An affecting, honest memoir useful to anyone trying to understand life with psychosis.

In this debut memoir, a woman describes how she came to understand, treat and live successfully with her mental illness.

At first, this memoir’s narrative is difficult to piece together, as it bounces among the author’s memories of her first stay in a mental hospital; her career as a waitress; and stories of her high school boyfriend and her mother’s abusive boyfriend, among other things. However, readers soon begin to understand how fractured, abusive and sad Joiner’s childhood often was, due to her alcoholic mother, distant father and disastrous stepfathers. She began to have paranoid thoughts in high school, and by age 19, she suffered from delusions, including the belief that the Four Seasons’ 1962 song “Sherry,” which she heard on the radio, was “someone singing about me.” Soon, she believed that she was a movie star, that she was Jesus Christ, and that she could control John Kennedy’s and Robert Kennedy’s spirits. She shuffled among various jobs (waitressing, topless dancing, and, later, working as a preschool teacher and a nurse’s aide) as well as different men. She also repeatedly attempted suicide and underwent five different stints in an asylum. She developed a combination of work, creativity, exercise, therapy, and medication and created “Sherry’s Master Plan”—a method of meticulously recording and evaluating her daily achievements—that enabled her to get through each day. The book becomes more coherent as it goes on, as Joiner shines a light into the dark, frightening world of psychosis and its twisted logic. The prose is often beautiful, if harrowing, and readers will have sympathy for Joiner’s utter determination to find a way to live with her condition. The author’s stubborn courage is also admirable; for example, in 1972, she fought for equal pay for equal work, winning a settlement against a pizza place that paid her less because she was female. “I might have been ill, but for once, I knew I was right,” she says.

An affecting, honest memoir useful to anyone trying to understand life with psychosis.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-1490315133

Page Count: 270

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2014



Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011



These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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