Humorous anecdotes and advice are offered as tools to resist food, drugs, alcohol and/or gambling in this debut self-help guide.
For Ward, to avoid or kick addiction, consider lightening up. “It has been said, ‘The best way to help ourselves is to ridicule, make fun of, or criticize’ anything that is not good for us,” he says. This laughter-is-the-best-medicine philosophy informs the rest of his work, which is organized into four core chapters full of stories and tips targeting food, drugs, alcohol and gambling abuse. In “De-Fat-Lization,” he details an array of “Slimmers” types and products, including spritzing your family with “Slimmers Fragrances” to prevent them from snacking before dinner, since there are “certain food smells that probably repel us all.” In “De-Drug-Lization,” Ward introduces a character named Kid Resistor, who counters dealer Dak Druggery’s come on, “Do you want some drugs?” with “No, I don’t have any bugs.” “De-Alcoho-Lization” features the adventures of Albert “Al” Cohol as well as some sobering advice. All chapters contain silly mantras, including “De-Gamb-Lization,” which includes “Refuses” (rather than Confucius) sayings: e.g., “Refuses has no other choice than to say, Ca-si-no tomorrow and eventually Ca-si-no life!” Ward concludes his book with a summary chapter that provides links to addiction prevention and recovery resources. It’s difficult to get too cranky about Ward’s narrative given that he includes these resources and obviously is notably well-intentioned with his approach. His humor, however, can be quite old-fashioned and even politically incorrect: “If you take a trip over the Canadian border, they will attack you with a CANADIAN CLUB, until you feel a CANADIAN MIST, and you wake up with a headache.” The book’s title is just one of too many examples of cutesy overthink. Readers might also wish for more of Ward’s own back story and personal relationship to addictions. Still, he offers an array of tips and stories to choose from, and his eye-rolling humor may very well serve as a useful, nonthreatening introduction to conversations about addiction, particularly with younger children.
Avuncular advice about battling addiction featuring well-meaning if rather cornball humor.

Pub Date: July 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-1498405607

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Xulon Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2014



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


A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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