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

READ REVIEW

READY OR NOT

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more