Though the idea behind it is intriguing, the book threatens to topple from the unwieldy mix of conversational U.S. history,...



A college football coach fascinated by American Indian history draws contemporary life lessons from the biography of a 19th-century Apache warrior.

Since 2000, Leach (Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life, 2011) has been in the public view as an unorthodox coach. Here, he collaborates with freelance writer Levy (River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon, 2011, etc.), examining the life and times of Geronimo (1829-1909), who could not have attained his warrior reputation without top-notch leadership skills. Leach's admiration for Geronimo is so broad and deep that the book borders on hagiography. The author admits that Geronimo could be viewed as a coldblooded killer, but the wrongs he and his Apache followers suffered due to a lying American government could have driven any fair-minded individual into a frenzy. Although Leach's research is in large part derivative—yet acknowledged—he does offer some fresh tidbits. Furthermore, his insights into the minds of Geronimo, his leading Apache supporters and the U.S. military commanders trying to corral the warrior feel fresh in both their hypothesizing and their passion. In every chapter, the narrative text is interspersed with pithy "Lessons" set in boldface type. During the mid-1800s war between the U.S. government and the government of Mexico, territory that had belonged to Mexico and Spain ended up as part of the United States. The Apaches, who already resided on that land, did not receive an invitation to the negotiations, and the misunderstandings and bloodshed that followed were widespread. Leach is strongest as a biographer when evaluating the stubbornness among warriors on both sides, which caused them to place territorial control as a greater value than the sanctity of life. After Geronimo's capture and imprisonment, the tale turns maudlin. With Geronimo a shadow of his warrior self, Leach’s lessons ring hollow.

Though the idea behind it is intriguing, the book threatens to topple from the unwieldy mix of conversational U.S. history, biography and self-help.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-3493-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


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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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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