Favorite Books

This used to be a category, but got converted into a post. To make things simple I will use the Amazon.com descriptions for every book, which I find quite good, to briefly describe the books. I added a few new ones, but it’s pretty similar to before. All of these are books that I would highly recommend.

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Constructive Living by David Reynolds

“Constructive Living is a Western approach to mental health education based in large part on adaptations of two Japanese psychotherapies, Morita therapy and Naikan therapy. Constructive Living (CL) presents an educational method of approaching life realistically and thoughtfully. The action aspect of CL emphasizes accepting reality (including feelings), focusing on purposes, and doing what needs doing. The reflection aspect of CL enables us to understand the present and past more clearly and to live in recognition of the support we receive from the world.”

 

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“Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.

Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.”

 

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“The Happiness Hypothesis is a book about ten Great Ideas. Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world’s civilizations–to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives and illuminate the causes of human flourishing. Award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt, the author of The Righteous Mind, shows how a deeper understanding of the world’s philosophical wisdom and its enduring maxims–like “do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” or “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”–can enrich and even transform our lives.”

 

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Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means For Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

“Controversial book about sex, monogamy etc.”

 

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The Heart of the Revolution: The Buddha’s Radical Teachings on Forgiveness, Compassion, and Kindness by Noah Levine

“Noah Levine, author of the national bestseller Dharma Punx and Against the Stream, is the leader of the youth movement for a new American Buddhism. In Heart of the Revolution, he offers a set of reflections, tools, and teachings to help readers unlock their own sense of empathy and compassion. Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within, declares Levins to be “in the fore among Young Buddhas of America, a rebel with both a good cause and the noble heart and spiritual awareness to prove it,” saying, “I highly recommend this book to those who want to join us on this joyful path of mindfulness and awakening.”

 

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“Entertaining, illuminating and—when you recognize yourself in the stories it tells—mortifying.” —Wall Street Journal

“Every page sparkles with sharp insight and keen observation. Mistakes were made—but not in this book!” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
 
“Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it?
 
When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. Backed by years of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification—how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. This updated edition features new examples and concludes with an extended discussion of how we can live with dissonance, learn from it, and perhaps, eventually, forgive ourselves.”
 
“A revelatory study of how lovers, lawyers, doctors, politicians—and all of us—pull the wool over our own eyes . . . Reading it, we recognize the behavior of our leaders, our loved ones, and—if we’re honest—ourselves, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of human nature begin to seem a little clearer.” —Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine

 

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“Know thyself,” a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? What are we trying to discover, anyway? In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as contemporary psychological science has redefined it, Timothy D. Wilson introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives that introspection may never show us.

This is not your psychoanalyst’s unconscious. The adaptive unconscious that empirical psychology has revealed, and that Wilson describes, is much more than a repository of primitive drives and conflict-ridden memories. It is a set of pervasive, sophisticated mental processes that size up our worlds, set goals, and initiate action, all while we are consciously thinking about something else.

If we don’t know ourselves–our potentials, feelings, or motives–it is most often, Wilson tells us, because we have developed a plausible story about ourselves that is out of touch with our adaptive unconscious. Citing evidence that too much introspection can actually do damage, Wilson makes the case for better ways of discovering our unconscious selves. If you want to know who you are or what you feel or what you’re like, Wilson advises, pay attention to what you actually do and what other people think about you. Showing us an unconscious more powerful than Freud’s, and even more pervasive in our daily life, Strangers to Ourselves marks a revolution in how we know ourselves.”
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“A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. hat keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identif ies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.”

 

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“In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.”

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