Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

Shaped significantly by American traditions, interactions between neighbors, marked by reciprocity, speaking out, and live and let live, reflect the democracy of everyday life.

Mid 21st Century Birthers

By 2050 more than 50% of pregnancies in the US may well start in laboratories rather than in bedrooms or the back seats of cars. A new book addresses the implications.

Why Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get You Down

Economist Heather Boushey demonstrates that paid sick days, family and medical leave, and child care can empower and support workers - and are also good for the American economy.

Recognizing A Good Psychological Evaluation

Emphasizing that psychological evaluations are not "the last word," Dr. Betsy Grigoriu demonstrates that if they are well done, they can provide guidance about treatment options.

The Journey of Grief

Although grief can be painful physically and emotionally, it can also be beneficial. As we live with loss, we can grow through grief.

A Hard Science

In On Being Human, Jerome Kagan, a pioneer in the field of developmental psychology, demonstrates that researchers err when they attribute more power to genes than to culture.

Director of Impatient Psychiatry

According to psychiatrist Abraham Nussbaum, evidence-based and standardized healthcare makes it more difficult for doctors to form therapeutic relationships with sick people.

Resetting Chronic Pain Alarms

In When Your Child Hurts, Rachael Coakley provides practical suggestions to parents about the chronic pain of children, one of our nation's most persistent and invisible problems.

Devices to Manage Our Devices

In Mindful Tech, David Levy points out that we can change our relationship to the online world by bringing greater focus, self-reflection, and conscious choice to it.

Con Artists and Their Marks

In The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova shows how con artists exploit our tendency to overestimate our intelligence and judgment, and examines the psychology of her victims.

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

In Why Torture Doesn't Work, Shane O'Mara draws on empirical research to refute popular assumptions that "breaking someone" makes it more likely that he will divulge secrets.

The Art (and Science) of “Aping”

Human beings are smart. But, according to Joseph Henrich, the impact of the innate intelligence of individuals may be over-rated. Quite often, for example, European explorers who got lost did not survive. The takeaway, Henrich suggests, in an immensely ambitious new book, is that our species' uniqueness lies less in the power of individual minds than in collective brains.

Textual Relations

In Reclaiming Conversation, Sherry Turkle reprises her concerns about the downside of technology on family life, romantic relationships, friendships, education, work, and the public square. By "reclaiming conversation," she maintains that we can restore our capacity for self-reflection, empathy and genuine intimacy. But it won't be easy.

The Good Do-Gooders Do

In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar tells the stories of a handful of altruists and reflects on the lives they have chosen to live. She examines changing attitudes toward altruism; adoption and kidney donation; Alcoholics Anonymous; a leprosy colony in Indian; and a "deaf workshop" in Japan; and the subsistence World Equity Budget that seeks equity among all people.

We Shall Overcome

Upside is designed to inspire and provide practical tools for a fuller and more fulfilled recovery to the millions of Americans who have experienced, or will experience, a traumatic event. The book lays out actions that have a solid track record of promoting positive growth, including narrative reframing, problem-focused coping, social support, and expressing gratitude.

Fear Itself

In Anxiety, Joseph LeDoux, the director of the Emotional Brain Institute at New York University, draws on the latest research in neuroscience to argue that anxiety and fear are best understood not as biologically wired phenomena emerging in a pre-packaged way from brain circuits, but as experiences that have intruded into and become factors in conscious awareness.

The Mysteries of Madness

In Madness and Civilization, Andrew Scull reviews how the struggle between those who understand madness as a supernatural phenomenon, those who viewed it as a problem originating in the biochemistry of the body and the brain, and those who advanced social and psychological explanations of the afflictions has persisted over two millennia in countries throughout the world.

Split Decisions

In When Parents Part, psychologist Penelope Leach provides sound practical advice to parents about managing changes that she claims may be good for one or both of them, but "will certainly be bad for their children." In making her case, Leach may not adequately assess differences due to social class, pre-separation experiences and the resilience of children.

Analyzing Analysts

In Shrinks, Jeffrey Lieberman reviews psychiatry's "tumultuous history," and its current emphasis on the medical treatment of mental illnesses. He maintains that psychiatry fares best when it avoids the extremes of reductionist neurobiology and the psychodynamic element in existential disease. That said, Shrinks does not address important questions about talk therapy.

Why?

In Curiosity, Manguel draws on scores of writers and texts, especially Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, to find fresh ways to ask fundamental questions: Who am I? Why do things happen? What comes next? Elegant and erudite, his book is a celebration of critical reading, a challenging, enjoyable and essential craft that is in danger these days of becoming a lost art.

Are Kids Curious?

In The Hungry Mind, Engel draws on the latest social science research to understand why curiosity is nearly universal in babies, and less evident in school. Although most children learn more when their curiosity is piqued, “schools do not always, or even often, foster curiosity.” But in an era that prizes quantifiable results, curiosity is not likely to be a priority.

The Truth About Lies

In The Devil Wins, Dallas Denery provides an informative and thought-provoking account of the efforts of theologians and philosophers from the early Christian era to the Enlightenment to define lies and understand their ethical, social, and political implications. In the "fallen world" of early modern Europe, he argues, lying became natural and naturally useful qualities.

A Defense of Jealousy

In Jealousy, Peter Toohey provides a charming and instructive survey of a much maligned emotion. He examines jealousy in many of its guises, including sexual jealousy, the Oedipus Complex, and sibling rivalry. Aware that it can be an ugly emotion, he argues that jealousy is an evolutionary adaptation that "can be a beautiful thing."

Faster, Faster

In Speed Limits, Mark Taylor, a professor at Columbia University, examines "the long arc of history" that has resulted in the insinuation of a "gospel of speed" into modern culture. And he sounds the alarm about the consequences of this phenomenon. Although by no means the first jeremiad on this subject, the book provides an informative account of speed's social impact.

Fear Itself

Drawing on research in evolutionary biology and an informed interpretation of American history and literature, Chris Walsh analyzes the relationship between courage and cowardice, the distinction between physical and moral cowardice, and argues that the idea of cowardice has faded in significance recently, and reappeared with somewhat different connotations.

Shrink Rap

Concerned about "the dark side" of current psychiatric practices, Glover adopts an approach to personality disorders at the intersection between "the mind-body problem and the problem of free will" that includes the subjective values of autonomy, responsibility, and identity that constitute a good life.

Memories May Be Beautiful and Yet…

Set between the 1950s and the present, this ambitious and beautifully written novel traces the mysteries of mind and memory through a multi-generational account of the Tumulty/Leary families. Thomas touches on working-class Irish-American culture, middle-class aspiration, achievement and anxiety, suburbanization, and the devastation visited on family members by Alzheimer's

Platform Heals?

Piskorski argues that social media sites help individuals identify other people with similar interests — or deepen existing relationships — in ways they would otherwise find difficult. And he provides detailed explanations for the success of some social media strategies, including combining "meet" and "friend" solutions to create spaces for professional networking.

Weights and Measures

In Childhood Obesity, Laura Dawes provides a fascinating survey of popular perceptions and changing attitudes toward the diagnosis and treatment of childhood obesity, including gland therapy, psychoanalysis, behavior modification, amphetamines, fat camps, diet and exercise. Dawes assesses options for addressing an epidemic that is entangled with the structure of society.

Re-Righting Freud’s Biography

In Becoming Freud, Adam Phillips uses the story of Freud's early years to make a compelling case that psychoanalysis is actually a distinctive form of biography in which a useful, personal, and private truth may be discerned through a discovery in which patients speak about and for themselves, answer back, and recover and revise foundational life experiences.

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