Outliers: The Story of Success – A Book Review

What if I were to tell you that the most successful men and women on the planet were not so because they were the best and the brightest–that all of our favorite rags-to-riches stories were incomplete and misleading? Our author, Malcolm Gladwell, is convinced that this is true, and he makes a damn convincing case.

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The Gift of Therapy – A Book Review

Reading any Irvin D. Yalom book is therapeutic in itself. He writes boldly yet gently and fills every page with the insights of past philosophers and those of his own. Yalom founded existential psychotherapy, a stance holding that unconscious anxieties–most notably the “Four Ultimate Concerns” of death, isolation, meaninglessness, and freedom–impair our conscious thoughts and actions. This is not a standalone therapy, he claims, but a supplemental stance intending to make therapists and patients privy to existential issues. However, The Gift of Therapy‘s pages are not colored only with existential ideologies. No, this Continue reading “The Gift of Therapy – A Book Review”

The Language Instinct – A Book Review

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana” – Anthony Oettinger

The above quote is often attributed to the absurdly witty Groucho Marx, and who would second guess it? The man gave us English-exploiting jokes like, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read,” and, “I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in them, I’ll never know.” The true author of this quote, however, is Anthony Oettinger, a linguist and computer scientist who, in the 1960s, tried to make an artificial intelligence that could comprehend English sentences.

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The Murderer Next Door: Why Our Minds are Designed to Kill – A Book Review

“We foist evil onto other things, too frightened to admit it is within us.” – C.G. Jung

In this riveting summary of his scientific findings, evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss asserts, quite convincingly, that previous theories on murder “simply don’t hold up.” I’m sure you’ve heard interviews on the news discussing the motive for a murderer’s crime: some claim it’s violent video games, a disconnect with religion, insanity, poor parenting, and so on and so forth. Those who claim murder has its origins in violent television shows, movies, and video games cannot explain why Continue reading “The Murderer Next Door: Why Our Minds are Designed to Kill – A Book Review”

The Undiscovered Self – A Book Review

The theories posited in Jung’s essay are quite dangerous, dealing with the illusory nature of knowing ourselves, others, and our society. This is the case with much of philosophy–and that is precisely what this is: philosophy. Regardless of Jung’s credentials as a merited psychologist, by no means does this essay explore theories empirically or statistically.  It’s really up to the reader to decide its worth. Jung argues it ought to be that way, claiming statistics and averages only mislead (see below). Continue reading “The Undiscovered Self – A Book Review”

What Life Could Mean to You – A Book Review

Had Alfred Adler’s What Life Could Mean To You taken on the meaning of life, I would call his stance an eloquent and attractive cop-out. However, this book does not question the very fabric our being (like Edward O. Wilson’s impressive The Meaning of Human Existence). Instead, it concerns the meaning individuals assign themselves. Adler’s approach is broad and bold—perhaps at times too bold. Overall, What Life Should Mean to You is unique in its real-life applicability and its perspective on meaning but too simplistic to present convincing arguments. Continue reading “What Life Could Mean to You – A Book Review”

The Meaning of Human Existence – A Book Review

Few have the merit or authority to title a book as boldly as Edward O. Wilson’s The Meaning of Human Existence. I count this man part of that few, and his execution of answering such a question was unique and mostly effective, save for occasional tangents not wholly relevant to its title. In brief, I feel this book is immensely well-written and equally important. Continue reading “The Meaning of Human Existence – A Book Review”