Psychology Book Reviews (page 177)

Released: May 11, 1992

An impressively researched, authoritative, and absolutely mind-boggling survey of ``the transformative capacities of human nature.'' As to be expected from a co-founder of California's Esalen Institute, the emphasis here is very much on mind-body phenomena, with the focus on individuals who apparently have extended the usual reach of human possibility—saints, mystics, psychics, artists, geniuses, etc. Drawing on an astonishing array of eyewitness accounts, scientific studies, biographies, letters, monographs, etc., Murphy rigorously organizes his vast material into three categories: ``Possibilities for Extraordinary Life''; ``Transformative Practices''; and ``Evidence for Human Transformative Capacity.'' In the last category, for example, he discusses and documents placebo effects, spiritual healing, hypnosis, ``somatic'' disciplines such as the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method, yogic powers, the charismas of saints, etc. All this fascinating if sometimes sensational information does serve a purpose, of course—to illuminate the author's ``central observations and proposals,'' e.g., that ``the evidence for extraordinary human attributes strongly supports some sort of penentheism....the doctrine that Divinity is both immanent and transcendent to the universe.'' Whatever one thinks of Murphy's conclusions, even a casual dipping into his text, which will no doubt become a primary source for future mind-body investigation, will reveal a world of inspiring wonders. Read full book review >
Released: May 8, 1992

"Follow your bliss'' prescriptions seem a sure tonic for the times."
How do adults grow? Read full book review >

Released: May 6, 1992

"An original and highly stimulating argument in favor of bringing science and scientists back down to earth."
Former physics professor Schwartz offers a captivating history of the progressive alienation between Western culture and its scientists—an unnatural split that, he says, can be blamed for, among other things, modern technological disasters, cultural malaise, and the physics-propelled cold war. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1992

"A grim and gripping report."
Life within a ``hell and heaven, dungeon and sanctuary'' for the mentally ill, here given the fictitious name of Bedloe State Hospital. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1992

"Extraordinary in so many ways, Sartre's 1924-39 letters illuminate his evolving thought and his groundbreaking relationship with Beauvoir—perhaps at its finest in their exchange of written words."
Only three months after Simone de Beauvoir's Letters to Sartre appeared in English, we now have a fine translation of the other side of this rightfully legendary correspondence. Read full book review >

Released: April 20, 1992

"We can not yet, and perhaps never will, eliminate philosophy or psychology from the discussion."
``Strenuous'' is how Nobelist (Physiology or Medicine, 1972) Edelman describes the difficulties readers will encounter as they ply their way through yet another texty analysis of what it means to be a mind. Read full book review >
Released: April 15, 1992

"There is much that is stimulating in Rosenfield's rereading of history and case studies, but his synthesis may swing the pendulum too far in the direction of an all-encompassing explanatory principle that reverses Descartes's dictum: For Rosenfield, it is I am (have a body), therefore I think."
City University's Rosenfield has been described as one ``trained as a mathematician, a physician, a philosopher, and a historian of ideas.'' Aspects of all four are reflected in this short and provocative work, with perhaps the lion's share being that of the philosopher. Read full book review >
Released: April 13, 1992

"Still, overall, rewarding- -if demanding."
A deep, wide-ranging, and scholarly exploration of emotion by two psychologists who assert that this area of human nature is much more subject to our control and creative transformation than is commonly believed. Read full book review >
Released: April 8, 1992

"Replete with anecdotal material, this offers few new insights but does lay out issues of development that only adoptees face over the course of life."
A rather thin volume that nevertheless will reassure adoptees that it is usual for questions about adoption and birth parents to persist throughout life. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1992

"Those close to people with mental illness should find insight and gentle guidance here."
The younger sister of a woman with lifelong disabling mental illness describes her struggles to oversee her sister's care after their mother's death, and to acknowledge the deeply pervasive effects of the illness on her own self-image and outlook. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1992

"Every quote from Tocqueville makes you wish that he were still here to speak for himself."
Here, Derber (Sociology/Boston College; coauthor, Power in the Highest Degree, 1990) blames America's ethical, social, and economic collapse on ``wilding''—the same term used for the brutal 1989 attack by a gang of youths on a Central Park jogger. ``Wilding'' is an epidemic, Derber argues, ``seeping into America mainly from the top.'' Why use the term ``wilding''? ``Wilding includes a vast spectrum of self-centered and self- aggrandizing behavior that harms others.'' Its cause? Read full book review >
Released: March 23, 1992

"With economic troubles all around and fortunes gone sour overnight, Brim forsakes the quick fix for thoughtful observations about how we drive ourselves and measure results."
Succinct and finely tuned thoughts on why happiness has little to do with money, youth, or even education, by the director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Mid-Life Development. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Beatriz Williams
June 23, 2015

In Beatriz Williams’ latest novel Tiny Little Thing, it’s the summer of 1966 and Christina Hardcastle—“Tiny” to her illustrious family—stands on the brink of a breathtaking future. Of the three Schuyler sisters, she’s the one raised to marry a man destined for leadership, and with her elegance and impeccable style, she presents a perfect camera-ready image in the dawning age of television politics. Together she and her husband, Frank, make the ultimate power couple: intelligent, rich, and impossibly attractive. It seems nothing can stop Frank from rising to national office, and he’s got his sights set on a senate seat in November. But as the season gets underway at the family estate on Cape Cod, three unwelcome visitors appear in Tiny’s perfect life. “A fascinating look at wealth, love, ambition, secrets, and what family members will and won’t do to protect each other,” our reviewer writes. View video >