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SIT WRITE SHARE

PRACTICAL WRITING STRATEGIES TO TRANSFORM YOUR EXPERIENCE INTO CONTENT THAT MATTERS

A thoughtful, well-researched guide to creating good writing habits.

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A debut manual lays out practical steps to making writing part of one’s daily life.

As a former computer scientist–turned–writing coach, Britton’s path to writing wasn’t always clear; she quips that in graduate school, she “preferred cleaning toilets to writing papers.” But the writing she did as part of her job and her work toward a master’s degree in positive psychology made her realize that putting words on paper didn’t have to be a chore, and in this book, she encourages readers to similarly “enter the space of deliberate writing practice with an experimental mindset.” The book focuses on ways to encourage writing as a habit through three eponymous actions: “Sit” (quieting the mind to prepare for writing), “Write” (getting material on paper), and “Share” (involving an audience in the work). Britton breaks these into subcategories of “experiments,” such as setting one’s specific intentions for a writing project, using dictation as a creative jump-start, or examining one’s writing for cultural sensitivity. Most experiments include a “Story,” or fictionalized anecdote, to help readers visualize an exercise, and sections end with a “Moral,” or takeaway, such as “It is easier to be accountable to someone else than to yourself.” The author presents an accessible structure that readers can adapt to their lives as needed. The book reads like a scientific sibling to Julia Cameron’s more spiritual The Artist’s Way (1992), as Britton’s advice is well grounded in research on habit creation, backed by an ample resource list. Although some experiments may seem overly familiar (reading more books to inspire one’s writing; silencing the inner critic), others are refreshingly intriguing (using a “procrastination hierarchy” to get writing done). The use of subcategories and granular steps may overwhelm some readers, but Britton’s conversational tone is a strength, and when discussing the fear people often face in starting to write, she’s reassuring: “Let me invite you to write without worrying about whether you are a writer. You are a writer already. You make up new sentences out loud all day long without worrying about whether you are a speaker.”

A thoughtful, well-researched guide to creating good writing habits.

Pub Date: April 29, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-98582-460-5

Page Count: 238

Publisher: Theano Press

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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

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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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GREENLIGHTS

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

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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

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