Solid, logical tips for readers to be better parents than their own parents.

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THE BOOK YOU WISH YOUR PARENTS HAD READ

(AND YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE GLAD THAT YOU DID)

A veteran London-based psychotherapist uses her training and numerous case studies to formulate advice on how to develop strong and lasting relationships with your children.

“I take the long-term view on parenting rather than a tips-and-tricks approach,” writes Perry (How To Stay Sane, 2012, etc.). “I am interested in how we can relate to our children rather than how we can manipulate them….This book is for parents who not only love their children but want to like them too.” At the beginning, the author asks readers to examine their own childhoods—the good, bad, and everything in-between—and assess what made them feel safe, nurtured, and loved unconditionally. If one did not have a childhood that fostered these positive emotions, as many have not, then she suggests that the emotional discomfort one feels is the clue to what not to do with your own child. By identifying these difficulties, one is more readily able to do the opposite and nurture positive feelings in your child. Perry looks at pregnancy and the first few months of life with a newborn, noting how the months prior to birth and immediately after create significant changes in a parent’s life as they assume one of life’s greatest responsibilities. The author encourages parents to talk to and engage with their child as soon as they can, accepting them as a fully aware person and not someone to talk down to or ignore by constantly being on the phone or by using electronic devices to entertain them. Her common-sense advice is backed by research and case studies as well as a variety of exercises for parents, including one about “how to predict difficulties.” Although Perry’s theories are hardly groundbreaking, the presentation of the information is friendly, accessible, and candid, making it easy to digest and act on.

Solid, logical tips for readers to be better parents than their own parents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984879-55-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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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