Sharp, optimistic, and factually supported encouragement to boost societal attitudes about the power of salubrity.

WELL

WHAT WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HEALTH

An epidemiologist reframes the American health care crisis.

Born in Malta and raised in Canada, Galea (Dean, Boston Univ. School of Public Health; Healthier: Fifty Thoughts on the Foundations of Population Health, 2017, etc.) has traveled the world treating patients in remote areas, experiences that shaped his impressions of what truly influences health and health care, two aspects of medicine that are often conflated. He underscores global statistical trends revealing that despite leading investments in health prevention, Americans still fall short on worldwide illness ratios. Galea faults a society that “is simply not oriented to keep[ing] us healthy” and seeks to gain a better understanding of how to achieve ultimate vitality and longevity. He offers a reassessment of the many elements of sustainable health and wellness, examining a wide variety of external, interconnected forces. While acknowledging that some influences—e.g., intergenerational factors and certain environmental conditions—are unavoidable, he intensively addresses the building blocks of sustainable health while putting allegories and pop-culture references to effective use. These key pieces include creating solid financial foundations, including the use of redistributive economic programs; resisting corruption in high-level political and corporate arenas; encouraging the establishment of tightknit community networks; cultivating emotional well-being; advocating for knowledgeable personal choices that resist negative influences from social media networks, advertising, and “social contagion.” Galea believes that all of these forces collectively affect the healthfulness of Americans and that each plays a role in fostering an important brand of preventative medicine that can be cultivated at home. He implores readers to take the steps to change their minds and bodies now rather than relying on medicine or chronically seeing doctors after we are already ill. While some areas of the author’s research may seem like wishful thinking in today’s world of greed, violence, and class inequities, his hopes for a healthier populace make for a compassionate, relevant book.

Sharp, optimistic, and factually supported encouragement to boost societal attitudes about the power of salubrity.

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-19-091683-1

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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