In a book that will appeal to readers devoted to self-betterment, a relationship expert divides the brain into two parts and...

READ REVIEW

SOAR ABOVE

HOW TO USE THE MOST PROFOUND PART OF YOUR BRAIN UNDER ANY KIND OF STRESS

How to access your higher brain for a better life.

Arguing that many of our reactions to the circumstances around us come from habits developed during childhood, a theory Stosny (Living and Loving after Betrayal, 2013, etc.) backs with research and his own therapy sessions, the author outlines just what that toddler brain is and how to access your adult brain instead. Located in the prefrontal cortex, the adult brain matures later in life and is responsible for a variety of functions. “A relatively late addition to the species,” writes Stosny, “the many specialties of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) include analysis, sensitivity to the perspectives of others, judgment, calculation, and regulation of impulses and emotions. It appraises environmental cues and organizes information to reconcile those appraisals with internal experience.” Only by using this part of the brain can we "soar above" the knee-jerk responses built up over a lifetime of habits that originate when the toddler brain is in control. By understanding what we want to "appreciate, nurture and protect," we can create a better life for ourselves and the other people in our lives. Although a bit redundant in his descriptions and comparisons between the toddler brain and the adult brain, Stosny, who writes one of the most popular blogs for Psychology Today, provides valuable information for those searching for a way to break out of old constructs. By examining our feelings, we can see how a toddler's reaction of fear can harden into caution or concern in the adult, anger can shift to impatience, and shame morphs into disappointment, all negative feelings the adult brain is more capable of processing in a positive way. Increasing self-esteem and offering kindness and compassion are just some of the many suggestions Stosny recommends for his readers.

In a book that will appeal to readers devoted to self-betterment, a relationship expert divides the brain into two parts and shows how to let the mature side win when under stress.

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7573-1908-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Health Communications

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more