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Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,355 Ratings  ·  601 Reviews
Extraordinary things happen when we harness the power of both the brain and the heart

Growing up in the high desert of California, Jim Doty was poor, with an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, of which the Dala
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Avery
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Lindsay - Traveling Sister
4 stars! This was an enlightening read with a simple but powerful message.

There are two stand out words for me in this book: COMPASSION and KINDNESS. Among other things, this book explores the power these two simple words can have.

This is a memoir by Dr. Jim Doty, the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. He is also a clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stan
Darth J
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing

There's just something so sapioromantic about this book. You just have to stop and revel in the gorgeous wonder of the brain, the sheer capacity of all it can do. While there are graphic depictions of brain surgery here, the focus is mainly on neuroplasticity and the importance that presence and concentration can have on our health.
(view spoiler)

I also like the early nostalgic bits of when the author was a child in the 60s and learned from Ruth at the novelty shop. It reminded m
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The power of positive thinking and mindfulness are nothing new, but this is the first time that I've heard of a child learning such things. Jim Doty had a pretty poor childhood both financially, and in terms of nurturing. There's no doubt that HE was the adult in his family - caring and worrying about his mother, father and brother, and then came that fateful day when he met Ruth. Ruth taught him all manner of what he saw as magical things, not only to help him cope with the life he'd been dealt ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book changed me in some way !*
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book wasn't like I expected it to be. I thought it would focus on the 'Neurosurgeon' part of the title, so I expected it to be a story about how we can discover the mysteries of the brain through academic research or something like that. However, it was a spiritual story and when I discovered that, I almost stopped reading. I am so glad that I didn't, though! Although I am not big on spirituality, this story was still extremely interesting and worth the time it takes to read it. It gave me ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of those rare books where, as I'm reading it, I keep thinking of more and more and more people I want to give it to! ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, bts
I've read this book because it was recommended by BTS and one of the songs on their new album is called "Magic Shop" and it's been hinted clearly that it's about the psychological process used in therapy where a patient and the psychiatrist play out a magic shop, the patient exchanging past traumatic and painful memories with happier ones. Basically, this is what this book has at its starting point.

It sounds... intriguing, but unfortunately, I never had any contact with psychology before and no
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تعلمت الكثير من الأشياء.
الكتاب سيرة ذاتية لحياة الدكتور جيمس.. هذه الحياة التي انقسمت الى ثلاث مراحل : الطفل والفطرة، الطبيب الناجح الجشع ثم العودة الى الفطرة.
تعلمت اليوم وتأكدت عن حقيقة تناسيناها حقيقة افتقدتها اثناء تربصي في المستسشفى واثناء تواجدي مع الاطباء والجراحين وهي ان الطب عمل انساني قبل كل شيء! قبل أن يكون مصدر رزق ومكسب..وقبل علامة في ورقة لافيشاج!
الحمد لله اننا ولدنا مسلمين وتعلمنا بمرور الوقت التمسك بالاسلام من خلال معاني الصلاة بالنسبة لي.. نحن كمسلمين لا نحتاج للتأمل كما الطبيب ف
Claire McAlpine
James Doty never really set out to write this book, but he told his story to so many people with whom it resonated and being one of the founding creators of CCARE (The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research) he was eventually convinced how many more people could be inspired by his story and learn about the amazing work being undertaken, that he agreed to share his experience.

Doty came from a poor background, raised in a dsyfunctional family, his mother was frequently depressed and had suici
Heidi The Hippie Reader
I received a free advance reading copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. FTC guidelines: check!

Into the Magic Shop is James Doty's memoir. He had a tragic childhood with parents who, for various reasons, were not present for him. Then, after an encounter with a total stranger, James was taught meditation, creative visualization, and positive thought practices that changed his life. As he comes of age, he dismisses the compassion related portions of his childhood training and focuses in
Rob Slaven
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received this book free for review from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review. Despite the privilege of receiving a free book, I’m absolutely candid about it below because I believe authors and readers will benefit most from honest reviews rather than vacuous 5-star reviews.

The nutshell on this book is that it is, essentially, a self-help book. It doesn't start out that way but at the end of the day, it's quite a lot of fluff.

I was excited about this book for the entire firs
Sep 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: neuroscience
This was basically Tuesdays With Morrie with some neuroscience thrown in. Far too sensational. Far too exaggerated. Far too ...... everything. Was he really that insightful at such a young age? Is any of that even true? Was Ruth that insightful? I doubt it. This reads more like a morphed memory of how he became a neurosurgeon. If it were an historical fiction book, I am sure I would have enjoyed it. But, passing off this much sensation as fact, even if it has a lot of obvious truth to it, is ext ...more
Jancee Wright
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Back in college, one of the first people I met was a girl named Sarah. We met at orientation, but I left thinking that we would never be friends. Our personalities just seemed too different. She looked every bit the hippie, with long flowing skirts, healthy snacks, and a soft voice. Luckily, first impressions don’t often mean much, and we went on to become great friends. Today we live about an hour apart, and every so often the roommates and I drive over to visit or we host her at our apartment. ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
For me this memoir divides into four topics:

- Author's heartbreaking youth and teenage years
- Discussion of and instruction in "the magic"
- Author overcoming incredible odds to reach - and then lose - incredible wealth
- Author's redemption by re-orienting his focus from building wealth to helping patients

The topics are interwoven with basic neurological and physiological information, which balances the "woo woo" aspects of the magic steps. The magic is relaxation, meditation, intention, and ope
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Doty’s “magic tricks” and “powers” of the heart and brain are meditation and visualization. He claims that you can do and have whatever you want if you use these techniques, but, realistically, they’ll just influence your attitude, confidence and resolve. You still need to put in work, and may need some luck, to reach your goals. This book is useful in showing the value of, and providing the basics for, meditation and visualization, but I’ll do further reading if I start using these techniques m ...more
Kathy Moldoveanu
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was introduced to me by BTS. And I so glad it did because it is a very inspirational one, making you think about your brain and heart and seeing every emotion from a medical perspective and through someone's point of view.
James' story is one very harsh, very strong and very interesting, seeing him trying to open his heart, soul and mind and recovering after losing his way.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: firstreads
Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart This story will make you love Ruth. And like little Jim and root for him. And then hate big Jim. And then come to like big Jim again.Jim Doty has been both a good guy and a bad guy, and this book tells the story of his journey and encourages others to make the same journey toward good -- surely if a guy that selfish can make the journey, we all can. His primary aim is to make our lives ...more
Diane  Holcomb
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book, for free, in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a quality spiritual tale along the lines of Coelho,Castenada and Millman. The author is genuine and the story is well told and engaging.
The author breaks down the lessons from the story into a handful of exercises that you can practice to improve your life.

To me the overall lesson of the book is to be more compassionate/loving to all people. When the author states this himself it is much more powerful, powerful enough
Angie McDonald
Sep 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
This dude is wildly narcissistic. He fabricates a simple and digestible story so that he can reframe meditation and mindfulness as his own unique idea to sell books to the masses. For being a neurosurgeon, there's little science in this book. His own selfish desires and egocentric lifestyle clearly caught up with him but only after losing millions of dollars did he begin to consider others. No amount of charitable work or artificial regret in the latter years of his life can cover up his self co ...more
Joanne Freitas
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um grande livro, que nos faz refletir e nos ensina muito coisas.

Opinião futuramente no blog.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is the story of James, a little boy who grew up to be more than an ordinary neurosurgeon..
James grew up in an unstable house, with a depressed mom and a drunken dad, he was really poor but he has always had that "caring thing".. One day, he went to a magic shop to buy a plastic thumb and that's where he met Ruth, the lady who's gonna change his life, Ruth taught him through six weeks another kind of magic, the magic of the heart and the brain and how these two entities are so attached to each
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Into the Magic Shop is a testament of how one person can change the life of another by making time to help someone in need of help.

James R. Doty, MD was a poor kid growing up in Lancaster, California with a poor family background. Thanks to the compassion of Ruth, who he met at a local magic shop, his life was turned around.

Doty's writing will keep you interested as it's lively and fast-paced. I stayed up far too late as I couldn't put his book down.


Review written after downloading a
Sue Smith
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book with some very very interesting insights. I love it when I pick up a book for no other reason than it speaks to me and then discover it was probably put in my path for a reason. Loved this book for that!!! If everyone followed this man's advice there wouldn't be half the world issues there are today. It's really that good!

6 stars and I recommend it to everyone!
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
I guess I was expecting a medical memoir - a genre I seek out. But this book was a combination of a guide to meditation which then continued in the vein of "The Secret" (best selling self-help book). Although the author had a few medical stories, his self-avowed arrogance and his poor attitude left me cold about this book.
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fascinating amalgam of science, esoterica, and philosophy that neither bored nor pandered to the reader.

Note: I received this via NetGalley for an honest review.
Alex Givant
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tts, best-of-2017, memoirs
Поразительные мемуары нейрохирурга, который добился своей цели несмотря ни на что: никогда не сдаваться и всегда идти к своей цели.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this to EVERYONE!
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through Net Galley, for an honest review. Please note that this book is not set to publish until February 2016.

Honestly, great book. It is well written and engages the reader. There are instances where the author explains things in some technical medical terms; but, he goes on to explain so that the layman will understand. There are parts of the book that brought me to tears. It is a memoir as well as an instructional guide on how to become a bet
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing and thought provoking read!

Not knowing what to expect from this book I was surprised to find it speaking directly to my own experiences and beliefs! I devoured this book all the while thinking "finally, someone who put this in simple understandable terms and a story!". It is hard to impart the vision of drawing energy from mental clearing and positive thinking. I especially loved the "foggy window" exercise. It made a great visual for the mind.

Even though reading his story (and of cou
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Book report 1 3 Mar 07, 2018 10:21PM  
Old Souls Book Club: Into the Magic Shop, by James R Doty 2 15 Dec 31, 2016 06:09AM  
Old Souls Book Club: THE FACE OF GOD 1 10 Oct 14, 2016 02:43PM  
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James Doty, MD, is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of CA, Irvine and medical school at Tulane University. He trained in neurosurgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center an ...more

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“She taught me the pointlessness of wishing for a different past and the futility of worrying about all of the frightening futures over which I had no control.” 16 likes
“It's the same with the wound in our hearts. We need to give them our attention so that they can heal. Otherwise the wounds continue to cause us pain. Sometimes for a very long time. We're all going to get hurt. But here's the trick - they also serve an amazing purpose.
When our hearts are wounded that's when they open.
We grow through pain.
We grow through difficult situations.
That's why you have to embrace each and every difficult thing in your life.”
More quotes…