This immersive, eye-opening journey reveals the effects of mental illness on a physician.

FALLIBLE

A MEMOIR OF A YOUNG PHYSICIAN’S STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

A young doctor valiantly juggles the stresses of a medical career and the agonies of chronic mental illness.

Family physician Jones’ debut memoir portrays the author as a man struggling with “major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder” while pursuing a demanding career. Narrated with an affable, conversational tone, the book begins with an enlightening tour of Jones’ workplace, where the smells of a hospital are “so pervasive that you can’t wash it out of your scrubs.” The mental distortion of the disorders complicated his relentless physician residency, which stretched over many years. Able to identify several possible contributing factors to his condition, the Utah-born author saw his episodes of extreme stress begin to worsen while a teenager on a two-year Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Ukraine in 2000, which Jones meticulously details with great dexterity. This condition intensified further in medical school and well into a marriage that spawned four children, with the accompanying worries that he would pass his condition to his offspring. The author dubs his anxiety the “gargoyle forever watching me,” a monster responsible for uprooting what should have been placid moments throughout his life. Chapters where he explains his condition with statistical data and personal opinions and history are confidently and honestly written. Readers who have these types of psychiatric ailments will find those sections greatly relatable and resourceful. Anecdotes from his compelling medical career and assorted patient stories further personify and enliven a memoir that has a unique combination of both troubling and inspiring elements. Even for a man of devout faith, the hard truths about his mental illness became evident when he pleaded for help from his higher power, which resulted in negligible change to his condition. “Sometimes the answer is no,” he acknowledges. Jones also writes about the social stigma of mental illness, which many cultures consider a “moral failing.” For physicians battling psychiatric issues, his illuminating, forthright memoir closes with proven methods to improve doctors’ well-being. But the author encourages all readers to cultivate their inner strength and “be content and successful despite ongoing weakness.”

This immersive, eye-opening journey reveals the effects of mental illness on a physician.

Pub Date: April 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68433-455-1

Page Count: 348

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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

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GREENLIGHTS

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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