It's very discouraging to read about all the things that could be causing or contributing to my depression that can be discovered through a simple blo...moreIt's very discouraging to read about all the things that could be causing or contributing to my depression that can be discovered through a simple blood test, and then find out that my psychiatrist does not offer these blood tests. No one here does. So I'm still stuck with the same antidepressants that cause infuriating side effects. It's too bad Greenblatt doesn't discuss this issue very much. He says that he does prescribe antidepressants for some of his patients, but he doesn't say much about how he helps them deal with the side effects. I also wish that Greenblatt would say more about how antidepressants work and how efficacious they are. He mentions Robert Whitaker's book, "Anatomy of an Epidemic", but he doesn't address Whitaker's contention that antidepressants actually cause people to relapse into more severe chronic episodes of depression because of the changes antidepressants make to the brain. I would like to know more about what Greenblatt thinks about long-term usage of antidepressant medications for those who find they have progressively worse relapses every time they try to discontinue medication.
Despite these flaws, there is a lot of merit in Greenblatt's book. It's about time somebody wrote about a variety of nutritional factors that can cause or contribute to depression. If only medical profession here would offer the tests Greenblatt recommends to check for these things!(less)
I love the author's snarky sense of humour as she completely demolishes the claims of the neurosexist writers who have convinced the popular media tha...moreI love the author's snarky sense of humour as she completely demolishes the claims of the neurosexist writers who have convinced the popular media that gender inequality is the necessary result of biological differences between the sexes. I really appreciate her thorough exposé of the misinformation peddled by those who want to see the sexes trapped in rigidly defined gender roles. I am actually quite relieved to learn that there is no real evidence to show that women are more emotional and nurturing than men or that men are more innovative and logical than women. Differences in brain structure do not necessarily translate to differences in cognition or behaviour, and women and men have equal aptitudes for the hard sciences as well as for the soft sciences. The only reason that the sexes tend to perform better or worse in these fields is that the social context dictates how they should perform. Gender stereotypes become self-fulfilling prophecies!(less)
Before reading this book, I was leery of the raw food movement, but now I know why. Wrangham exposes the pseudoscientific justifications for the movem...moreBefore reading this book, I was leery of the raw food movement, but now I know why. Wrangham exposes the pseudoscientific justifications for the movement, some of which are unbelievably ridiculous (such as that the cessation of a woman's menstrual period is a good thing because it means that the raw foodist no longer has any toxins to clear out of the body). Apparently, a strict raw-food diet would not give a person enough energy to meet his/ her needs. I don't have to feel any guilt for my mostly-cooked vegan diet!
Wrangham explains why all human cultures have relegated cooking to the female sex without justifying it. He seems to be saying that although many features of human society are inherited from our distant human and prehuman past, we should not feel bound to perpetuate harmful practices, such as the patriarchal assignment of gender roles or the eating of too much cooked, highly processed foods. We need to cook most foods in order to make the nutrients available to us to fuel our large human brains, but we should incorporate some raw foods into our diet. We should avoid a lot of refined, fibre-poor foods (which our evolutionary history has caused us to crave), since we tend to grow fat on a diet in which glucose is too readily available to us.(less)
You don't know how relieved I was to see that other people's kids wreak havoc at home too. I'm not the only parent who doesn't always adequately super...moreYou don't know how relieved I was to see that other people's kids wreak havoc at home too. I'm not the only parent who doesn't always adequately supervise her destructive children!!! I also took great glee in making my husband look at some of the pictures. He would moan that he couldn't bear to look at another picture of child-generated chaos, but then he would laugh. Yes, misery loves company, and so we laugh at the pictures of other parents' pain. I also appreciated the parenting and cleaning tips and funny quotations mixed in with the pictures. I showed the book to my childless sister and brother-in-law, so you can't say I didn't warn them about what it's really like to raise children.(less)
The story was definitely entertaining enough, but I still feel uneasy about the whole premise. It's hard for me to imagine bringing my children up to...moreThe story was definitely entertaining enough, but I still feel uneasy about the whole premise. It's hard for me to imagine bringing my children up to be willing and prepared to kill other children. I was also uncomfortable with the main character's extremely callous attitude towards non-human animals. Perhaps she really did need to kill some animals for food, but she actually enjoyed hunting. She felt no compassion towards animals at all whatsoever. (less)
This is a very insightful look at the way different species, particularly apes, handle conflict and aggression. The authors give well-researched hypot...moreThis is a very insightful look at the way different species, particularly apes, handle conflict and aggression. The authors give well-researched hypotheses for the reasons why our ape ancestors evolved more along the lines of patriarchal, male-bonded chimpanzees rather than along the lines of egalitarian, female-bonded bonobos. I understand that environmental conditions pushed each ape species to evolve in an area with a certain distribution of food choices. Because bonobos have no competition from gorillas or other large mammals for tender herbs, they are able to travel in larger party-groups all year round without depleting food sources. Large party-groups mean that females form supportive alliances, and eventually this enables them to challenge males enough to turn the tides of evolution to favour a much less violent lifestyle. Chimpanzees, on the other hand, were stuck in the same habitats as gorillas, so they never adapted to eat "gorilla food". Their group sizes were thereby limited by seasonal food availability. Small, isolated party-groups of chimpanzees are vulnerable to gang raids by demonic males. Demonic males are rewarded by the loss of competition from males from other tribes and by the addition of females to their own tribe. Sadly, we have evolved along similar lines to chimpanzees, and our task now is to evolve more consciously towards a new direction if we want to avoid the annihilation of our own species. The authors note that overcoming our evolutionary past will not be easy, but if bonobos can do it, we can too.(less)
The author does a good job of pointing out the "givens" that have to be accepted by scientists attempting to explain our origins or the way the univer...moreThe author does a good job of pointing out the "givens" that have to be accepted by scientists attempting to explain our origins or the way the universe works. However, he relies too much on intelligent design ideas to demonstrate that God must exist, even though intelligent design is a pseudoscientific ideology that has rightly been rejected by serious scientists. Instead of relying on the "God of the gaps" to prove his case, I would have liked to have seen more positive evidence of God's existence.(less)
My daughter made me read this to her over and over again. It had no real plot and the jokes that were aimed at parents were not funny. The names of th...moreMy daughter made me read this to her over and over again. It had no real plot and the jokes that were aimed at parents were not funny. The names of the characters alone made me gag.(less)