I really ought to stop reading self-help books. This one, like almost all of the rest, is chock full of evo-psych, heterosexism and crappy "science."I really ought to stop reading self-help books. This one, like almost all of the rest, is chock full of evo-psych, heterosexism and crappy "science." The author is also hardcore into the 12 steps, which has been proven not to work for everyone. That said, there's still a little bit of utility in here, which is why it gets any stars at all......more
I like this book because it sums up my position on many of the "science findings" that come out regularly in the media: be skeptical. Be very, very skI like this book because it sums up my position on many of the "science findings" that come out regularly in the media: be skeptical. Be very, very skeptical. That said, I found the book suffered from some flaws, such as using dubious studies to back up points that the author wanted to make, although he did mention that it's highly probable that his entire book could be flawed due to that very type of thing. Definitely worth a read if you're not used to thinking critically, or if you'd like some pointers in that direction....more
Spinster is part memoir and part exploration of what it has meant to be an unmarried woman in the US throughout the past 100 or so years. It's a topicSpinster is part memoir and part exploration of what it has meant to be an unmarried woman in the US throughout the past 100 or so years. It's a topic that I think needs to be addressed, even in 2015, as many people are still shocked when they find out that some women don't care to get married (or procreate, but that requires another set of literature, I'm sure). Spinster also weaves in a little glimpse of the history of marriage without getting too in-depth about it. The author's spinster muses (not all of whom were actually spinsters) include Neith Boyce, Maeve Brennan, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Edith Wharton. So you get a little bit of biography and a little bit of history weaved into the memoir.
Ultimately, however, I found Spinster to be utterly dry and boring and lacking in any real spice or flavor. It was like ingesting a poorly organized academic text on not being married. I've read more interesting books about feminist muses (Reading Women, notably, by Stephanie Staal) or not getting married (Singled Out by Bella DePaulo). I think that if Kate Bolick had focused on one of the many aspects of her book, it would have been more interesting. Instead, the part-memoir, part-biography, part-history included tantalizing glimpses of what could have been without really nailing anything down. It also meandered and went back and forth and at times I had a hard time following which of the spinster muses was being discussed in any given chapter or paragraph. Or why I should really care to read an entire book about Bolick's ultimately uninteresting life. (I'm not married either, and I wouldn't write a book about it unless it were two pages long.)
Finally, and this is really a nit-picky thing that wouldn't have bothered me too much if the book had been better written, I really dislike when people go on and on about how Boston is a city for babies and New York City is for grown ups. As if Boston isn't somehow a "real" city because it's small. Boston isn't for everyone, New York City isn't for everyone, and that doesn't make either city pointless or illegitimate. It just makes me more annoyed at the common belief of NYC-ers that they inhabit the center of the known universe....more
This book is truly awful. While it has an honorable intention, to discredit many of the bogus fad diets that appear and disappear with astonishing regThis book is truly awful. While it has an honorable intention, to discredit many of the bogus fad diets that appear and disappear with astonishing regularity in the media, it utterly fails in its execution. The author relies on anecdotes, faulty science (correlation does not equal causation, which he states in his book, and then goes on to negate several times) and dubious sources (including an "according to wikipedia" mention that made my jaw drop).
Diet Cults is also not terribly cohesive or well-written. The author starts off debunking individual diets (paleo, raw vegan, etc), goes on a completely different track for awhile discussing his love of wine, coffee and chocolate (after having discredited "superfoods" a mere few pages earlier), and then goes back to discussing diet fads, supplementation, and then his remedy: "agnostic healthy eating." I can save you a hundred plus pages of discomfort by telling you what that boils down to: eat what you like, and it helps if you eat foods that have been scientifically shown to be healthy.
The author also, lamentably, falls into the trap of exclaiming that body size is wholly dependent on motivation, willpower, exercise, and eating less. Even though he mentions at many times in the book that body size isn't necessarily correlated to health or happiness, and that body size can be determined by many things that aren't food and exercise, he assumes that just because he ate less and exercised more, that everybody can and it will lead to permanent weight loss and happiness for everyone. Which science has discredited, but considering that the author considers wikipedia and anecdotal evidence to be science, I'm not surprised he missed that conclusion.
In sum, I wouldn't recommend this book to anybody, unless you want a hundred or so pages of hate-reading that leaves you scratching your head at the end....more
Not quite what I was expecting I guess. I've already read tons about mindfulness and yoga and how it helps with anxiety and depression. I guess I wasNot quite what I was expecting I guess. I've already read tons about mindfulness and yoga and how it helps with anxiety and depression. I guess I was hoping for some sample pose sequences to practice during my daily yoga sessions. Something less theoretical and more practical. ...more
The Family Guide to Mental Health Care is the best book I've ever read for family and friends of people who have a mental illness. It covers the mostThe Family Guide to Mental Health Care is the best book I've ever read for family and friends of people who have a mental illness. It covers the most prevalent mood and thought disorders (major depression, PTSD, anxiety, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder) and how to determine if a family member or close friend might be afflicted. (For example, how can you tell if your teenage son is just being a moody teenager or is actually struggling with depression?)
Also covered is information on different types of therapy, medications and hospitalization options. Additionally, the author does a good job explaining confidentiality and consent issues which details exactly what family members can do to intervene in the treatment of a loved one.
While some of the insurance aspects of this book may become dated over time, I appreciated that the book attempted to stay away from any medication or policy specific information, which means that this book will stay relevant longer than if it had included, say, information about certain types of medications that may not be the standard of care in a few years time.
Highly recommended for anybody who has a loved one suffering from a mental illness and doesn't know what they can do about it, or who just wants to become more informed on the topic in general....more
If nothing else, Fluent Forever will hopefully make you more confident in your ability to learn a foreign language. Author Gabriel Wyner imparts his tIf nothing else, Fluent Forever will hopefully make you more confident in your ability to learn a foreign language. Author Gabriel Wyner imparts his tips and tricks for learning several languages, and it's not just hypothetical, he speaks many languages that he learned later in life.
I like this book, but I already have my own methods for learning a foreign language, so I didn't find it personally relevant. However, if you're just beginning to dive into a new language, I highly recommend it....more
3.5 stars -- Back from the Brink by Graeme Cowan is not your average mental illness memoir or self-help book. Instead, it's a compilation of narratives3.5 stars -- Back from the Brink by Graeme Cowan is not your average mental illness memoir or self-help book. Instead, it's a compilation of narratives from several prominent figures from the US, UK and Australia, as well as the author, who have suffered from severe depression or bipolar disorder. Each of these narratives is set in a question-answer format, but nicely edited for ease of reading. This gives a unique perspective on mental illness as seen by several people rather than being colored by a single author.
The author then describes the method that he found personally helpful in overcoming his depression, which was severe enough to include several suicide attempts. Like most self-help books, your mileage will vary, but there are some interesting nuggets to pick up here and there from his successes even if you don't find everything to be particularly relevant. Much of his method seems to bear some sort of relationship to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, so perhaps look into ACT if you find yourself wanting to know more after reading this book.
Ultimately I'd recommend this as a good read about mental illness to sufferers, family members, caregivers, supporters, or just interested bystanders. I found it to be free of judgmental language and full of support and compassion for those who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder....more