Two sociology profs and platoons of their graduate students mailed out questionnaires and ran newspaper stories to solicit data from thousands of respondents, then distilled it into 288 pages to tell a tale that any magazine writer could have done better over the weekend with a phone book and a typewriter. Outside of academia, the contents of this volume would command about 2000 words, the kind obtainable at the checkout counter. The authors snared their subjects by asking them if they lived ""in a strong family"" and then apparently took their word if they said they did. Now, the big secrets, set fight out in Chapter One, are these: appreciation, commitment, communication, time, spiritual wellness, and coping ability. Presumably if you know what they are, you can make a strong family of your own. But just in case, and having given away the stuff so early in the game (as our magazine hack never would), they devote one chapter to explicating each secret. Lots of quotes from the members of strong families illustrate the themes inspirationally. Subheads are spread liberally throughout the text (two favorites: ""Hi Ho, lt's Off to Work"" and ""Sometimes Commitment Means Sacrifice""). Journey's end is Chapter Eight, ""Circle of Power."" The authors ask, ""Can people change? Can you learn different ways of relating to others?"" If you just stop for a minute and think. . .but never mind, rush on to the best good news of all: ""People change and learn every day so naturally it can happen for you."" Opt for the condensation.