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



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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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...



The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.


Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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