A hodgepodge of science and personal observation, this all-encompassing book urges women to get in sync with their bodies...

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MOODY BITCHES

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DRUGS YOU'RE TAKING, THE SLEEP YOU'RE MISSING, THE SEX YOU'RE NOT HAVING, AND WHAT'S REALLY MAKING YOU CRAZY

Beyond the provocative title, psychiatrist Holland (Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych ER, 2009) does not cast aspersions but instead urges women to embrace their mood fluctuations as part of natural hormonal rhythms.

Medical history has not been kind to women’s health. “[M]alaise, headaches, irritability, nervousness, insomnia, fatigue, low libido, high libido, water retention” are just some of the complaints by women that 19th-century male physicians characterized as hysteria. Even today, women who get angry or cry in the workplace risk being labeled as “emotional and irrational.” Holland parses the science behind mood swings to explain the natural effects and functions of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and other hormones. Sexual drive, marriage, fidelity, childbearing and bonding are all tied to hormonal activity. While the author explores a fascinating array of subjects, much of the delivery of the information is disorganized, resulting in overload and frequent shuffling of pages to review what hormone or neurotransmitter is responsible for what. Holland devotes about half the book to a potpourri of advice on achieving good mental and physical health. There’s not much new information here, and the section could have used some pruning, but the tips are worth reviewing. A top stressor for women is trying to balance job and family, and stress causes inflammation, which makes you vulnerable to chronic diseases such as heart disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and arthritis. Understanding what’s going on in your body and mood swings reduces stress and promotes mental health, writes Holland. Limiting inflammation with a healthy diet—light on carbs and high on fresh vegetables—exercise, sleep, good sex and communing with nature promote physical health.

A hodgepodge of science and personal observation, this all-encompassing book urges women to get in sync with their bodies and embrace their moods.

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59420-580-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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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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