While some readers may find here a surfeit of idiosyncratic terms and broad precepts, others may indeed find several useful...

APPRECIATE THE FOG

In this self-help guide, Harrison offers a plan of action for overcoming psychological obstacles to living life fully.

The “fog” of the title “represents those times you are stuck, confused, bewildered.” The author has drawn on his readings of classical psychiatrists, such as Carl Jung; Daniel Goleman’s work; as well as his own life and intimate personal journals, to develop his approaches to clearing the fog. Harrison provides a model of personality development based on seven “chakras,” or “energy centres,” and he discusses how each can manifest itself in one’s behavior. He goes on to consider what he calls “survive reactions,” or ineffective ways of dealing with problems. To the classic “fight” and “flight,” the author adds “freeze” and “fabricate.” After describing the Freudian model of personality and the Jungian idea of “the shadow,” Harrison illustrates the power of the shadow by detailing the confusion he felt after his first divorce. He follows this with ideas considerably more abstract; he advises that readers “acknowledge the diligence and sincerity of the protective self.” Harrison recounts one of his own epiphanic experiences, and he goes on to explore what he calls “thrive responses,” or useful ways to deal with fog. These are again alliteratively categorized as “assert,” “attend,” “act,” and “authenticate” and followed by subheadings and further definitions. The guide notes that analyzing one’s feelings of frustration and depression can lead to self-acceptance and optimism, which Harrison calls “positive framing.” Throughout, the writer is honest in presenting his own experiences. There are several points, however, where more specific recommendations might have been helpful.

While some readers may find here a surfeit of idiosyncratic terms and broad precepts, others may indeed find several useful blueprints for resolving their own problems.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-1479723942

Page Count: 326

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2013

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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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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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