Earnest advice on finding true love.

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True Love; Breaking the Cycle of Failed Relationships

Fried, in her first self-help book, promotes self-love before seeking romance, with plenty of mental exercises, self-affirmations and personal anecdotes along the way.

Fried places great emphasis on her personal journey in finding a soul mate, and this book seems to serve as a kind of catharsis after years of heartbreak and rejection. A strong personality shines through her writing; each page is doused with exclamation marks and sprinkled with sentences in all caps pleading with readers to seek out the best of life: “THE VERY FIRST RELATIONSHIP THAT OFTEN NEEDS TO BE FIXED IS THE ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOU!” This approach gives her book a somewhat unpolished feel that still comes off as endearing, even maternal. In the start of her work, Fried speaks of her influences, from Pavlovian and cognitive behavioral psychology to other self-help authors. She tells readers, “[R]emember that some of what you read will apply to you, and some will not. Use what works for you.” Each chapter features a “visualization” and an “affirmation” focusing on the chapter’s theme. Her main focus is on the benefits of these affirmations and visualizations in achieving the life you desire—namely, finding the partner of your dreams. For the comfort segment, she suggests readers mentally remain in their ideal places of comfort for 15 minutes; somewhat confusingly, however, she doesn’t give a suggested time for the remainder of the visualizations. As the work continues, more inconsistencies appear, and the book becomes a bit too personal. Much of her advice flip-flops between making yourself more—or less—available in order to find a nurturing spouse. Better structuring would have been helpful, but the care and empathy Fried delivers will nonetheless leave her readers with a more positive outlook on love and life.

Earnest advice on finding true love.

Pub Date: March 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1492971290

Page Count: 122

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2014

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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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