Considered, considerate and engaging.

THE MONOGAMY MYSTERY

NATURAL/UNNATURAL?

A Christian examination of monogamy.

In this thoughtful volume, Cline, a bishop at the New Life Baptist Church, looks at the challenges of marital fidelity in Christian life. Cline takes the position that monogamy as viewed in the contemporary Western world is not entirely biologically or culturally supported, given humans’ own wiring and the expectations placed on men and women during dating. He does, however, believe that monogamous marriages are ultimately desired by God, and to that end, he deals frankly and kindly with the challenges of monogamy and how to handle them. He examines nonmonogamy in the Old Testament, showing how various important biblical figures had multiple partners or committed adultery. He also considers the prevalence of infidelity today, along with its emotional, societal and familial impacts. Cline ends with the idea that “a bigger challenge needs a bigger solution,” looking at ways in which Christians can admit to the challenges of monogamy and recover from infidelity in their own relationships. In a particularly useful chapter, he presents “rules of engagement” for marriage, clearly stating his opinions on what marriage will and won’t do. A later chapter presents advice to young people beginning their dating lives with an eye toward how and if lifelong monogamy should factor into their choices and behavior. Overall, the book presents an honest, nonjudgmental look at an issue that can be difficult to discuss among Christians, and his prose is readable and good-hearted. Of particular use is Cline’s ability to draw openly upon his own experiences, which helps the book feel humanizing while avoiding moralization. Though readers outside Cline’s denomination may not totally agree with his framework, people of faith and nonreligious readers alike will certainly gain new perspectives from his unflinching exploration of relationships, fidelity and how to hold another’s emotions in a romantic relationship.

Considered, considerate and engaging.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692299005

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Jasher Press & Co.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

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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 wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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