Though not a definitive study of bulimia, it is sensitive, informative, and likely to be helpful to both client and...

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SENSING THE SELF

WOMEN’S RECOVERY FROM BULIMIA

Shame is the villain and persistence the heroine in this analysis of 13 women who recovered from bulimia nervosa.

Reindl (Psychology/Harvard Univ.), however, would probably prefer to speak of women who “are recovering” from bulimia, since, as with many addictions, a return to the eating disorder is always but a binge and a purge away. The author selected women who had been free from bulimic symptoms for at least a year and asked: What motivated them to begin changing their behavior? What helped? What set them back? Why did they develop the eating disorder? Bolstering the stories of her subjects with other research and writings as well as her own clinical experience, the author detects a pattern that resembles, but does not mimic, the patterns of other addictions. What she found was a sense of shame, of being “inadequate and bad.” In most cases the feelings of worthlessness arose not from childhood physical or sexual abuse, but from emotional deprivation. The decision to stop and seek help comes about because the person is “fed up” with her behavior, but it can take many false starts before symptoms are under control. Such therapeutic interventions (whether via a psychologist, a nutritionist, or Overeaters Anonymous) kick in to help bulimia sufferers rebuild a positive “sense of self.” Reindl cites the tale of “Beauty and the Beast” as an apt and rich metaphor for the struggle to also accept the ugly side of the self. There is also a section directed to therapists who treat those with eating disorders and specifics on what the recovering women found most useful in their therapeutic encounters. She lauds the importance of good nutrition and exercise as recovery proceeds, noting the terrible damage that years of an eating disorder can do to even a young body.

Though not a definitive study of bulimia, it is sensitive, informative, and likely to be helpful to both client and therapist.

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-674-00487-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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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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