So, smart steps in the right direction, good cross-species comparisons, but a way to go.

THE ORIGIN OF MINDS

EVOLUTION, UNIQUENESS, AND THE NEW SCIENCE OF THE SELF

Psychologist La Cerra and biologist Bingham unfold their version of what makes us unique.

“Unfold” is the word, since their approach is developmental. A baby is neither a tabula rasa nor a full-fledged persona but engaged in survival using instinct, sensory experience, and feedback. In this, babies are hardly different from bacteria, whose more primitive “minds” enable them to move toward food or tumble randomly, or from bees, coding color, shape, and scent to record which flowers are best. Now comes the jargon: thus individuals build “adaptive representational networks” (ARNS), which include the mental “snapshot” of a particular behavior associated with a successful outcome (raid fridge, satisfy hunger). Intersecting these myriad ARNS are Life History Regulatory Systems—your part genetic, part environmentally induced life stages—childhood to adolescence to reproductive years, and beyond. Since everyone’s experiences are unique, the self is unique, and the invoking of chance, environmental vagaries, language, and learning are both hope and guarantee that the self can be re-calibrated—made over by changing the inputs (as in AA and other 12-step programs). There is even a suggestion that some serious affective states such as depression and manic-depression are ways of re-calibrating—a kind of coping mechanism that unfortunately goes too far. By the end, though, one senses that this constructivist approach—a bootstrap building of the self—is too pat. There is more to human behavior than ARNS, LHRS’s, and “behavioral intelligence.” And while the arguments here to counter the dogmas of evolutionary psychology are sound, the authors’ claims that their new theory of the self shares some of the best insights of Freud, Skinner, and Maslow seem like so much back-patting.

So, smart steps in the right direction, good cross-species comparisons, but a way to go.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-609-60558-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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