Will appeal to like-minded readers but may be unconvincing to others.



A proponent of New Age science offers a broad-ranging critique of modern science and presents an alternative approach.

An opponent of what he deems to be the mechanistic materialism of current science, Institute of Noetic Sciences fellow Sheldrake (The Sense of Being Stared At, 2003, etc.) urges a return to vitalism, “the theory that living organisms are truly alive, and not explicable in terms of physics and chemistry alone.” He claims that his discovery of what he calls the “morphic resonance,” activity patterns that “resonate across time and space with subsequent patterns,” offers “a range of new possibilities for research.” Further, this morphic field holds the key to cures for migraine headaches, the prediction of earthquakes and tsunamis and the solution to many still-open questions in science—e.g., the existence of dark matter. According to his theory, morphic fields operate over time and space so that past events shape the present and resonate simultaneously throughout the universe. They embrace chemical events such as the crystallization of sugars and are responsible for telepathic abilities in animals and humans, as well as other paranormal events such as premonitions. Sheldrake suggests that living organisms inherit a “collective memory of the species, on which each individual draws,” and he speculates about the possibility that organisms experience feelings and that animals are not only conscious, but are, to some degree, capable of free will. While there are many open questions remaining in science—from the existence of the Higgs boson to the existence of free will—these continue to fuel debate within the mainstream of science as well as on its fringes.

Will appeal to like-minded readers but may be unconvincing to others.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7704-3670-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Deepak Chopra Books/Crown

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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 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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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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