Category: Recent picks

February Self help – Overcoming obstacles to achieve success

Success is a very subjective concept and can take many forms. What is success for one person might not be for the next. Is financial wealth a real success if your heart is not content? Can you reach fulfillment without money? What are your goals in life? Professional success, academic or sporting achievement, a happy romantic relationship, having a lot of friends or having only a few very close ones, fighting for a worthy cause? Does change make you anxious or do your thrive for novelty and adventures? Everyone will have a different answer to these questions. Whatever your life’s quest, this month’s selection should give you some useful insight on the way to a content life.

Syndetics book coverThe millionaire mystique : how working women become wealthy– and how you can, too!
“Business psychologist Jude Miller Burke looks at today’s self-made female millionaires and how they successfully manage career and family life. What can struggling women learn from them? Miller Burke backs up her findings using results from a ground breaking study of millionaire women. In this book will you’ll learn: the surprising number of millionaire women who were successful in their careers in spite of difficult, even abusive childhoods; why starting “at the bottom” isn’t a disadvantage and how you can build on your childhood and early career circumstances, whatever they are; what personality factors wealthy working women have in common and how to foster them for yourself; how to develop the two most critical traits for overcoming obstacles to success. Jude Miller Burke is a business psychologist, executive coach, and a millionaire.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverRewire your anxious brain : how to use the neuroscience of fear to end anxiety, panic, & worry
“Do you ever wonder what is happening inside your brain when you feel anxious, panicked, and worried? In Rewire Your Anxious Brain, psychologist Catherine Pittman and author Elizabeth Karle offer a unique, evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety based in cutting-edge neuroscience and research. In the book, you will learn how the amygdala and cortex (both important parts of the brain) are essential players in the neuropsychology of anxiety. The amygdala acts as a primal response, and oftentimes, when this part of the brain processes fear, you may not even understand why you are afraid. By comparison, the cortex is the centre of “worry.” The author offers specific examples of how to manage fear by tapping into both of these pathways in the brain. As you read, you’ll gain a greater understanding how anxiety is created in the brain, and as a result, you will feel empowered and motivated to overcome it.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverManaging for change : how to make your future brighter, today
“The world around us is constantly changing – and at a faster and faster rate. These changes have an impact on our lives at many different levels. It’s possible that the things we are doing now will not work in the future. So how do we alter our current trajectory? And to where should we set our new course? And if change is inevitable, why not plan for it? And why not go one step further – and actually manage for it? Letting change happen to us is no guarantee of a happy and successful life. Reaching that goal for now and tomorrow means constantly assessing the future and developing skills in predicting and managing the forces of change. Managing for Change is your guide to doing just that.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHow the body knows its mind : the surprising power of the physical environment to influence how you think and feel 
“Though the brain is the organ most commonly associated with thinking, psychologist Beilock (Choke) makes a fairly fresh case about the rest of the body’s contribution to the process. The book begins with the premise that the body’s interaction with its physical surroundings affects cognition, and Beilock goes on to show how the body can be used to manipulate everyday perceptions. She builds her argument with a variety of anecdotes and cultural references. Often these examples flip conventional wisdom to highlight the influence of our body on thought. For example, she connects the correlation between musical ability and IQ to finger dexterity. Beilock offers an unconventional perspective that will stimulate the mind.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverYou can be happy : 101 ways to smile
Imagine you have been told that this is the last day of your life and you have twelve hours to live .. ..are you really going to worry about the report you haven’t finished for work, the negative comment you received from a friend a year ago or how you will manage Christmas at your place this year? Probably not! This book will help you to place all life issues into perspective, recognise your strengths, become more assertive and in doing so increase significantly your happiness level for the rest of your life. This book provides useful strategies for you to focus on breaking through the roadblocks to smile and step back onto the happiness path. Smiling is contagious. People around you will be smiling too.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverImproving your memory : how to remember what you’re starting to forget
This book provides readers with tools for understanding and improving memory, including sixteen helpful exercises. Simple techniques like writing information down, creating a catch word or phrase, altering something in your environment, and reviewing details in advance can put you actively in charge of retrieving information more easily. As in previous editions, Improving Your Memory reinforces memory techniques through real-life examples. This accessible handbook also discusses how memory works; how it changes with age, stress, illness, and depression; and why people remember what they do. Many readers will see immediate improvement in their memory after reading the book.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe energies of love : using energy medicine to keep your relationship thriving
“A relationship begins with the meeting of two unique energies. This union of energies determines the way you communicate, fight, love, and want to be loved. Donna Eden and David Feinstein draw on the real-life experiences of couples who have attended their popular ‘Energies of Love’ workshops, as well as their own experience as husband and wife, to show how an understanding of your energy system and that of your partner can help you build a more harmonious and loving bond. We all have different ways of making sense of the world around us, but when faced with conflict, especially with those we care most about, we tend to revert to one of four ‘Energetic Stress Styles’. The Energies of Love is filled with tools to help you diffuse arguments and energy exercises to increase your overall sense of joy and wellbeing.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMindfulness : 25 ways to live in the moment through art
“In this internationally best-selling book, French psychiatrist Andre guides the reader through the practice of mindfulness to art itself. Using color photographs of classic and modern works, the author shows readers how to quiet the outer world and intensify their presence in the moment, neither trying to escape it or change it. Andre responds to each art piece in terms of feelings and sensory perceptions, helping readers to visualize themselves inside the canvas, smelling, hearing, and really seeing the scene. A fascinating book!” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverImagine this : creating the work you love 
“Life coach and poet Clair (Rattlebone) advocates the New Age mission of self-realization with this succinct, easy-to-follow workbook. A survivor of domestic abuse, Clair earned two advanced degrees; after a long career as a medical technologist, she became an English professor at George Washington University and an award-winning writer. Setting the example for how self-realization improved her life, she outlines the journey to empowerment that worked for her in nine steps: for example, the first step toward “pursuing a greater sense of wakefulness” is simply to keep a journal. For those who may be floundering, she advises looking for inspiration in “places that hold your idea of beauty” or simply chilling by watching “wall paper dry”.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverIt’s not about the shark : how to solve unsolvable problems / David Niven, PhD.
“”We limit what we think is possible based on the boundaries the problems set for us,” Niven asserts. “We stare at our problems and cannot see anything else.” Niven uses Steven Spielberg as an example, explaining how the malfunctioning mechanical shark built for Jaws forced the director to suggest, rather than show, his story’s antagonist for most of the movie. According to the book, focusing on a problem can make it harder to find an answer; conversely, looking away from a problem often makes it easier to find a solution. While it’s natural to be scared of failing, particularly when trying new things, Niven advises readers to “fail with joy,” and relish the freedom to explore new alternatives that present themselves with failure. This fresh, enthusiastic approach to problem-solving will encourage readers to open themselves up to opportunity and make for a valuable addition to anyone’s self-help shelf.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe motivation manifesto : 9 declarations to claim your personal power
“Burchard reveals that the main motive of humankind is the pursuit of greater Personal Freedom. We desire the grand liberties of choice–time freedom, emotional freedom, social freedom, financial freedom, spiritual freedom. Only two enemies stand in our way: an external enemy, defined as the social oppression of who we are by the mediocre masses, and an internal enemy, a sort of self-oppression caused by our own doubt and fear. The march to Personal Freedom, Burchard argues, can be won only by declaring our intent and independence, stepping into our personal power, and battling through self-doubt and the distractions of the day until full victory is won.” (Syndetics)

 

January Self-Help – A life worth living

A New Year selection to inspire you to make the most of life by guiding you to a truer, better self and helping you pinpoint what really matters to you, prioritise and learn to say NO. Wisdom in several cases comes from people approaching death and reflecting back on their own lives.

Syndetics book coverYour year for change : 52 reflections for regret-free living
“Having spent several years listening to, and then writing about the regrets of dying people, Bronnie Ware understands the importance of acknowledging death and finding the courage to live a happy and authentic life in the meantime. In this tender yet influential collection, Bronnie Ware shares 52 inspiring stories, woven among observations from her daily life, strengthening you with the values needed for regret-free living. Bronnie’s ability to open your eyes to new perspectives will also open your heart to new strengths and dreams. “Your Year for Change” is a gentle and powerful book that will leave you determined to embrace your life, forgive your past, honor your heart, and create a regret-free future of happiness and wonder.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverDesign your life
“Design plays an essential role in our daily lives. You don’t have to be a designer to design your life. But it doesn’t hurt to have some professional help. It took designer Vince Frost more than 25 years as a professional to appreciate the power of the design process as a means for improving his life. ‘If my design process brings value to me, perhaps it can bring value to others. Or, more radically, bring others to recognise their own value.’ This book will not solve your problems but it will inspire you to work better at living better.” (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. Drawing on ancient Buddhist teachings and contemporary science, he also takes us beyond ‘mindfulness lite,’ offering lucid instructions on how to experience the pristine nature of one’s own consciousness directly. It will make chocolate taste better too!” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPlaying big : find your voice, your vision and make things happen
“The groundbreaking book that gives every woman the practical skills they need to begin playing big. Five years ago, Tara Mohr began to see a pattern in her work as an expert in leadership: women with tremendous talent, ideas and ambition were not recognising their own brilliance. They felt that they were “playing small” in their lives and careers and wanted to “play bigger” but didn’t know how. And so, Tara devised a step-by-step programme for playing big from inside out: this book is the result. It provides real, practical tools to help women trust their instincts; identify and pursue their callings; become their own mentor; and take bold actions to make their ideas a reality.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverOvercoming anxiety for dummies
“This book explains the difference between normal everyday anxiety and anxiety that requires attention and treatment. It also includes updated information on treatment and getting help, including organisations in Australia and New Zealand that assist people with anxiety. Packed with practical strategies for feeling better, this handy guide is perfect for anyone who wants to treat their minor anxiety on their own or find out whether they need professional assistance.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMindfulness @ work : reduce stress, live in the moment, and be happier and more productive at work
“Work-related stress is an all-too-common part of modern life. The rise of digital media means that many people never really switch off from work and the culture of presenteeism causes us to spend more time at work than never before. Many workers spend a lot of time either ruminating on previous problems or worrying about work-related issues. By applying the principles of mindfulness to our working lives, we can become aware of our habitual negative thoughts and behaviours and learn to recognise and manage the warning signs of stress.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverNegotiating success : tips and tools for building rapport and dissolving conflict while still getting what you want
“How to execute win-win negotiations every time, in business and in life Negotiating Success provides expert guidance on how to improve strategies and outcomes in negotiating anything in professional and personal life. With a constant focus on the mind, body, and spirit of the professional negotiator, this easy-to-read text brings a holistic approach to the skills needed for ethical negotiations. The result is a better understanding of how to negotiate successfully for mutual benefit by all parties. Offers tips and tools, such as how to use positive psychology to unite your team, emotional intelligence for successful negotiation, and how to minimize conflict.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe mind makeover : the answers to becoming the best you yet
“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? If you’ve ever doubted yourself, allowed other people’s negativity to stop you from doing what you want, or assumed that any success you’ve had in the past was just a case of ‘pure luck’, then you need The Mind Makeover. For many years Sharron Lowe has been the go-to coach for global luxury brands. She has coached thousands of people, helping them to make positive changes in how they think, feel and what they believe is possible.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe four things that matter most : a book about living
“The very same words that allow a life to end peacefully can help readers lead tranquil, meaningful lives. In his work palliative care physician Ira Byock has witnessed the incredible power of four simple sentences: “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you.” With considerable empathy and wisdom, he introduces and draws conclusions from his patients’ stories. In doing so, Byock also potently demonstrates how readers can use the four sentences to help fill their “instinctive impulse to give and receive love” and heal rifts.”  (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe power of no : because one little word can bring health, abundance, and happiness
“James and Claudia Altucher have answered tens of thousands of questions in their writings, retreats, talks, and online seminars. The questions cover the entire spectrum of life. Invariably, they look to one little word as the solution: No. No is not only a solution; it is a path for people to heal and bring abundance and happiness into their lives. Every time you say yes to something you don’t want to do you can experience a spate of negative outcomes: resenting people, doing poor quality work, having less energy for the things you actually love, making less money, and so on. With the power of no we can refocus our energies toward living an abundant, healthy, and wealthy life.” (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. 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. 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 coverHow Adam Smith can change your life : an unexpected guide to human nature and happiness
“How the insights of an 18th century economist can help us live better in the 21st century Adam Smith became famous for The Wealth of Nations, but the Scottish economist also cared deeply about our moral choices and behavior–the subjects of his other brilliant book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Now, economist Russ Roberts shows why Smith’s neglected work might be the greatest self-help book you’ve never read. Roberts offers an accessible and thought-provoking view of human behavior through the lenses of behavioral economics and philosophy.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe art of belonging
“The Art of Belonging advances the argument put forward in Mackay’s bestselling The Good Life: a ‘good life’ is not lived in isolation or in the pursuit of independent goals; a good life is lived at the heart of a thriving community, among people we trust, and within an environment of mutual respect. The Art of Belonging is the book that will reignite the conversation about how we want to live; it will provide the framework for those who argue for a particular vision of community, one that sustains, protects and nurtures the many, and not just the few.” (Syndetics)

November self-help books

This month’s books seem to agree on one thing – it is all in our mind! But there are many ways of interpreting and understanding what we are thinking, how we are feeling and why (sometimes looking at our genetic make-up for clues on our modern psyche), how we decide what to focus on, whether positive psychology is what we need or if it is OK to dwell on negative thoughts.

Syndetics book coverThink like a freak : how to think smarter about almost everything 
“The Freakonomics books have come to stand for something: challenging conventional wisdom; using data rather than emotion to answer questions; and learning to unravel the world’s secret codes. Now Levitt and Dubner have gathered up what they have learned and turned it into a readable and practical toolkit for thinking differently – thinking, that is, like a Freak. Whether you are interested in the best way to improve your odds in penalty kicks, or in major global reforms, here is a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems. ” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverNothing changes until you do : a guide to self-compassion and getting out of your own way
“After three years of living his dream as a professional baseball pitcher, Mike Robbins had an arm injury that benched him for good, and when this happened, he had to figure out who he was without the identity of “baseball player”. He quickly realized that the self-criticism and self-doubt he was feeling are epidemic in our culture. In these 40 inspiring stories, Mike shows you how to get out of your own way and make peace with yourself. With humour, authenticity and ease, you’ll learn to have more compassion, more acceptance and more love for yourself – thus giving you access to more for the people (and everything else) in your life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSnakes, sunrises, and Shakespeare : how evolution shapes our loves and fears
“Our breath catches and we jump in fear at the sight of a snake. We pause and marvel at the sublime beauty of a sunrise. These reactions are no accident; in fact, many of our human responses to nature are steeped in our deep evolutionary past — we fear snakes because of the danger of venom or constriction, and we welcome the assurances of the sunrise as the predatory dangers of the dark night disappear. Many of our aesthetic preferences are the lingering result of natural selection. By applying biological perspectives ranging from Darwin to current neuroscience, Snakes, Sunrises, and Shakespeare transforms how we view our experience of the natural world and how we relate to each other.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe complete A to Z dictionary of dreams : be your own dream expert
“Why do you dream about missing a train or teeth falling out? How did you wake up thinking of a tiger at your door? When you dream you unconciously reveal who you are, what you need and what you truly believe. In this book, bestselling dream psychologist Ian Wallace explains the true meaning of over 12,000 dream symbols – newly defined for the 21st century – and teaches you how to become your own dream expert. A dream is just a dream until you put it into action. Understand yours and change the reality of your waking life.” (Book cover)

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.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverWhen happiness is not enough : balancing pleasure and achievement in your life
“Everybody wants to be happy. But do we really know what happiness is and how it contributes to fulfilling life? In considering these questions, psychologist Chris Skellett proposes that “In order to live a truly fulfilling life, we need to strike a balance between Pleasure and Achievement”. This simple truth, known as the the Pleasure/Achievement Principle, lies at the heart of this entertaining, yet thought-provoking book.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverConstructive wallowing : how to beat bad feelings by letting yourself have them
“If you’ve ever ignored difficult feelings, Gilbertson has written a counterintuitive self-help book that offers constructive advice for boosting self-compassion. 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. Although it’s a simple premise, it’s certainly not easy to change ingrained habits. Luckily, Gilbertson has foreseen this and included many summaries, examples, and exercises throughout to help the reader cope with anticipated struggles. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBe brilliant every day : use the power of positive psychology to make an impact on life
“The authors of the bestselling The Art of Being Brilliant are here to show us how to get motivated, get positive and get happy, and, most importantly, how to be all three consistently. Every single day. Using a solid understanding of positive psychology, but with clear visual illustrations, simple explanations and a bit of funny stuff, Be Brilliant Everyday shows us how to foster some serious positivity and mental agility and transform our lives. The book is crammed with practical tips to help us ditch those down days and flourish every single day.” (Syndetics)

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)

How to guides to life

Because we can all do with a little bit of help and encouragement, here is a selection of books that will guide you through life’s meandering journey.

Syndetics book coverCould I do that? 
Yes you can!
Hands up who feels like a completely inadequate underachiever whenever you hear about someone’s great achievement. When someone in the office is off cycling around the world, or someone on TV has just launched a great new business which will save the planet? Most of us envy the drive and determination of these people. They’ve actually made this stuff happen rather than just day-dreamed about it. We all ask… Could I Do That?
Well Simon Hartley is here to show us that we can! Taking on a challenge – big or small – in your career or personal life, can be intimidating but also totally transformational. Simon will show us how to work out what it is we want to do and then how to make that happen. He uses examples and advice from others who have achieved big things.
The book examines how you should go about preparing for change, which problems you’ll face along the way, and demonstrates why and how your life will be better as a consequence.
Practical and motivational, it’s about embracing change and defeating limiting beliefs
It challenges readers to think big and take steps to achieving their goals
It puts power in the hands of people who don’t yet realise that they can do extraordinary things too.” (From amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverRisk savvy : how to make good decisions / Gerd Gigerenzer.
Posits that “most of us, including doctors, lawyers, financial advisers, and elected officials, misunderstand statistics much more often than we think, leaving us not only misinformed, but vulnerable to exploitation. Yet there is hope. Anyone can learn to make better decisions for their health, finances, family, and business without needing to consult an expert or a super computer, and Gigerenzer shows us how”. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe life plan : 700 simple ways to change your life for the better / Robert Ashton.
“Do you ever feel you’re just floating through life with a lack of direction? Or get that nagging feeling that things could be better? People’s lives can be thought of as stories -filled with challenges, turbulence and adventure – and, like all great classic stories, they follow a pattern. By understanding this pattern, you can develop the perspective you need to write your own story and live an extraordinary life. Your Life Plan brings together practical tools and approaches to help you master the art of personal change, by developing a plan to identify and realize your life goals.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverThe ecstasy of surrender : 12 surprising ways letting go can empower your life / Dr Judith Orloff.
“In this hope-filled offering, Orloff (Emotional Freedom) posits that the only way to live a powerful, successful life is to surrender to it. Blending neuroscience, energy medicine, psychiatry, and the art of intuition, Orloff, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, addresses major life issues by breaking them into 12 different “surrenders,” including “redefining true success, power, and happiness”; the “four vital insights into power and letting go”; “cultivating impeccable communication”; and “exploring the divinity of your body and sexuality.” With a compassionate and empowering tone, she counsels others not to micromanage life details, but to be in “flow” with them and to look for the lessons in all situations as well as to refuse to live a life governed by fear. Self-assessment quizzes allow readers to measure their level of involvement in self-defeating behaviors; helpful and non-judgmental suggestions provide strategies for overcoming these negative mind-sets. Orloff demonstrates her own adherence to these principles by unflinchingly sharing her own experiences in the spirit of teaching others.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLiving with intensity : understanding the sensitivity, excitability, and emotional development of gifted children, adolescents, and adults “Gifted children and adults are often misunderstood. Their excitement is viewed as excessive, their high energy as hyperactivity, their persistence as nagging, their imagination as not paying attention, their passion as being disruptive, their strong emotions and sensitivity as immaturity, their creativity and self-directedness as oppositional.
This resource describes these overexcitabilities and strategies for dealing with children and adults who are experiencing them, and provides essential information about Dabrowski s Theory of Positive Disintegration. Learn practical methods for nurturing sensitivity, intensity, perfectionism, and much more.” (From amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe good psychopath’s guide to success / Kevin Dutton & Andy McNab ; cartoons by Rob Murray.
“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 former 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, conscience and empathy to get the very best out of himself — and others — in a wide range of situations.
Using the unique combination of Andy McNab’s wild and various experiences and Professor Kevin Dutton’s expertise in analysing them, together they have explored the ways in which a good psychopath thinks differently and what that could mean for you. What do you really want from life, and how can you develop and use qualities such as charm, coolness under pressure, self-confidence and courage to get it? The Good Psychopath Guide to Success gives you an entertaining and thought-provoking road-map to self-fulfillment both in your personal life and your career.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverLaugh your way to happiness : use the science of laughter for total well-being / Leslie Lyle.
“Lyle, neuro-linguistic programming practitioner and founder of Laughter Business, introduces readers to Laughter Yoga, the practice of “laughing for no reason” popularized by Dr. Madan Kataria, and its physical and psychological benefits. She details her trip to study with Kataria at the School of Ancient Wisdom in India, his methods, and her struggle with doubt and self-criticism that was resolved in a powerful “moment of simple joy.” Lyle started a “laughter club” at a pub where members experience joy through laughter and group activities. Scientifically, Lyle discusses laughter as a natural stress reliever and empathic response that strengthens the immune system and increases blood flow and pain tolerance. She shares examples of therapeutic exercises, some Dr. Kataria’s and some her own, including speaking gibberish, “milkshake laughter,” and bringing levity to otherwise dull tasks. Lyle also recommends practicing a state of childlike exuberance that she calls “Elliotology,” named after a friend’s two-year-old son. Additionally, her guide to self-hypnosis purports to manage the symptoms of psychosomatic illnesses. This is a good introductory text to Laughter Yoga, and Lyle’s narrative adds a personal touch; however, much of this information is available on her own website for free.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverNice girls don’t get the corner office : unconscious mistakes women make that sabotage their careers / Lois P. Frankel, PhD.
“The New York Times bestseller, which has become a must-have for women in business, is now revised and updated in celebration of its 10th anniversary. Internationally recognized executive coach Dr. Lois P. Frankel teacher women how to eliminate unconscious mistakes that could be holding them back, and gives invaluable coaching tips that can easily be incorporated into social and business skills. The results are career opportunities women never thought possible and the power and know-how to occupy the corner office! Stop making “nice girl” mistakes such as: -Mistake #13: Avoiding office politics -Mistake #21: Multi-tasking -Mistake #54: Failure to negotiate -Mistake #82: Asking permission -Mistake #100: Smiling inappropriately. These and other behaviors are why Nice girls don’t get the corner office.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverIt ain’t over … till it’s over : reinventing your life- and realizing your dreams- anytime, at any age / Marlo Thomas.
“Introduces readers to sixty amazing women who are proving that it’s never too late to live out a dream — to launch a business, travel the world, get a PhD, indulge a creative impulse, make a family recipe famous, escape danger, find love, or fill a void in life with a challenging new experience.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe pocket book of positives : a reassuring companion for life’s journey.“Life’s journey can sometimes seem like a succession of trip hazards, with fate deliberately placing obstacles in your path. At times like these, devling into The Pocket Book of Positivies will provide the tonic you need, helping you to put life in perspective and find the strength to look the world squarely in the eye. Picking you up and dusting you down will be – among others – Maya Angelou, Bertold Brecht, Marie Curie, Samuel Johnson, Carl Jung, Franz Kafka, Abraham Lincoln ans Socrates.” (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)


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