensive book makes a strong case for a complete overhaul of the U.S. health care system. No fan of the Affordable Care Act, which he says has failed to reduce costs and is a boondoggle for corporate interests, Geyman concludes that the only viable alternative is a single-payer system: “Today’s health care system, serving its corporate masters more than patients, is unfair, ineffective, inhumane for those left out, and financially unsustainable.” The dense volume is occasionally repetitive but lightened a bit by the inclusion of vignettes from the author’s personal practice. Patient anecdotes and commentaries from copious professional sources are compelling.

Articulate, loaded with informative details, especially timely, and bound to leave the reader reaching for a bottle of aspirin.     

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938218-15-6

Page Count: 358

Publisher: BCH Fulfillment and Distribution

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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