Rock-solid advice for harried parents in a world that shows no signs of slowing down.

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PREPARING OUR KIDS TO THRIVE IN AN UNCERTAIN AND RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD

Why young adults are not ready for adulthood and what parents can do to help prepare them.

Political unrest, rapid technological advances, massive shifts in demographics, and climate change: These and many other factors mean that we live in remarkably unpredictable times, which has caused significant spikes in anxiety for both parents and teens. In her latest book, clinician and consultant Levine (Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success, 2012, etc.) shows parents how to address these concerns so that their children can have a “hopeful future they will both inherit and invent.” Because parents feel immense pressure to ensure a stable future for their child—good education, reliable employment, etc.—they often do too much, micromanaging every moment of their child’s life, which usually hinders the child’s ability to learn, experiment, and function on their own. “If our children are to thrive in a world that is rapidly evolving and full of uncertainty, they need less structure and more play,” writes the author. “They need to become comfortable with experimentation, risk-taking, and trial-and-error learning. Shielding them from failure is counterproductive. Our kids need to spend less time burnishing their resumes and more time exploring and reflecting.” Bolstering her arguments with research statistics and case studies, Levine offers readers a concrete review of what is working and, more importantly, what is not working for parents and young adults. She analyzes the paralyzing effects of excessive stress and depression, suggests age-appropriate responsibilities for children as young as toddlers (put toys away, for example), and encourages parents to step back and try to refrain from engaging in helicopter parenting. Despite the author’s conversational tone, she imparts a strong and convincing message: Parents must let their children develop their independence in order to greet their futures with confidence and the skills necessary to survive.

Rock-solid advice for harried parents in a world that shows no signs of slowing down.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-265775-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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