Anger is made manageable in this practical self-help book.

PUT YOUR POTATOES ON THE DESKTOP

A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO EMOTION INTELLIGENCE

A doctor pitches potatoes as a tool for anger management.

Psychotherapist Sinn of Edmonton, Alberta, explores “the tragedy of the destructive mindset and the victory of the constructive mindset,” by teaching “emotion intelligence.” Anger is a “secondary emotion”—an energized state in the body—and in his book, Sinn presents a basic model using that staple of the kitchen, the common potato, as a symbol for anger. “Stress has to do with being in the presence of change…whereas anger is the sense that something is unacceptable and therefore something has to change. The energy of anger is a motivational energy in you to bring about change.” When a person is angry, in effect, he’s saying, I have a potato, and it’s hot. The first half of the text covers the destructive mind-set approach—expressing, repressing and suppressing. Suppressing (keeping a lid on anger), although inherently negative, often leads to success in the workplace, where declaring one’s true feelings is impolitic. As resentments build throughout a lifetime, potatoes accumulate in one’s sack. The lower one’s self-esteem, the heavier the sack, which also may be weighted by alcohol, smoking, drugs, gambling, food, excessive exercise, overwork, compulsive shopping and relationship/sex addictions. Through homework assignments, the book encourages readers to internally and externally separate a person and his anger from the problem. “Put your potatoes on the desktop” is a euphemism for a constructive method of anger management, aka “confess.” The first phase is admitting anger and taking ownership; the second phase is appropriately disclosing anger to others, followed by active forgiveness to achieve full release. Whether chips, fries or mashies, everyone has potatoes; the art is in learning how to deal. Using Sinn’s approach, we can slice, dice, chop and mince our troublesome taters. Confusing graphics in the text may have readers seeing red, but the potato pictures are cute. To further explore the destructive versus constructive mind-set, the author has created a soccer-based board game called FC Strategy®, available for purchase online.

Anger is made manageable in this practical self-help book.

Pub Date: May 26, 2009

ISBN: 978-1440123672

Page Count: 249

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2010

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you...

YEAR OF YES

HOW TO DANCE IT OUT, STAND IN THE SUN AND BE YOUR OWN PERSON

The queen of Thursday night TV delivers a sincere and inspiring account of saying yes to life.

Rhimes, the brain behind hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. She describes herself as a young girl, playing alone in the pantry, making up soap-opera script stories to act out with the canned goods. Speaking in public terrified her; going to events exhausted her. She was always busy, and she didn’t have enough time for her daughters. One Thanksgiving changed it all: when her sister observed that she never said “yes” to anything, Rhimes took it as a challenge. She started, among other things, accepting invitations, facing unpleasant conversations, and playing with her children whenever they asked. The result was a year of challenges and self-discovery that led to a fundamental shift in how she lives her life. Rhimes tells us all about it in the speedy, smart style of her much-loved TV shows. She’s warm, eminently relatable, and funny. We get an idea of what it’s like to be a successful TV writer and producer, to be the ruler of Shondaland, but the focus is squarely on the lessons one can learn from saying yes rather than shying away. Saying no was easy, Rhimes writes. It was comfortable, “a way to disappear.” But after her year, no matter how tempting it is, “I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary.” The book is a fast read—readers could finish it in the time it takes to watch a full lineup of her Thursday night programing—but it’s not insubstantial. Like a cashmere shawl you pack just in case, Year of Yes is well worth the purse space, and it would make an equally great gift.

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

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