by Pamela D. Garcy ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 19, 2009
An instructive, practical self-help book, full of “aha!” moments.
Psychologist Garcy offers a guide for living a healthier and happier life using REBT (rational emotive behavior therapy) methods.
This neatly organized, 52-chapter activity book incorporates the REBT techniques developed in the 1950s by psychologist Albert Ellis. Garcy explains that part of the REBT philosophy is the idea that unhappiness is often caused by one’s emotional perception of events and situations. Garcy details a simple, thoughtful strategy for analyzing and categorizing beliefs as rational or irrational; for example, she urges readers to change statements so that they start with “I would like to have” instead of “I need.” She emphasizes the importance of becoming aware of what causes healthy or unhealthy emotions: “Awareness precedes thoughtfulness, and thoughtfulness precedes decision.” Part of successfully combating depression and encouraging positive action, she explains, is separating “things you do from who you are.” An overwhelming belief that one can always do better, she writes, can cause “an enduring sense of depression.” The book’s format as a series of exercises permits a personal and practical approach, allowing readers to relate the REBT principles to their own lives. It include strategies for defeating procrastination, creating positive reinforcement, maintaining a sense of humor and increasing tolerance in order to achieve personal goals. The author also discusses how to cope with feeling out of control—a useful skill to have in increasingly complicated times. In addition to the many practical—and even humorous—exercises throughout the book, there are sections which prompt journal entries and require more thoughtful reflection. Garcy’s enthusiasm is infectious, and her logical, pointed questions may prompt helpful, healing introspection. An appendix includes a list of additional suggested readings.An instructive, practical self-help book, full of “aha!” moments.
Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2009
Page Count: 180
Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2013
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Daniel Kahneman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011
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
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011
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by Robert Greene ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 13, 2012
Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...
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
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012
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