PositiveNew York Journal of BooksAccording to Simon McCarthy-Jones, spite gets an undeserved bad rap ... This idea at first sounds wildly illogical, but the book presents enough well-reasoned arguments, backed by a plethora of research, to convince us otherwise. And, fortunately, the author’s humorous observations and his way with words keep the book moving along ... The book lays out how social dominance theory triggers spite and how spiteful actions in defense of sacred issues can devolve into grievances or blossom into just causes. We learn the positive or negative impact that moral outrage has in generating spite and how it can be channeled into pro- rather than anti-social behaviors and movements. And we come to see how spite can be used as a powerful force for good: to prompt us to create, excel, cooperate and prevent injustice.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... a book about finding light in darkness and hope in suffering ... As unbearably sad and heart-wrenching as the book often is, it is also funny, insightful, uplifting, and deeply engrossing ... Hunter spares no details about any aspect of his life, so that we feel his cautious optimism when he enters yet another rehab or recovery program and crash with him when he inevitably begins using again.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... takes us on a fascinating, enlightening tour of the human mind and its evolution in order to help us come to terms with our ability to self-deceive. The authors are not out to disparage our delusions, but to expose them in a compassionate way that illustrates how we would not have evolved to be who we are today if we did not occasionally fudge facts and remain willfully ignorant ... well-researched and liberally illustrated ... a very readable book
Anna Malaika Tubbs
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksThis book will enlighten those interested in Black History, women’s history, and how the United States came to be the country it is today for worse and better ... a meticulously researched scholarly work ... [Tubbs] paints a bleak but realistic picture, pieced together from many sources, of how Blacks, especially Black women, were dehumanized throughout our nation’s history. This historic background serves to make the three of them shine more brightly, highlighting their courage, strength of character, resilience, and vision of a more humane society, and how they passionately fought against dehumanization and taught resistance to their sons ... This book would have been an easier read if there were separate sections for each mother and son that was solely about them. Instead Tubbs chronicles their lives—early days, later days, etc.—which may make it difficult for readers to piece together their individual stories and delineate what happened to whom. By weaving their stories together as she does, she gives us a historical view of their lives but sacrifices each of their unique stories standing out in relief against the other two.
Roy Richard Grinker
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... both personal and highly professional. [Grinker\'s] passion to remedy what stigma has done to those with mental illness comes through on every page and is due in part to his having a daughter who has autism and to his lineage.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksIf the title of this book did not imply that the real-life psychological horror stories within it actually had happy endings, it might be almost unbearable to read. Oddly enough, quite the opposite is true. Gildiner, a seasoned clinical psychologist and acclaimed author, knows how to provide readers with just enough detail to get them hooked into rooting for each patient, but not so much to make them recoil from their gut-wrenching histories. With gentle humor and welcome candor about her own therapeutic shortcomings, she draws us into patients’ lives, then helps us let them go, both of which she had to do as their therapist ... No one but a wise clinician could turn these victims into heroes. Hats off to Gildiner for doing a heroic therapeutic job and for writing about it so eloquently.
Lisa Feldman Barrett
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksAlthough this book deals with complex theories, it is full of fascinating examples, anecdotes and metaphors to illustrate the material whose weightiness is leavened by Barrett’s wit sprinkled liberally throughout the text. As a welcome surprise, Seven and a Half Lessons is part self-help book on how to manage our own quirky brains and part manifesto on how to move forward to heal this country’s political divisions.
MixedThe New York Journal of Books... engages readers from the get-go...then loses them as the book progresses. Full of interesting stories about famous people—strangers to each other—who have been tragically misunderstood or whose failure to understand others has led to personal or global disaster, it’s an interesting, yet unsatisfying read. Although its parts are fine, their sum does not quite add up to what we expect in a book by Gladwell ... At the least, after finishing this book, readers might never look at strangers quite the same way again.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksGrounded in well-researched scientific studies, Robson synthesizes concepts from history, sociology, biology, education, science, philosophy, and psychology, illustrates them with anecdotes about people who are famous, infamous, and, surprisingly often, just like us, and instructs us on how to be wiser than we are no matter what our intelligence ... This book is not a quick fix to avoiding making dumb mistakes. It moves slowly, building its case. A smattering of well-constructed charts and an excellent \'taxonomy of stupidity and wisdom\' make the material more understandable and foster the book’s readability.
Randolph M. Nesse
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksIf you’re curious about why humans seem stuck with emotional suffering, Good Reasons for Bad Feelings provides thoughtful evolutionary commentary. Nesse looks at emotions, addictions, and mental afflictions every which way and, to his credit, does not pretend to have all the answers. The ones he offers and the questions he raises about their likelihood make for highly interesting and enlightening reading.
MixedNew York Journal of Books\"There have been scores of books written about self-discovery. David Brooks goes one step further in The Second Mountain whose goal is to set you free by re-discovering yourself ... Regarding love, Brooks offers valuable advice on what makes for a healthy, lasting relationship ... Brooks takes several missteps in the book. One is failing to acknowledge that not everyone has the good fortune to reach the first mountain top, nevermind struggling out of the valley and scaling the second one. His tone can be judgmental and preachy as he presents the \'right\' way of living, implying that not following his moralistic prescription means living the \'wrong\' way ... [Brooks\'s] insistence that the emotion of awe stems from something spiritual rather than from bio-neurochemistry is nothing more than opinion posing as fact. Considering his focus on community, this kind of narrow-mindedness seems oddly hypocritical and dismissive.\
RaveNew York Journal of BooksWhat makes this book a joy to read is that it offers a wise and witty meld of the author’s personal insights and clinical observations plus bite-sized nuggets of psychology without ever lecturing or boring the reader ... For those who are skeptical, fearful or turned off by the idea of the talking cure, this fly-on-the-wall view of the subject just might convince you that therapy is remarkably worthwhile ... For self-help aficionados, there is wisdom galore on topics such as the drivers and inhibitors of psychological transformation, managing loss and grief, discovering meaning in life and work ... And for therapists, there is the chance to sit back and take note of how another clinician applies her skills to conjure up the magic of effective therapy ... A talented and highly accomplished writer, Gottlieb’s insecurities and chronic internal conflicts may surprise some readers. The fact that she doesn’t hold back talking about her suffering is what makes this book so powerful ... a most satisfying and illuminating read for psychotherapy patients, their therapists, and all the rest of us.
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"An Elegant Defense is more than a book about the science of immunology. It’s also the very human stories of four individuals who suffer from immune and auto-immune diseases and disorders and of those throughout the ages who have made it their mission to try to heal these conditions ... This book is at once enlightening, frightening, and heartwarming. Though filled with scientific descriptions of medical discoveries and experimental and proven treatments in a complex field, it is surprisingly easy to read ... [Richtel] is liberal with his use of humor and upfront about his deep, personal interest in this field. Who can resist reading on when Richtel beings a chapter with: \'A case can be made that the field of immunology originated with a chicken.\'?\