An intelligently crafted resource for pursuing emotional health.

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ANGER MANAGEMENT

A comprehensive approach to the treatment of anger. 

Traditional anger management strategies are often more theoretical than practical, or they discount the moral and spiritual context of a person’s feelings. In their first collaborative effort, Bruteyn (Prisoner to Profiteer, 2014, etc.) and debut author Noblitt articulate a more holistic approach to anger management that includes an emphasis on a sufferer’s existential life—one’s moral beliefs, religious worldview, fears, and aspirations—as well as fitness and nutrition. They also incorporate principles of positive psychology, which concentrate on virtues that are conducive to personal happiness: “People developing strength related skills are likely to be happier. Happy people are less likely to succumb to anger.” With impressive clarity, the authors describe a 12-week program with each weekly session lasting approximately 90 minutes (not counting assigned “homework”). They provide strategies for addressing short- and long-term anger, including detailed breathing exercises, yoga, and music therapy. Each session also offers “Virtue/Strength/Skill” exercises, which are designed to help one tackle the causes of anger from a moral and spiritual perspective. The book also includes a tool—“Anger Control Today”—to chart one’s progress between sessions. The authors have eclectic backgrounds—Noblitt is a yoga master, and Bruteyn, who’s currently serving a sentence in federal prison for securities fraud, has a doctorate in psychology and Christian counseling—and their broad spectrum of experience surely contributes to this book’s thoughtful thoroughness. They’re also relentlessly practical, eschewing complex academic theories in favor of immediately actionable strategies. Along the way, they astutely distinguish between many different kinds of anger—including passive aggression, shame-based anger, and righteous indignation—as each demands its own treatment methods. The program was initially crafted to help counselors lead anger management groups, but it appears suitable for a self-directed program. It’s a useful combination of rigorous psychology, moral philosophy, and good common sense. 

An intelligently crafted resource for pursuing emotional health. 

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5320-6033-5

Page Count: 248

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2019

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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

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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

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