The conversation is far from over, but Whitson blasts a hole in the darkness, providing useful information on how this form...

8 KEYS TO END BULLYING

STRATEGIES FOR PARENTS & SCHOOLS

How to identify and terminate aggressive mistreatment of and by children.

Bullying has been around for decades, but with the advent of the Internet, cellphones and other electronic devices, children are being subjected to this form of intimidation far beyond the reaches of the playground. A social worker and educator specializing in youth issues, Whitson (Friendship and Other Weapons, 2011, etc.) outlines an eight-step practical approach to prevention for parents, community leaders and teachers. The first key is to distinguish between a harmless prank and actual bullying; the author explains how to identify aggressive behavior, why students engage in these acts and which kids are likely to be victims. By establishing a connection or bond with a child, adults will have a better chance of discovering acts of bullying and stopping them. Whitson includes actual scenarios with possible responses, so adults are not at a loss for words when confronting a bully. (Brief messages are best, she notes.) Teaching children how to be safe online is another important idea in this age of cyberbullying, which can affect even the youngest of children. The author emphasizes the need to teach netiquette and to know a child's passwords; she also covers safety strategies children can learn to protect themselves when online without adult supervision. Through communication with would-be bullies and their potential victims, much of this maltreatment can be avoided. "Maintaining an open dialogue about bullying and making sure that we continue to shine a bright light on this once-shadowed topic,” writes the author, “is the only way that we will be able to hold adults and kids accountable for bringing an end to this long-standing problem."

The conversation is far from over, but Whitson blasts a hole in the darkness, providing useful information on how this form of persecution can be halted.

Pub Date: May 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-393-70928-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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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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