The Dangerous Trip from In the Head to Out the Mouth
Email this review


Practical advice on rethinking thinking.

Though the title of the author’s first self-help guide may suggest an abstract philosophical treatise, this executive coach offers concrete recommendations for reevaluating the ways in which we interact with the world. The “trouble” Powers discusses doesn’t apply to all aspects of human thinking, but rather to the all-too-common instances where we go into the autopilot mode she dubs the “Rat Brain Loop”–“Rat Brain keeps us ‘safe’ by inducing anxiety and suspicion; from here we focus on being right, blaming others, and ‘winning.’ Anytime we feel vulnerable Rat Brain takes over, protects us, and keeps us on guard.” Such rushed, self-preserving thought, Powers argues, can often lead to misinterpretation, premature judgment and–ironically–self-destructive reactions. Through numerous, often humorous anecdotes from both business and personal settings, Powers shows the Rat Brain in action. Her theories on improving our relations with others place great value on speculation, and she warns of the dangers of assuming complete understanding of any given situation. She advises readers to enlist all their senses when observing, keeping an open mind and avoiding labels when applying meaning to another’s statements or actions. Above all, Powers says, “slow down enough to notice your thinking” and “trust that taking care of your end of what’s going on will have a positive impact. You focusing on you and your own actions can simply take the pressure off. And when there’s room to breathe, things change.” The repetitive nature of her suggestions occasionally becomes tedious, but the message remains clear and valuable.

Entertaining evidence and convincing suggestions for more effective communication.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 2006
ISBN: 0-595-39396-9
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: