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New Books: Rethinking Positive Thinking, Home in Harmony, and More

Life is full—return to the essence with these picks from S&H for Nov/Dec 2014. Click on the book title for the full review.

Medicine and What Matters in the End
By Atul Gawande
Metropolitan Books

With Medicare and modern medicine, we’re worlds away from the poorhouses of 19 th century novels, where the infirmities of old age left thousands to die in horrific circumstances. But as author Atul Gawande, a Harvard-trained surgeon and a staff writer for The New Yorker, shows in his new book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, the modern response to debility and dying is often only marginally more humane and dignified.

Rethinking Positive Thinking 
Inside the New Science of Motivation 
By Gabriele Oettingen

In her new book, Rethinking Positive Thinking, Gabriele Oettingen lays out the results of more than 20 years of research on human behavior, and reveals how the cultural mandate to “think positively” actually hinders our ability to turn goals into reality. 

Home in Harmony
Designing an Inspired Life
By Christa O’Leary
Hay House, Inc.

Habits determine a large chunk of our everyday activity. And becoming conscious of our habits, both the good and the bad, is the first step toward living a more balanced, holistic life, suggests Christa O’Leary

Freud and Yoga 
Two Philosophies of Mind Compared
By T.K.V. Desikachar and Hellfried Krusche
North Point Press

How can consciousness perceive itself? Which mind is looking at which?  “The mind is a cruel master, but a faithful servant,” Indian yoga teacher T.K.V. Desikachar reminds us in this stimulating discussion with German psychotherapist  Hellfried Krusche.

Rewilding Our Hearts
Building Pathways of Compassion  and Coexistence
By Marc Bekoff
New World Library

The book might be about “Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence,” i.e., how to live peaceably with the natural world—but it reads like a litany of complaints about how badly humans treat other species—a scatter shot of doom that makes young people cry.

Alma Tassi has written for several magazines and edited books on spirituality, personal growth, and women's issues.

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