This month we read books that challenge many preconceived ideas about the benefits of meditation, listening to our feelings and the trappings of the pursuit of happiness. Intrigued? Read on.
Headlines, headaches and the human condition : when normal doesn’t work and how to deal with it
“Headlines and headaches often happen without malice and regardless of knowledge or skills. The processes we use have helped us evolve and survive for thousands of years but the less we understand them, the more they seem to let us down in modern day situations. Using everyday language and real world examples, Steve Whiddett takes us behind some very public headlines and some very real everyday headaches. Headlines, Headaches and the Human Condition provides insights into situations and the human condition, which will help you change your own situations. It is a book that we can all use to make situations more manageable and more productive for ourselves, for organisations and for society.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
The outside edge : how outsiders can succeed in a world made by insiders.
“Our culture celebrates outsiders while in reality slamming the door in their face. The modern world encourages creativity while shutting-out all but a privileged few from individualistic expression. The Outside Edge is all about learning to harness the unique vantage point you possess in order to give yourself the edge required to succeed. It will show you when to embrace your outsider status and go against convention, and when to play the game, do as the insiders do and make sure you can get progress. Think of The Outside Edge as a manual for positively directing your insecurity, awkwardness and role-confusion towards a meaningful future, shaped and pursued on your own terms.” (Syndetics)
The Buddha pill : can meditation actually change you?
“In this new book, psychologists Dr. Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm explore the human ambition for personal change and its possible illusions, with a focus on yoga and meditation. They examine the psychological and biological evidence, from early research on Transcendental Meditation to recent brain-imaging studies on mindfulness. Controversially, The Buddha Pill argues that personal change effected by these spiritual practices can vary widely from one individual to another, and that peace and compassion may not always be the end result. Combining insights from decades of scientific research with fascinating accounts from gurus and prisoners, The Buddha Pill weaves together a unique story about the science and the delusions of personal change.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
The happiness trap : how to stop struggling and start living
“Russ Harris explains that the way most of us go about trying to find happiness ends up making us miserable, driving the epidemics of stress, anxiety, and depression. This empowering book presents the insights and techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) a revolutionary new psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology. By clarifying your values and developing mindfulness (a technique for living fully in the present moment), ACT helps you escape the happiness trap and find true satisfaction in life.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Upside : the new science of post-traumatic growth
“PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is at the center of national conversation and a widely recognized psychological condition. But an equally valid, though lesser known outcome of trauma is post-traumatic growth. While many survivors suffer long-term emotional damage, over the last several decades psychologists have discovered that with the right circumstances and proper support, survivors can actually emerge from their trauma stronger, more focused, and with a new and clear vision for the future. Comprised of interviews with leading researchers and dozens of trauma survivors, Rendon paints a vivid and comprehensive portrait of this groundbreaking field.” (Syndetics)
Whole body intelligence : get out of your head and into your body to achieve greater wisdom, confidence, and success
“Executive coach Steve Sisgold, knows that the body–not the mind–is the most reliable and effective pathway to realizing your innermost desires and achieving success. His unique, body-centric approach will show you how to get out of your head and take charge of every area of your life with increased awareness, clarity, and confidence. Whole Body Intelligence teaches you how to become aware of subtle body sensations–such as gripping the phone or clenching your jaw during a tense conversation–and how to interpret their meanings, linking them to negative thoughts and behaviors that are impeding your success and happiness.” (Syndetics)
The story of psychology
“Following the successful pattern of The Story of Maths, The Story of Physics , and The Story of Philosophy, The Story of Psychology traces the development of psychology from its origins as a branch of philosophy to the present day, when it is a discipline in its own right, closely allied with neurology and physiology. Topics include the study of the soul; how the mind was perceived in the ancient world; the ghost in the machine; consciousness, semiconsciousness, and altered consciousness; models of madness; ways of dealing with mental illness; how we learn and know.” (Syndetics)
The superhuman mind : free the genius in your brain
“Berit Brogaard, PhD, and Kristian Marlow, MA, study people with astonishing talents–memory champions, human echolocators, musical virtuosos, math geniuses, and synesthetes who taste colors and hear faces. But as amazing as these abilities are, they are not mysterious. Our brains constantly process a huge amount of information below our awareness, and what these gifted individuals have in common is that through practice, injury, an innate brain disorder, or even more unusual circumstances, they have managed to gain a degree of conscious access to this potent processing power. Delving into the neurological underpinnings of these abilities, the authors even reveal how we can acquire some of them ourselves–from perfect pitch and lightning fast math skills to supercharged creativity.” (Syndetics)
Mindware : tools for smart thinking
“Scientific and philosophical concepts can change the way we solve problems by helping us to think more effectively about our behavior and our world. Surprisingly, despite their utility, many of these tools remain unknown to most of us. In Mindware, psychologist Richard E. Nisbett presents these ideas in clear and accessible detail. In this groundbreaking book, Nisbett shows us how to frame common problems in such a way that scientific and statistical principles can be applied to them. The result is an enlightening and practical guide to the most essential tools of reasoning ever developed-tools that can easily be used to make better professional, business, and personal decisions.” (Syndetics)
Worrying : a literary and cultural history
“Francis O’Gorman charts the emergence of our contemporary idea of worry in the Victorian era and its establishment, after the First World War, as a feature of modernity. For some writers between the Wars, worry was the “disease of the age.” Worrying examines the everyday kind of worry – the fearful, non-pathological, and usually hidden questioning about uncertain futures. It shows worry to be a natural companion in a world where we try to live by reason and believe we have the right to choose, finding in the worrier a peculiarly contemporary sufferer whose mental life is not only exceptionally familiar, but also deeply strange. ” (Syndetics)
F*ck feelings : one shrink’s practical advice for managing all life’s impossible problems
“The only self-help book you’ll ever need, from a psychiatrist and his comedy writer daughter, who will help you put aside your unrealistic wishes, stop trying to change things you can’t change, and do the best with what you can control – the first steps to managing all of life’s impossible problems. Here is the cut-to-the-chase therapy session you’ve been looking for! In this brilliantly sensible and funny book, a Harvard-educated shrink and his comedy-writing daughter reveal that the real f-words in life are “feelings” and “fairness.” F*ck Feelings is the last self-help book you will ever need!” (Syndetics)