An intriguing invitation to tune into the therapeutic experience of psychedelic connectivity.



It’s hard to argue the fact that we are losing our human-to-human connection. One way back, suggests Holland, a psychiatrist who specializes in psychopharmacology, is via psychedelic medicines.

To reproduce, nurture, and survive, humans are hard-wired for connection, but our current state is one of disconnection and isolation. However, as the author writes in this enthusiastic foray into the possibilities of igniting the “pharmacological fireworks in our brains,” we have the potential “to bring us back into alignment with our true purpose, which is connection.” Social isolation “has a lethality on par with being obese, or with smoking about fifteen cigarettes a day.” One expression of it is our obsession with screens; another is the opioid epidemic. Via her personal experience, interviews with experts, and a sturdy grasp of the medical literature, Holland explains the monitored use of MDMA, LSD, THC, and psilocybin mushrooms to “light a path out of chronic loneliness and toward connectedness.” The author, who edited The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis (2010) and Ecstasy: The Complete Guide (2001), ranges among connections with the self, a partner, family, community, Earth, and the cosmos. One of Holland’s most important aims—and one that will ring true for many readers—is to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, the flip side of the fight-or-flight state, the mode when we feel relaxed, safe, loving, and loved. There are many states of chronic stress, loneliness, addiction, and alienation that can be addressed by using the best drugs available for orchestrating the process of attachment, and they are already in your brain—e.g., oxytocin, vasopressin, serotonin, endorphins, endocannabinoids, and dopamine. Holland explores a number of avenues to access this feel-good chemistry—conscious breathing, sex, meditation, group activities—and she conveys great excitement and marvelous anecdotes about the prospects of the psychedelic pharmacopeia.

An intriguing invitation to tune into the therapeutic experience of psychedelic connectivity.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-286288-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper Wave

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.


Bestselling author Haig offers a book’s worth of apothegms to serve as guides to issues ranging from disquietude to self-acceptance.

Like many collections of this sort—terse snippets of advice, from the everyday to the cosmic—some parts will hit home with surprising insight, some will feel like old hat, and others will come across as disposable or incomprehensible. Years ago, Haig experienced an extended period of suicidal depression, so he comes at many of these topics—pain, hope, self-worth, contentment—from a hard-won perspective. This makes some of the material worthy of a second look, even when it feels runic or contrary to experience. The author’s words are instigations, hopeful first steps toward illumination. Most chapters are only a few sentences long, the longest running for three pages. Much is left unsaid and left up to readers to dissect. On being lost, Haig recounts an episode with his father when they got turned around in a forest in France. His father said to him, “If we keep going in a straight line we’ll get out of here.” He was correct, a bit of wisdom Haig turned to during his depression when he focused on moving forward: “It is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” Many aphorisms sound right, if hardly groundbreaking—e.g., a quick route to happiness is making someone else happy; “No is a good word. It keeps you sane. In an age of overload, no is really yes. It is yes to having space you need to live”; “External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind.” Haig’s fans may enjoy this one, but others should take a pass.

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?