Category: Recent picks

Internal declutter – October self-development

Finding the essential and rejecting the surperflous in search of a more present, meaningful existence, balancing pleasure and purpose are some of the key concepts explored and discussed in this month’s selection to achieve greater happiness, fulfilment and ultimately health.

Syndetics book coverEssentialism : the disciplined pursuit of less
“McKeown began his mission for a less overcommitted life after he left his wife and hours-old baby in the hospital for an ultimately unproductive client meeting. Punctuated with zippy, thoughtful one-liners, this guide to doing “less but better” offers strategies for determining what is truly necessary, and shedding what is not. Instead of attempting to achieve everything, readers need to figure out how to do the “right thing the right way at the right time.” According to the author, the first step is un-committing: resisting the urge to join clubs, take on hobbies, and maintain unsatisfying friendships. Readers can stop making casual commitments, and can get over their fear of missing out.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCompelling people : the hidden qualities that make us influential
“When people look at us, what are they seeing? Most of us don’t realize what signals we’re sending, or how, and on what, people are judging us. Neffinger and Kohut, communications strategists and presentation coaches who met writing speeches and editing articles for Harvard faculty, posit that initial character judgments are based on two traits: strength and warmth. As they write, ‘We live most fully when we cultivate both in our lives, when we balance a high degree of individual capability with an unflagging regard for the needs and interests of others’.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book cover“Taming the drunken monkey : the path to mindfulness, meditation, and increased concentration
“In today’s busy world, the mind can often behave like a drunken monkey – stressed, scattered, and out of control. Instead of falling victim to frustration and anxiety, learn to be calm, focused, and free of unwanted thoughts with this easy-to-use guide to mindfulness.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHappiness by design : finding pleasure and purpose in everyday life
“Pretty much all the advice about happiness we have heard revolves around one basic assumption: that we can think ourselves happier. But in this book, behavior and happiness expert Paul Dolan reveals that the key to being happy does not lie in changing how we think–it’s changing what we do. This book combines the latest insights from economics and psychology to illustrate that in order to be happy we must behave happy. Our happiness is experiences of both pleasure and purpose over time and it depends on what we actually pay attention to. Dolan reveals what we can do to find our unique optimal balance of pleasure and purpose, offering practical advice on how to organize our lives in happiness-promoting ways and fresh insights into how we feel.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPsychology : 50 ideas you really need to know
“Packed with the latest research, case studies and the arguments of key thinkers, 50 Psychology Ideas You Really Need to Know is the perfect introduction to psychological theory. Professor Adrian Furham offers concise and accessible essays explaining the central ideas of psychology as well as provising the reader with a rich vocabulary to explain and describe behaviour.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverUnthink
“How to think more successfully, by understanding how our unconscious mind works–and therefore how to lower your grocery bill, get someone to like you, and how best to give good news. Your life is dominated by your unconscious mind: by thoughts you’re unaware of and movements you don’t realize you are making. Words, colors, mannerisms, and other cues you don’t realize are affecting you, change what you think. This book explores the unconscious decisions we make, and… shows us how we can understand ourselves and others better, by having a greater understanding of the way that the unconscious mind has an impact of the way we live our lives.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSuccess, your way : do what you’re meant to do
“Wharton business school professor, G. Richard Shell, teaches you how to define your success personally. But where is the map to help you discover that dream? In Success, Your Way, the author challenges you to set aside ideas of success as defined by society, family, and the media. Shell helps you probe your past, imagine your future, and measure your strengths. By identifying your unique passions and capabilities you will focus more on what gives meaning and excitement to your life. Get ready for the journey of a lifetime – one that will help you reevaluate your future and achieve success on your own terms.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPowers of two : finding the essence of innovation in creative pairs
“All of us have experienced creative connection, and glimpsed its power. Yet, for centuries, the myth of the lone genius has obscured the critical story of the power of collaboration. In Powers of Two, Shenk argues that creative pairs are the exemplars for innovation. Using scientific and psychological insights, he uncovers new truths about epic duos – and sheds new light on the genesis of some of the greatest creative work in history. He reveals hidden partnerships among people known only for their individual work (like C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien), and even ‘adversarial collaborations’ among those who are out to beat each other. This revelatory and lyrical book will make us see creative exchange as the central terrain of our psyches.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLove objects : emotion, design and material culture
“How are love and emotion embodied in material form? Love Objects explores the emotional potency of things, addressing how objects can function as fetishes, symbols and representations, active participants in and mediators of our relationships, as well as tokens of affection, symbols of virility, triggers of nostalgia, replacements for lost loved ones, and symbols of lost places and times. Addressing both designed ‘things with attitude’ and the ‘wild things’ of material culture, Love Objects explores a wide range of objects, from 19th-century American portraits displaying men’s passionate friendships to the devotional and political meanings of religious statues in 1920s Ireland.” (Syndetics summary)

September Self-development

This month we explore the field of psychology since Freud and our windy path to self-realisation, fulfilment and enlightenment.

Syndetics book coverThe psychology book : from shamanism to cutting-edge neuroscience, 250 milestones in the history of psychology
“A leading historian in his field, Pickren assembles 250 milestones in psychology, from shamanism to the 2013 White House BRAIN Initiative (brain research through advancing innovate neuro-technologies). Each entry has a page of concise description and explanation opposite a portrait, document, or work of art. Milestones include Aristotle’s De Anima; London’s medieval Bedlam (Bethlem Hospital); Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy; Elizabeth Loftus on misinformation effect and false memories; and Bill Moyers’s “Mind-Body Medicine” on PBS. Some topics and pioneers, such as the brain, soul, tests, medications, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung, receive repeat attention. Suggested readings add to the value of this book for readers who wish to delve further into the milestones.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMe, myself, and why : searching for the science of self
“Who are we? Who am I? Those are the questions science writer Ouellette (The Calculus Diaries, 2010) tackles in this elegant and very personal inquiry into identity and the science of the self. Ouellette examines the many aspects of the making of a self, including discussions on nature versus nurture. Ouellette leapfrogs through scientific, philosophical, and even pop history, which makes for fun reading as she expresses her views of an array of figures and artifacts, from Gregor Mendel to Francis Galton, John Locke to Kevin Bacon, Harry Potter movies to Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi film, Inception. She discusses the so-called Prozac gene, brain scans, the hangover gene, avatars, sexual orientation and gender-atypical behaviours, the persistence and accuracy of memory, consciousness and the soul, and other provocative topics. An entertaining, insightful, and thoughtful reflection on our assumptions about ourselves and the mystery that is at the heart of the human story.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe good psychopath’s guide to success
“What is a good psychopath? And how can thinking like one help you to be the best that you can be? Dr Kevin Dutton has spent a lifetime studying psychopaths. He first met SAS hero Andy McNab during a research project. What he found surprised him, McNab is a diagnosed psychopath but he is a GOOD PSYCHOPATH. Unlike a BAD PSYCHOPATH, he is able to dial up or down qualities such as ruthlessness, fearlessness, decisiveness, conscience and empathy to get the very best out of himself – and others – in a wide range of situations. Together, they explore the ways in which a good psychopath thinks differently – and what that could mean for you. The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success gives you an entertaining and thought provoking road-map to self-fulfilment, both in your personal life and in your career.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverHow to be alone
“Our fast-paced society does not approve of solitude; being alone is literally anti-social and some even find it sinister. Why is this so when autonomy, personal freedom and individualism are more highly prized than ever before? Sara Maitland answers this question by exploring changing attitudes throughout history. Offering experiments and strategies for overturning our fear of solitude, she helps us to practise it without anxiety and encourages us to see the benefits of spending time by ourselves. By indulging in the experience of being alone, we can be inspired to find our own rewards and ultimately lead more enriched, fuller lives.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHow to deal with adversity
“No matter how insulated we are by wealth or friends we can all expect to undergo some form of loss, failure or disappointment. The common reaction is to bear it as best we can – some do this better than others – and move on with life. Christopher Hamilton proposes a different response to adversity. Focusing on the arenas of family, love, illness and death, he explores constructive ways to deal with adversity and embrace it to derive unique insight into our condition. Offering examples from history, literature and science, he suggests how we might recognize it as a precious source of enlightenment, shaping our very existence.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverConstructive wallowing : how to beat bad feelings by letting yourself have them
“If you’ve ever ignored difficult feelings or if your inner critic has been riding you to be constructive every minute of the day, psychotherapist Gilbertson has written a counterintuitive self-help book that offers constructive advice for boosting self-compassion by wallowing in negative feelings. She begins with an easy premise: letting yourself experience both positive and negative emotions allows your body to have a healthy balance, which helps you to make informed, rounded decisions. Alternatively, ignoring healthy wallowing is a recipe for escalating problems as well as sustained depression and unresolved emotions. Although it’s a simple premise, it’s certainly not easy to change ingrained habits.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWhy mindfulness is better than chocolate : your guide to inner peace, enhanced focus and deep happiness
“Mindfulness practice can help you reduce stress, improve performance, manage pain and increase wellbeing. These are the reasons why elite athletes, performing artists and business leaders are taking up the practice, and why it is being introduced into the world’s most successful companies, banks, business schools – even the US Army…David Michie introduces mindfulness practice and offers innovative solutions to common obstacles. Written with warmth and good humour, Why Mindfulness is Better than Chocolate is the ultimate guide to self-discovery. It will make chocolate taste better too!” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCalming your angry mind : how mindfulness & compassion can free you from anger & bring peace to your life / Jeffrey Brantley, MD.
“Chronically angry people suffer loneliness, isolation, shame, and regret; experience dysfunctional interpersonal relationships; and are at increased risk for stress-related illnesses. Brantley’s primer recommends meditation based in mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom so those crippled by anger can eventually “enjoy a happier, kinder, life.” Borrowing broadly from Buddhist tradition and modern Zen master Thich Nhat Han, mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zin, emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman, and others, the author shows that the best way to learn “to uncouple the ‘thought train’ that carries anger” is to be present in the moment and make a commitment to a daily mindfulness meditation practice. Brantley employs the three basic mindfulness skills of intention, attention, and attitude, and the seven core elements of mindfulness practice-non-judging, non-striving, trust, patience, acceptance, a beginner’s mind, and letting go- as initiation into a personal meditation habit. In time, fear (usually the source of anger) dissipates and self-compassion and understanding emerge. Guided meditations appear throughout, in addition to individual stories, and data from studies on the benefits of mindfulness.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBecoming Freud : the making of a psychoanalyst / Adam Phillips.
“Renowned psychoanalyst Phillips (One Way and Another) conjures up a vibrant portrait of Sigmund Freud, examining psychiatry’s most famous figure as it contends with the difficulties of placing his life in biographic form. In contrast to the more popular focus on an older Freud, Phillips introduces us to a younger version: the eldest son of Jewish immigrants, gifted but troubled by childhood trauma, whose future ideas were founded upon these aspects of his upbringing. And so the emergence of psychoanalysis comes at the end of this story, implying that the widely influential school of thought is merely one aspect of Freud’s larger story. Much like psychoanalysis itself, this book does not seek to claim and advance any singular sense of truth; instead, it encourages us to relish in the illuminations, indeed the very uncertainties of the process. As such, it’s a biography that might even have received the approval of Freud himself.” (Syndetics)

Resilience and wellbeing, at home and at work

This month in our personal development picks, there’s lots to help you survive in the office jungle and power through pressure at work. Plus, Michael Foely writes about happiness in the twenty-first century, and Kleiman and Wenzel give helpful advice for couples dealing with post-partum depression. Plus, mindfulness and reconsidering our priorities in the face of unexpected illness. Have a read!

Syndetics book coverThe age of absurdity : why modern life makes it hard to be happy
“In a world that demands conspicuous consumption, high-octane relationships and perpetual youth, we can find ourselves tormented by dissatisfaction and anxiety, fearful that everyone is having a better time than we are. This thorny problem of happiness is the subject of Micahel Foley’s entertaining and witty investigation into how fulfillment eludes us as we work, love and grow old in the twenty-first century. Drawing on a wide range of sources, from the earliest writings to the latest research in psychology, Foley sheds ironic light on the absurd nature of contemporary cultural conditioning. In conclusion, rather than denouncing and rejecting our age, he proposes a strategy of not just accepting but embracing modern life – by learning that absurdity is the new sublime.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverTokens of affection : reclaiming your marriage after postpartum depression
“Postpartum depression knocks most couples off their feet and Tokens of Affection serves as a ‘grab bar’ for regaining balance. Written with humour, sensitivity and remarkable insight, Kleiman and Wenzel have created a practical and effective roadmap for couples seeking enhanced connection and stability, not only during the postpartum period but at any phase of their lives.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverPowering through pressure : building resilience for when work gets tough
“We’re all working longer and harder than ever. Greater demands mean more pressure. Too much pressure can easily turn into stress. And stress, if not handled with care, simply leads to more pressure.
Power through pressure will show you how to build resilience, manage your stress, be at your best and still get the job done, even when the pressure is really on.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverMy manager and other animals : evolution and survival in the office jungle
“Deep down we’re just like animals. Part selfish ape, part chaotic ant. But how do the two elements clash and come together in ‘antagonistic harmony’? My manager and other animals examines the evolutionary psychology of work and the complex and fascinating tactics and instincts that we have developed to deal with working life. The idea of the selfish gene encouraged a focus on the ‘selfish’ side of evolution, and the assumption that we should ‘go ape’, and be ego-driven, aggressive, and competitive. More recently, astounding discoveries in human and animal behaviour have shown that, in all animals, cooperation and altruism is more common that we think and more useful than we could imagine.” (syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe confidence code : the science and art of self-assurance– what women should know 
“Broadcast journalists Kay and Shipman (Womenomics) address the self-confidence gap between women and men, consulting a range of experts to determine what female confidence looks like and how it can be achieved. Their sources include WNBA players, successful entrepreneurs, and senior U.S. military, all of whom admit to facing crises in confidence. They visit a neuropsychologist studying rhesus monkeys to explore nature vs. nurture theories on anxiety and the brain’s neurotransmitters that enhance or inhibit confidence. The authors discuss obstacles to self-assurance women face like “negative habitual thought,” internalized pressure to conform to feminine stereotypes, and a “hormonal tendency to avoid risk.” Studies cited suggest women are more critical of their own scientific skills and spatial reasoning, and speak up less in a group setting. Kay and Shipman provide a great blueprint for raising daughters by discouraging perfectionism, noting that perfectionism smothers achievement and is the enemy of confidence. For readers themselves, the authors include techniques for eliminating “negative automatic thoughts” with self-compassion and recommend “quick fixes” like meditation, correct posture, and healthy habits. All of this research, as well as the authors’ own recounting of experiences with doubt in their professional lives, effectively builds into a comprehensive set of ingredients for the confident woman.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe priority list : a teacher’s final quest to discover life’s greatest lessons 
“In fall 2006, high school teacher Menasche, then age 34, was diagnosed with an aggressive and deadly type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme. Despite these challenges, in November 2012 he embarked on a journey-or Vision Quest, as he calls it-to recover his past by reconnecting with former students. Menasche, the son of booksellers, places literature at the center of his thinking and enlists it as a primary means of coping. A successful technique he used with students, the “priority list,” was useful in ranking the importance of different values and provided an effective tool for identify one’s own motivations. His chutzpah and quirky sense of humor more than explain Menasche’s popularity at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami; after announcing his road trip on Facebook, former students in 50 cities agreed to meet with him and offered hospitality. By reconsidering his priorities, letting others care for him, and giving in to the “beautiful turmoil” of his illness, Menasche has been able to accept the break-up of his marriage and retirement from his job while reaping surprising rewards from his quest. Like Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture, this memoir is a rousing testimony to the ways in which, in the face of death, living fully in the present moment becomes possible.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverA private history of happiness : ninety-nine moments of joy from around the world 
“Instead of advocating the latest guide or formula to achieve happiness, A Private History of Happiness presents a wider perspective on everyday moments of joy in different times and cultures – and invites us to discover the happiness in our own lives that can be found right here and now.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverMindfulness at work for dummies
“Learn to: master your mind by making time for mindfulness in your daily routine; use mindfulness to improve your resilience and wellbeing; improve team performance through mindfulness practice.” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverYou are what you imagine
This book will “take you by the hand and guide you chapter-by-chapter through a series of practical exercises, including working with imagery, vizualization, meditation and journaling. Full of fascinating interviews, stories and wonderful insights, this book will give you the tools to help you listen to the whispers of your heart and soul.” (Back cover)

New Personal Development Books

The pursuit of happiness is an all-consuming aspiration for a lot of us. Reflections on what is happiness and how to attain it abound. Whether through meditation, mindfulness, exercise, the practice of positive thoughts or the attainement of excellence, you will find a lot of inspiration and enlightenment from the following titles.

Syndetics book coverPractising happiness / Ruth A. Baer.
“Mindfulness is a way of paying attention that originates in Eastern meditation traditions but is increasingly discussed and practised in Western culture. It is usually defined as focusing one’s complete attention on present-moment experiences in a non-judgemental and accepting way. Buddhist traditions suggest that the cultivation of mindfulness through the practice of meditation reduces suffering and cultivates positive qualities, such as insight, wisdom, compassion and equanimity. In recent years, the Western mental health community has adapted mindfulness meditation practices for use in medical and mental health settings, and several interventions based on mindfulness training are now widely available. Those with the best scientific support include mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). These treatments can be applied to a wide range of problems, disorders and populations and the evidence increasingly supports their efficacy. Practising Happiness is the first self-help book to integrate the wisdom, skills and practices available from the four leading evidence-based mindfulness treatments.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe tell : the little clues that reveal big truths about who we are / Matthew Hertenstein.
“Drawing on poker’s concept of the “tell,” a mannerism that can yield clues to an opponent’s cards, and numerous behavioral studies in which he has been involved, psychologist Hertenstein has produced a study that is lively and engaging yet unremarkable in its conclusion that both environment and genes influence our decision-making. For example, he reveals that we’re able to predict ways an adult might behave by looking at early tells; thus, infants that have insecure attachments to their parents are more likely than those with secure attachments to develop some form of psychopathology later. Various studies have found that facial features can be useful in predicting aggression or lying and cheating: “In carefully controlled studies, men with wider faces were three times more willing to lie than slim-faced men.” In dating, women choose men based on facial attractiveness, symmetry, smell, and masculinity, while men choose “women who are attractive, youthful, and display signs of fertility.” Despite the inconclusiveness of evolutionary psychology, Hertenstein offers much material to ponder and suggests that we embrace the power of these tools for helping us predict behavior, though he also cautions against an overly prescriptive use of these approaches, which could lead to harmful cultural stereotypes. 31 b&w figures.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverMaking hope happen : create the future you want for yourself and others / Shane J. Lopez.
“Draws on research to offer strategies for adopting a high-hope attitude and shaping a successful future, and provides real-life examples of people who create hope and have changed the lives of their communities.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmarter : the new science of building brain power / Dan Hurley.
“With vivid stories of lives transformed, science journalist Dan Hurley delivers practical findings for people of every age and ability. Along the way, he narrates with acid-tongued wit his experiences as a human guinea pig, road-testing commercial brain-training programs, learning to play the Renaissance lute, getting physically fit, even undergoing transcranial direct current stimulation.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe people you are / Rita Carter.
“In The People You Are, Rita Carter – award-winning science writer and international speaker – offers a new and vital understanding of personality. Rita explains that nearly every one of us is a team of personalities, working together, for the most part, to give the impression of a unified self. We are used to thinking of ourselves as one thing or the other – either introvert or extrovert, say – but things are rarely that simple for most of us. That’s why we sometimes feel like a different person depending on mood, company and surroundings, why we sometimes suffer unaccountable memory lapses, why we buy something we then decide we didn’t want in the first place, or why ‘somebody else’ turns off the alarm clock in the morning.Importantly, The People You Are is also a practical guide to building a happy ‘household’ of personalities, explaining how to identify these different versions of ourselves and how to enable them to co-operate so that we can function successfully in life. The People You Are is both an eye-opening and highly practical account of personality.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHardwiring happiness : the new brain science of contentment, calm, and confidence / Rick Hanson, Ph. D.
Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of being appreciated? Your brain was wired this way when it evolved, primed to learn quickly from bad experiences, but not so much from the good ones. It’s an ancient survival mechanism that turned the brain into Velcro for the negative, but Teflon for the positive. Life isn’t easy, and having a brain wired to take in the bad and ignore the good makes us worried, irritated and stressed, instead of confident, secure and happy. Every day is filled with opportunities to build these strengths inside, but the brain is designed to ignore and waste them. This makes you come down harder on yourself than you do other people, feel inadequate even though you get a hundred things done, and lonely even when support is all around. Dr. Rick Hanson, an acclaimed neuropsychologist and internationally bestselling author, shows us what we can do to override the brain’s default programming. Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures that stick to happiness, love, confidence, and peace. Dr. Hanson’s four steps build a brain strong enough to withstand its ancient negativity bias, allowing contentment and a powerful sense of well-being to become the new normal. In mere minutes each day, we can transform our brains into oases of calm and happiness. We can hardwire in happiness.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMeditation made easy : with step-by-step guided meditations to calm mind, body and soul / Stephanie Brookes.Trying to find a work/life balance can be exhausting, and we are always looking for ways to release tension and relax. Meditation is the perfect solution, and yet people often worry that to meditate properly they need to sit for hours in a contorted position! Written in a down-to-earth, accessible style, Stephanie Brookes sweeps aside these outdated stereotypes, and shows us how to incorporate simple meditation techniques into our busy, non-stop lives. Stephanie has outlined bespoke meditations for a wide range of situations, including meditations for self-healing, meditations for relationships and meditations on the go. Packed with engaging and insightful information on meditation’s well-being benefits, this book will show you how even a very short meditation can reduce stress, ease tension and set you on the path to inner peace.” (From inside cover)

Syndetics book coverHow to think about exercise / Damon Young.
“A look at how and why exercise affects the way we think and feel. It can often seem like existence is split in two: body and mind, flesh and spirit, moving and thinking. In the office or at study we are ‘mind workers’, with superfluous bodies. In the gym we stretch, run and lift, but our minds are idle. Damon Young challenges this idea, revealing how fitness can develop our bodies and minds, together. Exploring exercises and sports with the help of ancient and modern philosophy, he uncovers the pleasures, virtues and big ideas of fitness. By exercising intelligently, we are committing to wholeness: enjoying and enhancing our full humanity.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Dude and the Zen master / Jeff Bridges & Bernie Glassman.
“Actor Bridges engages in a philosophical dialogue with friend and Zen master Glassman, an aeronautical engineer and mathematician in his early years, for an easy, fun read that poses some serious questions. The presentation is light-hearted and analogies are frequent; in discussing a fear of taking action, Glassman invokes “Joe, the centipede with a hundred legs, trying to figure out which leg to move first.” Later, Glassman recommends a musical approach to dealing with change: “Bear witness to the voices and the instruments-whether it’s a jazz band or life-and then move with them, flow with them, because in life you’re always in a band and you’re always swinging.” The Zen influence means a lot of nature imagery, with “Leaves turning, flowers popping open, rain falling on a leaf,” but it’s not cheap spirituality. Both men are involved in programs to promote peace and defeat hunger and they share stories of community artists, Holocaust survivors, and even Bridges’s long-time stand-in. Recognizing that frustration results from expectations, they say, “Work with whatever you have and make something beautiful.” Lest it all get too lofty, Glassman recalls his judo master’s advice: “When you get into trouble, the best judo defense is to run.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFocus : the hidden driver of excellence / Daniel Goleman.
“The ubiquitous reality of technological tools and gadgets in contemporary society can seem to impede the development of a conscious awareness of the world. Goleman, author of several works, including the acclaimed Emotional Intelligence (1995) and Social Intelligence (CH, Oct’07, 45-0941), explores here the issues this loss of awareness can create on an individual and global scale. He looks at the physiology of the brain and the way in which information, experiences, and emotions are tracked and processed. A storyteller at heart, Goleman makes complex scientific material accessible and captivating. He moves from personal to organizational to global in evaluating the need to strengthen “systems awareness” through three kinds of focus–inner, other, and outer–all of which are required for “a well-lived life.” Drawing on work with children and adults in multinational corporations and small inner-city schools, Goleman explores the dynamics of attention training. He draws the reader into a dialogue with critical long- and short-term dilemmas that will require a new type of systems focus if they are to be resolved. Realism is tempered by a positive optimism in this engaging work.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMindful learning : reduce stress and improve brain performance for effective learning / Dr Craig Hassed & Dr Richard Chambers.
“Mindfulness is now being used in educational environments to help students learn more effectively, develop personally, enhance their physical and emotional health, and deal with study and exam-related demands. In ‘Mindful Learning’, practical insights and exercises are given on how to successfully apply mindfulness in the educational setting.” (Syndetics summary)

Focus, live fearlessly and find your element

Pause for a moment to find your element, your focus, and your killer emotions - all whilst smiling at strangers along the way!

Syndetics book coverFinding your element : how to discover your talents and passions and transform your life / Ken Robinson, PhD ; with Lou Aronica.“Ken Robinson’s groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, The Element, introduced readers to a new concept of self-fulfillment and has inspired readers around the world. When people find their Element, they tune in to their most authentic selves, can achieve at their highest levels, and live their best lives. Now, in his new book, Robinson answers the fundamental question: How do I find my Element?  With his signature wry wit, Robinson offers a series of practical exercises to help you discover your own talents and passions.  Along the way, he tells the stories of many “ordinary”  people in all walks of life who have overcome obstacles of every sort to find their Element.  And he explores fundamental principles and vital questions to help you find yours.  Your answers to these and many others will provide you with invaluable keys to discovering your Element.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverPause button therapy : pause , think, decide, act / Martin and Marion Shirran with Fiona Graham.“How helpful would it be if we could occasionally just pause, freeze time for a few moments and consider the consequences of the actions we are about to take? Pause Button Therapy® is a proven, innovative and interactive new therapy technique that allows you to do exactly this, empowering you to break out of negative habits and unconscious responses. PBT is based on an incredibly simple idea, but can be used for a whole host of issues. It provides additional thinking time, allowing a person to consider the potential consequences of their actions and adjust their behaviour accordingly.It has been hugely successful in the treatment of everything from addictions and weight issues to depression, anxiety and relationship problems, and this book will show you the many ways in which you can use it to transform your experience of life.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFocus : use different ways of seeing the world for success and influence / Heidi Grant Halvorson, E. Tory Higgins.“We all want to experience pleasure and avoid pain. But there are really two kinds of pleasure and pain that motivate everything we do. If you are promotion-focused, you want to advance and avoid missed opportunities. If you are prevention-focused, you want to minimize losses and keep things working. And as Tory Higgins has found in his groundbreaking research, if you understand how people focus, you have the power to motivate yourself and everyone around you. Showing how promotion/prevention focus applies across a wide range of situations from selling product to managing employees to raising children to getting a second date, Halvorson and Higgins show us how to identify focus, how to change focus, and how to use focus exactly the right way to get results. Short, punchy, and prescriptive, Focus will help you see not just whats going on around you  - but what’s going on underneath.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverSmile at strangers : and other lessons in the art of living fearlessly / Susan Schorn.“Susan Schorn led an anxious life. For no clear reason, she had become progressively paralyzed by fear. Fed up with feeling powerless, she took up karate. She learned how to say no and how to fight when you have to (even in the dark). Karate taught her how to persuade her husband to wear a helmet, best one bossy Girl Scout troop leader, and set boundaries with an over-sharing boss. Here this double black belt recounts a fighting, biting, laughing woman’s journey on the road to living fearlessly-where enlightenment is as much about embracing absurdity and landing a punch as about finding that perfect method of meditation. Full of hilarious hijinks and tactical wisdom, Schorn’s quest for a more satisfying life features practical – and often counterintuitive – lessons about safety and self defense. Smile at strangers, she says. Question your habits, your fears, your self-criticism: Self-criticism is easy. Self-improvement is hard. And dont forget this essential gem: Everybody wants to have adventures. Whether they know it or not. Join the adventure in these pages, and come through it poised to have more of your own.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverYour killer emotions : the 7 steps to mastering the toxic emotions, urges, and impulses that sabotage you / Ken Lindner.“Have you at one time or another let your feelings of hurt, anger, disappointment, rejection, rage, betrayal, insecurity, or hopelessness cloud your best judgement? Did you make disappointing, self-sabotaging life choices as a result? If the answer is “Yes, many times”, then this book is for you. Emotions can kill your ability to accomplish your plans, fulfill your dreams, and attain the life you so dearly desire. Think of Your Killer Emotions as your emotion-mastery kit, to be used in consistently making positive life choices; it will enable you to beneficially channel the supremely potent energy charges triggered by your potentially sabotaging emotions, impulses, and urges, thereby turning them into your allies so that you can make positive and better life choices.” (Book cover)

Coping, Surviving and Thriving

Whether it’s dealing with the challenges of guilt, how to find solutions, or becoming resilient, here are a few of our latest books that offer a positive way through the big and the everyday things in our lives.

Syndetics book coverBlind spot : why we fail to see the solution right in front of us : how finding a solution to one of the world’s greatest mysteries with the verifier method changes the way we approach success / Gordon Rugg with Joseph D’Agnese.
“What can chess masters teach us about how humans become experts?Why can’t race car drivers explain decisions they’ve made behind the wheel? What does predicting the winner of a soccer match say about our ability to make the right choice?When we talk about experts, we typically have bought into the idea that they have all the answers. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Gordon Rugg exposes the surprising ways in which all people tend to make the same sorts of mistakes, regardless of what field they are in, how smart they are, or even their level of expertise. Focusing on why and how we make decisions, Rugg offers insight into what motivates us, how we fail to find the answers we are looking for, how we can learn to ask the essential questions, and more.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverCoping with guilt / Windy Dryden.
“Do you sometimes wish you could turn back the clock and undo mistakes you might have made in the past? Do you feel it’s your responsibility to make others happy? Are you more worried about hurting others than living your own life? Whether you think you’ve failed to do the right thing or caused harm to someone else, Coping with Guilt will help you to move on. Topics include – differentiating between healthy remorse and destructive guilt; how to deal with episodes of guilt; coping with blame and manipulation; how to accept and value yourself; how to practice healthy self-care. You don’t always have to live up to expectations of yourself that are unrealistically high – tackling the unhelpful beliefs that perpetuate guilt will help you to end the guilt trip now.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverA complaint-free world : the 21-day challenge that will change your life / Will Bowen.
“Have you ever noticed how much we complain about things? Moaning and letting off steam – not only is this a waste of time, it also has a harmful effect on the way you live. So how can you focus on the positive, happy things in life instead? Will Bowen shares the simple, innovative philosophy of staying ‘complaint free’ and reveals how it can change your life. He explains what constitutes a complaint (and what doesn’t), why we complain, what benefits we think we receive from complaining, how complaining is destructive and we can all stop complaining and start thinking and acting in positive ways. With this book’s powerful yet simple message, and a little determination, you too can achieve a positive attitude and improve your life for good.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverResilience / Anne Deveson.
“How is it that some people can be resilient in adversity while others become overwhelmed? Anne Deveson’s distinguished career with the media and social justice organisations grants her rare insight into spirited people who have faced suffering – ordeals of family breakdown, mental illness, human rights abuse, disaster or war. What is it, she wonders that enables individuals, or communities, to rise out of despair? Anne’s exploration into the nature of resilience weaves together research, memoir and reflection into a thought-provoking intellectual and personal story, salted with gritty humour. This book will be an inspiration to victim’s of life’s ‘slings and arrows’, as well as to all who hope to help them.” (Book cover)

Surviving suicide : a mother’s story / [Heather Hapeta].
“This small book addresses the author’s son’s motorbike accident, his suicide and her responses to it all. It also has advice and examples about how to survive the death of someone by suicide – gleaned from personal and counselling experiences. There is a need for this book: here in New Zealand there are about 450 suicides annually, each affecting 6 to 10 people. This means there are over four thousand kiwis who need this information – and that’s just in the first year – these numbers are cumulative and some people may only seek help many years later. Written for the survivor’s of someone’s suicide, and in the hope that their friends will also read it so they can be of help too, this book will also benefit counsellors and social workers.” (from Book Introduction)

From being empowered to being empowering

Empower yourself and those around you – whether it’s being decisive in your decisions and making a difference with your power to influence, or just learning how not to slap or be slapped in the face!

Syndetics book coverThe curse of lovely : how to break free from the demands of others and learn to say no / Jacqui Marson.
“Many people’s lives, relationships, careers and wellbeing are blighted by the belief that to be liked, loved and accepted they have to limit themselves to the behaviours they believe are approved of by others. This might mean some or all of the following: always being polite, nice, helpful, charming, fun, making people feel good about themselves, not letting people down, never saying ‘no’, avoiding conflict and putting others’ needs before their own. In her 15 years of clinical experience as a psychologist Jacqui Marson has coined the phrase ‘the curse of lovely’ to describe this growing trend. Many people would like to be known as lovely, but for a growing number of people it can feel like a curse. They feel unable to put their own needs before those of everyone else, and feel that changing this is not an option. This book shows readers how to break the curse of lovely to live a more complete, fulfilling life.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverThe difference you make : changing your world through the impact of your influence / Pat Williams with Jim Denney.
“Every one of us has influence, whether we realize it or not. In everything we say and do, we are influencing those around us. What if we became more aware, more intentional, and more strategic about our own influence? Well, we might just change the world. True influence, says Pat Williams, isn’t about getting what you want–it’s about serving others. Using personal stories from his own life and the lives of others, Williams shows readers the difference between influence and manipulation, how to influence others through both words and deeds, and ultimately how to change the world for the better, one relationship at a time. This book will inspire readers to build a positive legacy in the lives of others and take the role of influencer to heart. Each chapter includes questions and ideas for personal reflection and practical application, and can be used to guide group discussions as well.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverDecisive : how to make better choices in life and work / Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
“Just making a decision can be hard enough, but how do you begin to judge whether it’s the right one? In Decisive, best-selling authors Chip and Dan Heath draw on decades of psychological research to explain why we so often get it very badly wrong – why our supposedly rational brains are frequently tripped up by powerful biases and wishful thinking. At the same time they demonstrate how relatively easy it is to avoid the pitfalls and find the best answers, offering four simple principles that we can all learn and follow. In the process, they show why it is that experts frequently make mistakes. They demonstrate the perils of getting trapped in a narrow decision frame. And they explore people’s tendency to be over-confident about how their choices will unfold. Drawing on case histories as diverse as the downfall of Kodak and the inspiring account of a cancer survivor, they offer both a fascinating tour through the workings of our minds and an invaluable guide to making smarter decisions.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverA slap in the face : why insults hurt – and why they shouldn’t / William B. Irvine.
“Insults are part of the fabric of daily life. Other people inflict them on us, sometimes blatantly but more often subtly. On some occasions, we are delighted to be on the receiving end of these insults: when the members of a group we have joined start playfully teasing us, for example, it can be a sign of acceptance into the group. On other occasions, though, an insult can cause us pain so intense that even years later, we will find ourselves experiencing insult flashbacks. We are also the source of insults. Some of them are consciously inflicted, but many more are sufficiently subtle that we will not recognize them for what they are unless we replay conversations in our head and try to fathom our motives for having said the things we said. Do this, and we might be astonished by our tendency, in casual conversation, to put people into what we regard as their proper place — namely, somewhere below us on the social hierarchy. In A Slap in the Face, William B. Irvine undertakes a wide-ranging investigation of insults, their history, the role they play in social relationships, and the science behind them. He offers advice, based primarily on the writings of the Stoic philosophers, on how best to curb our own insulting tendencies and how best to respond to the insults that are directed our way.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverBirth order : what your position in the family really tells you about your character / [Linda Blair].
“We’ve all heard the stereotypes – first borns are natural leaders, middle borns are difficult, last borns are spoiled and single children are loners. But how accurate are these snapshots? In this groundbreaking book, clinical psychologist Linda Blair examines what your birth order really tells you about your character, your relationships – even your choice of career. She also considers the factors that skew ‘typical’ birth-order characteristics, such as how you were parented and the sex and spacing of your siblings. Written in a lively, personal style, Birth Order will unlock keys to why you think, feel and behave in the ways that you do.” (Book cover)

With a little help…

From finding to keeping relationships, and what happens when things don’t go quite as you planned – all with a little help from our friends along the way…

Syndetics book coverFriendfluence : the surprising ways friends make us who we are / Carlin Flora.
“Psychology Today features editor Flora coined the term “friendfluence” to suggest that friends provide us with more than just social recreation; with successful friendship comes a range of physical, emotional, and professional benefits. Her interdisciplinary discussion draws on scientific research, philosophy, and anecdotes to examine friendship across a lifespan, from playground pals to adolescent and adult relationships. She also alights on the particular struggles some-like those diagnosed with Asperger’s-face when trying to make friends. Flora shows that friendships are often formed through unconscious strategies (such as the evolutionary impulse to cooperate), and tend to bind individuals together in ways that are in some sense more resilient than marital or familial ties. Yet friendfluence is not without its darker counterpart, and Flora does not shy away from issues like teasing, lying, and betrayal, topics that-perhaps tellingly-segue into a discussion of friendship in the age of Facebook. The book is far-reaching, and the natural consequence of such a massive scope is that some sections feel limited, and unifying themes can be hard to parse. But just as the “dance of disclosure” allows individuals to get to know one another, so too does Flora’s compelling book disclose many of friendship’s secrets.” (Publisher’s Weekly Review)

Syndetics book coverThe new rules : the dating dos and don’ts for the digital generation / Ellen Fein & Sherrie Schneider.
“The Rules taught a generation of women how to successfully play ‘hard to get’ and in the process helped millions of women get their Mr Right. Some called it controversial but it became a movement that helped improve the love lives of women across the world. But that was all before texting, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, BBM, iPhones and online dating. Now there are even more ways to unwittingly mess up your dating life. The Rules Girls are back with the dating bible for the modern age. Rules Girls are savvy women who know how to return texts and emails to a man without seeming desperate, how to maintain a cool Facebook profile without giving away too much and how to spot cheaters and players, and avoid them like the plague.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverMaking couples happy :) / John Aiken & Alison Leigh.
”Making Couples Happy, the companion to the ABC-TV series, uses science to help couples rediscover happiness in their relationships and get them on the path to enduring love. Couples and singles will identify with the raw honesty of common hurts and resentments, disillusionment and despair that plague many relationships. Equally, they will share in the breakthroughs and ultimate triumphs, and learn the four simple steps that will help them better talk, support, connect and dream together. Making Couples Happy readers who follow the easy steps and activities can expect a significant improvement in how they relate to their partners, and learn to communicate more effectively, argue less, be kinder and achieve new levels of trust and intimacy.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSex changes : a memoir of marriage, gender, and moving on / Christine Benvenuto.
“What do you do when the other woman is your husband? Christine Benvenuto and her husband had been married for more than twenty years and were raising their three young children in a beautiful New England town. One night in bed he turned to her and said, “I’m thinking constantly about my gender,” adding that he was unhappy in his body and wanted to become a woman.
Part memoir, part voyeur’s glimpse into a relationship, Sex Changes is a journey through the end of a marriage and out the other side. Christine, desperate to save her family and shelter her children, discovers a well of strength and resilience she never knew she had. She learns what to tell the neighbours when your husband starts accenting his shirts and ties with heels. She discovers how to manage as a single mother. And she opens herself up to a group of friends who travel with her through her darkest times – and who show her the love and support of true friendship. Fiercely funny, self-lacerating, and not entirely politically correct, Sex Changes is a journey of love and anguish told with hilarity, heartbreak and a lot of soul-searching. It is about the mysteries in every marriage, the secrets we choose to keep, and the freedom that the truth can bring.” (Publisher description)

Syndetics book coverTen years later : six people who faced adversity and transformed their lives / Hoda Kotb with Jane Lorenzini.
“Ten Years Later profiles six people who’ve faced a series of life’s game changers and challenges – abuse, illness, addiction, grief, job loss. These people didn’t just fight their way through adversity, they forged better lives because of the battle. Their journeys are measured in the very small steps that painstakingly result in change and the big, bold leaps of faith that launch dreams. The book is meant to inspire you, wow you, motivate you, and move you – and maybe even do all those things within the same chapter. In the pages ahead, the courageous people who share their life stories have done so in hopes of enriching yours – now or ten years later.” (Book cover)

Inspiration for sticking with those New Year goals

New Year’s resolutions to keep and habits you want to change? Have a browse of our picks from the latest new personal development books!

Syndetics book coverMadly in love with me : the daring adventure of becoming your own best friend / Christine Arylo.
“Most of us know that loving ourselves would be a good idea, but we have no clue what that really means. Self-love feels too vast, too esoteric, and frankly like something you should keep under wraps. This breakthrough book on self-love changes all that by taking you beyond the idea of loving, valuing, and caring for yourself into daring acts that will help you experience it. Christine Arylo provides practical, fun ways to explore and embody the ten branches of self-love every day and in every part of your life. Reading this book is like receiving permission to treat yourself as a best friend would.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverChangeology : 5 steps to realizing your goals and resolutions / John C. Norcross, with Kristin Loberg and Jonathon Norcross.
“Change is hard. But not if you know the 5-step formula that works whether you’re trying to stop smoking or start recycling. Dr. John C. Norcross, an internationally recognized expert, has studied how people make transformative, permanent changes in their lives. Over the past thirty years, he and his research team have helped thousands of people overcome dozens of behavioural ailments. Now his cutting-edge, scientific approach to personal improvement is being made available in this indispensable guide. Unlike 95 percent of self-help books, the Changeology plan has a documented track record of success. Whether you want to quit overeating or drinking, or end depression, debt, and relationship distress, Dr. Norcross gives you the tools you need to change what you want within 90 days.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFearless at work : timeless teachings for awakening confidence, resilience, and creativity in the face of life’s demands / Michael Carroll.
“Work is such a crucial part of our life, and yet we often struggle with-and feel overwhelmed by-the numerous challenges it presents us. Whether it’s job insecurity, making peace with or leaving an unfulfilling job, or dealing with office conflicts, we often experience fear and a sense of groundlessness just at a time when we want to be our most creative and resilient. Drawing on Buddhist philosophy, Michael Carroll, a longtime human-resources executive, meditation teacher, and executive coach, explains how the practice of mindfulness-full awareness of our moment-to-moment experience-can help us become more confident and open to possibility in our work life. He offers a system of potent, inspiring principles that we can use as a practice for helping us work with our insecurities and awakening our natural bravery, resourcefulness, and resilience.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe as if principle : the radically new approach to changing your life / Richard Wiseman.
“Change the way you behave and you change the way you feel – that’s the simple and powerful message in this insightful and engaging new book by internationally renowned psychologist Richard Wiseman. Most self-help books encourage you to think differently: to think yourself thin, imagine a richer self or to visualize the perfect you. This is difficult, time consuming, and often doesn’t work. Ripping up the rule book, Professor Richard Wiseman, renowned psychologist with 90,000 Twitter followers and 13 million YouTube viewers, presents a radical new insight into your body and brain: that it’s your actions that have the power to instantly change the way you think and feel. Smile and you’ll become measurably happier. Clench your fist and you will increase your willpower. Put a spring in your step and you will feel instantly younger. Acting, not thinking, is what controls your emotions and allows you to unleash your hidden potential. Drawing on a dazzling array of scientific evidence, Professor Wiseman shows how this simple idea can be used to easily increase motivation, overcome depression, lose weight, stop smoking, and even slow aging. So don’t just think about changing your life. Do it.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverLessons in happiness from the third world : how the West got so depressed and what to do about it / Pete Jensen.
“Everybody seems to know somebody who has been impacted by depression, anxiety or stress. Have you ever felt helpless, not known what to do next, or overwhelmed by self help programs that seem like too much hard work? International author, speaker and transformational expert Pete Jensen, shares his breakthrough book that will reconnect you with proven principles the West has either forgotten, or in our fast paced lives become too distracted to pay attention to. Packed with real, easy to apply advice, this book will change your emotional, spiritual, physical and future wealth. You’ll learn: The 3 core ingredients missing in the Western myth of happiness; How to regain happiness when tragedy strikes; The secret of how to be fully energised, all day, everyday; How to eliminate unnecessary spending on doctors and pills; 12 quick, easy tools to shift your emotions instantly; How to overcome procrastination and indifference; Happiness at work; how to make it happen” (Global Books in Print)

Doing it Differently

Delve into some thought-provoking new books for gaining fresh insights into our thinking and motivations. Whether you’d like to rip up the rule book or you’re just curious, you may want to do some things differently in your own life as a result.

Syndetics book coverThe antidote : happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking / Oliver Burkeman.
“Self-help books dont seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth, even if you can get it doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often bring as much stress as joy. We can’t even agree on what happiness means. So are we engaged in a futile pursuit? Or are we just going about it the wrong way? Looking both east and west, in bulletins from the past and from far afield, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hard-headed business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they argue that in our personal lives, and in society at large, it’s our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable. And that there is an alternative path to happiness and success that involves embracing failure, pessimism, insecurity, and uncertainty – the very things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is the intelligent persons guide to understanding the much-misunderstood idea of happiness.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverRip it up : the radically new approach to changing your life / Richard Wiseman.
“Most self-help books encourage you to think differently: to think yourself thin, imagine a richer self or to visualize the perfect you. This is difficult, time consuming and often doesn’t work. Ripping up the rule book, psychologist Richard Wiseman presents a radical new insight into your body and brain: actions are the quickest, easiest and most powerful way to instantly change how you think and feel. Drawing on a dazzling array of scientific evidence, Professor Wiseman shows how this simple idea can be used to increase motivation, overcome depression, lose weight, stop smoking and even slow ageing.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe 5 elements of effective thinking / Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird.
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking presents practical, lively, and inspiring ways for you to become more successful through better thinking. The idea is simple: You can learn how to think far better by adopting specific strategies. Brilliant people aren’t a special breed – they just use their minds differently. By using the straightforward and thought-provoking techniques in ‘The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking’, you will regularly find imaginative solutions to difficult challenges, and you will discover new ways of looking at your world and yourself – revealing previously hidden opportunities. Filled with engaging examples that unlock truths about thinking in every walk of life, ‘The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking’ is written for all who want to reach their fullest potential – including students, parents, teachers, businesspeople, professionals, athletes, artists, leaders, and lifelong learners. Whenever you are stuck, need a new idea, or want to learn and grow, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking will inspire and guide you on your way.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverHold me tight : your guide to the most successful approach to building loving relationships / Sue Johnson.
“In Hold Me Tight, Dr Sue Johnson shares her highly effective therapy programme: Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Forget learning how to argue better and making grand romantic gestures. Instead, Johnson teaches that the way to enhance – or save – a relationship is to re-establish a secure emotional attachment and preserve the ‘bond’ between you. This model has achieved an astounding 75 per cent success rate. Through illuminating case studies from her practice, advice and practical exercises, couples will learn how to nurture their relationships and ensure a lifetime of love.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe ravenous brain : how the new science of consciousness explains our insatiable search for meaning / Daniel Bor.
“Consciousness is our gateway to experience: it enables us to recognize Van Gogh’s starry skies, be enraptured by Beethoven’s Fifth, and stand in awe of a snow-capped mountain. Yet consciousness is subjective, personal, and famously difficult to examine: philosophers have for centuries declared this mental entity so mysterious as to be impenetrable to science. In The Ravenous Brain, neuroscientist Daniel Bor departs sharply from this historical view, and builds on the latest research to propose a new model for how consciousness works. Bor argues that this brain-based faculty evolved as an accelerated knowledge gathering tool. Consciousness is effectively an idea factory – that choice mental space dedicated to innovation, a key component of which is the discovery of deep structures within the contents of our awareness. This model explains our brains’ ravenous appetite for information – and in particular, its constant search for patterns. Why, for instance, after all our physical needs have been met, do we recreationally solve crossword or Sudoku puzzles? Such behaviour may appear biologically wasteful, but, according to Bor, this search for structure can yield immense evolutionary benefits – it led our ancestors to discover fire and farming, pushed modern society to forge ahead in science and technology, and guides each one of us to understand and control the world around us. But the sheer innovative power of human consciousness carries with it the heavy cost of mental fragility. Bor discusses the medical implications of his theory of consciousness, and what it means for the origins and treatment of psychiatric ailments, including attention-deficit disorder, schizophrenia, manic depression, and autism. All mental illnesses, he argues, can be reformulated as disorders of consciousness – a perspective that opens up new avenues of treatment for alleviating mental suffering. A controversial view of consciousness, The Ravenous Brain links cognition to creativity in an ingenious solution to one of science’s biggest mysteries.” (Global Books in Print)


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