Michael Pollan is on the verge of overexposure, but that may not be a bad thing. This book lives up to the best of his work, and then some. Using theMichael Pollan is on the verge of overexposure, but that may not be a bad thing. This book lives up to the best of his work, and then some. Using the four elements as his groundwork -- Fire, Water, Air and Earth -- he draws cultural and evolutionary lines between the role of cooking and its impact on our physical, mental and spiritual health. Pollan articulates what many of his fans already know, that big Ag is a detriment to our heritage, our health, and the enjoyment of our daily lives, but he does so in a way that makes you want to leap on up on your soapbox and start preaching the gospel of home cooking like a snake-handling Pentecostal. My biggest fear with Pollan is that he's preaching to the choir. But if he's the choir master, I'm baking and cooking to the top of my lungs. ...more
Interesting to read reviews which state neuroplasticity as "controversial" or "theoretical". The use of Brunstromm's Movement and other neuro-developmInteresting to read reviews which state neuroplasticity as "controversial" or "theoretical". The use of Brunstromm's Movement and other neuro-developmental therapies to alleviate hemiplegia or spasticity in peolple with strokes, sensory integration in children with autism, even crossword puzzles to prohibit the onset of Alzheimer's, are all well-documented examples of the brain's plasticity. Recent books on the brain's ability to heal and transform by Jill Bolte Taylor (My Stroke of Insight) and Amy Ellis Nutt (Shadows Bright as Glass) offer other great examples of individuals confronting the marvels of plasticity.
The chapter that seems to bother some reviewers most is the one on the role of pornography in sex addiction. It's true, not everyone who watches porn on a regular basis will develop said addiction, any more than people who regularly drink alcohol will become alcoholics. But for some, the effect of these extreme pornographic images can take a dangerous turn from the quick fix that has little impact on their everyday lives to a real and troubling obsession that can destroy their ability to relate in a healthy sexual way to others. Porn, for those who are vulnerable, can indeed be addictive, and Doidge's explanation of how this practice can veer into obsession is revealing. Doidge's use of cases studies allows us to more closely inspect the mechanisms of a larger cultural shift taking place right under our noses. I find those case studies and his long-view enlightening.
There are plenty of evidence-based research studies out there on neuroplasticity, but Doige's choice to use case studies made this book more readable than any scientific research paper, which I can find at any time with a quick search on EBSCOHOST. That research may be more scientifically relevant but it isn't nearly as interesting and accessible to read as Doidge's case studies. This book, I believe, was meant to appeal to an audience that would not otherwise read, much less seek out, scientific research on neuroplasticity. Therefore, his choice of using case studies is a apt one for this book.
Doidge isn't trying to claim this long-held view of plasticity as revolutionary; rather, he merely offers it up to those who wouldn't otherwise be exposed to the idea, with enthusiasm for the subject. And while our understanding of the brain and neuroplasticity is indeed in its infancy, what we do know is fascinating, relevant and applicable to our own lives. And that is why, aside of its Freudian bent and other gripes reviewers have, I loved this book. Take from it what you will to break bad habits and improve your life.
Berger delves into the variety of influences on Picasso's life and work, from the history of Spanish feudalism, bourgeois Europe, WWI &II, anarchyBerger delves into the variety of influences on Picasso's life and work, from the history of Spanish feudalism, bourgeois Europe, WWI &II, anarchy, physics, the rise of European industrialism, American capitalism, Communism, Cubism, the birth of Surrealism, and other fun-filled topics. He even gets around to Picasso's mistresses, too....more
I might have never discovered this book had I not stumbled upon it on the sale rack at Salvation Army. An encyclopedic examination on the process of aI might have never discovered this book had I not stumbled upon it on the sale rack at Salvation Army. An encyclopedic examination on the process of aging from a physiological, spiritual, and cultural - ancient and modern, Eastern and Western - perspectives. Impeccably written, the language and extent of research shows de Beauvoir's brilliance. One might think the subject depressing to read; de Beauvoir makes it a fascinating exploration of life's inevitable and universal journey....more
A nod to my brother for introducing this book to me. De Botton completely disbunks the notion I'd adopted (from whom? where?) that good architecture iA nod to my brother for introducing this book to me. De Botton completely disbunks the notion I'd adopted (from whom? where?) that good architecture is purely functional and anything else is simply the expression of an its designer's overactive ego. NOT. Surely architects are guilty of erecting bombastic works, but it by no means explains why the line of a rooftop or curve of a banister stirs a particular mood and emotion in its viewer. De Botton delves into the how we relate to objects, why one object draws us in, another repels us. A fascinating dissection of architecture and human nature. This book was a revelation to me....more
Bringing Buddhist teachings down from the mountaintop into the everyday realm of the Westerner. At first I found the writing too elementary, but how oBringing Buddhist teachings down from the mountaintop into the everyday realm of the Westerner. At first I found the writing too elementary, but how often do I forget to be compassionate with people who bug the hell out of me? Indeed, I'm exactly the person who needs to be reminded in the simplest of terms that one must return to the fundamental practices of empathy, compassion, and kindness to become a better human being. ...more