Though often touching on profoundly sad situations, Samuel’s stories and reflections consistently hit an authentically...

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GRIEF WORKS

STORIES OF LIFE, DEATH, AND SURVIVING

A psychotherapist shares stories and advice from her 25-year practice as a grief counselor.

The death of a beloved family member, partner, or friend is an experience that will affect everyone at some point, yet communication surrounding the process of mourning can be awkward. Many individuals remain in a state of denial until the reality of losing someone hits them head-on, and while the pain triggered by the loss may eventually be minimized, ultimately there’s no getting around it. In this moving and insightful debut, Samuel offers an accessible handbook for anyone undergoing this experience, eloquently steering readers through the progression of understanding and accepting pain in order to move on in their lives. “In continuing to deny death,” writes the author, “we are inevitably denying the richness of life….Loss is intrinsic to the human experience….But in order to live truly, to experience life fully, we need to be able to accept that. We sometimes need to sit with pain and to accept discomfort. And at the far end of the spectrum of loss is grief, which is one of the greatest manifestations of psychological pain that we can go through.” The book is arranged in sections focusing on the nature of the loss—partner, parent, sibling, or child—with case studies of how individuals found some level of solace through their own approach to a particular grieving experience. In a later chapter, Samuel touches on facing your own death, and the final culminating section, “What helps: the work we need to do to help us grieve and survive successfully,” includes constructive advice for those who want to offer support. As a guide for the newly grieving, the book succeeds on many levels, and the author’s compassionate storytelling skills provide even broader appeal.

Though often touching on profoundly sad situations, Samuel’s stories and reflections consistently hit an authentically inspiring note.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-8153-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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