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review 2016-12-06 00:00
The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation
The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation - Drew Westen The book lays out the universal way we see and develop our beliefs concerning the world in the realm of politics. The first third of the book was masterful when the author stuck to the science (mostly neurosciences) that sway us in the realm of politics. He makes his points and does a good job at bringing home the importance of neurosciences in the realm of marketing and politics. We often are not aware of the networks that are activated or are unaware of our emotional states that we use unconsciously in our decision making processes. The author frames his story ('framing' is a concept he relies on in his story telling) around Darwin, Skinner and Freud. We are born as humans in a certain way (Darwin), our environment shapes our behavior (Skinner), and there is an unconscious component to being human (Freud). Feelings are how we process most of our information (unfortunately for me, I am a mathematician and I process most of my world differently).

The author should have stopped the book after the first third. He would have had a brilliant book. He teaches the reader of the value of narratives and of the networks (or using William Van Orman Quine's word 'web' when he's identifying one of his 'values' of science) we use in understanding what we believe is reality.

I have the advantage of hindsight. He's writing around 2007 and a lot of things have happened that really color my attitude against the author's approach. For example, his compromised approach on Gay Marriage being re-branded as 'civil unions' is not what happened (thankfully). That would have been the wrong approach. As Hegel said regarding philosophy, "any shoe clerk thinks he understands philosophy", and just as readily I can say 'everybody thinks they are an expert at politics'.

The election of a president who makes absurd statements such as "Climate change is a Chinese Hoax", or "we should not only kill the terrorist but the terrorist's family", or "waterboarding is not torture and we should do even more" shows that even someone who makes psychotic sounding statements (each one of those three statements strike me as coming from a psychotic with either no empathy or a pathological understanding of reality) can sway Americans who want to be swayed.

It sucks being a Democrat and I'm holding out for Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown in 2020 who don't need to read a book like this one because they already know how to speak from the heart and should be able to beat a person who speaks like a psychotic.
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review 2016-11-10 21:41
The Book of Human Emotions
The Book of Human Emotion - Tiffany Watt-Smith

I meant to dip into this book once in awhile as it's truly just an alphabetical listing of emotions that the author chose to write small essays on (sometimes only a line or paragraph, sometimes several pages). She disavows any idea that this is at all a comprehensive list, but she does cover most of the emotions that are part of our day-to-day lives - as well as a few entirely new (to me) ones.

 

The thing is, as I started reading, I found myself continuing on, reading it as though it were a narrative and about half-way through I began to think this would make an excellent self-help book in an odd and quirky way. Many of her essays get to the heart of the emotion and leaves the reader with a lot to consider; some of her entries consider the emotion's original meaning and context and often I found this enough to put things into perspective regarding the fun fair that is the inside of my own head sometimes.

 

Whether it's read cover to cover or dipped into on occasion, this is a genuinely lovely book and well worth reading for anyone curious about philosophy or psychology.

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review 2016-11-01 09:51
Rezension | Morgen kommt ein neuer Himmel von Lori Nelson Spielman
Morgen kommt ein neuer Himmel (Klappenbroschur) - Lori Nelson Spielman,Andrea Fischer Beschreibung Brett ist 34 Jahre alt, hat einen Freund, eine schicke Wohnung und arbeitet im Betrieb ihrer Mutter Elizabeth. Doch als Elizabeth stirbt ändert sich alles – Bretts Leben wird komplett auf den Kopf gestellt! Eigentlich hat Brett fest damit gerechnet in die Fußstapfen ihrer Mutter zu treten und die Leitung des Betriebs zu übernehmen. Bei der Testamentseröffnung kommt es jedoch ganz anders als erwartet, Brett bekommt von ihrer Mutter die Aufgabe, eine Liste mit Lebenszielen zu erfüllen, die Brett mit 14 Jahren verfasst hat. Jedoch ist Brett nicht mehr das Mädchen von damals. Die meisten Ziele hat sie bereits längst abgelegt, oder passen einfach nicht in ihr derzeitiges Leben. Um ihr Erbe zu erhalten, muss Brett allerdings diese Lebensziele innerhalb eines Jahres erreichen. Unterstützung bekommt sie vor allem durch Briefe ihrer Mutter, und deren Anwalt, der schnell zu einem engen Freund und Verbündeten wird. Meine Meinung Schon vor langer Zeit, hat mich vor allem das wunderhübsche Cover von „Morgen kommt ein neuer Himmel“ zum Kauf verleitet, endlich habe ich es aus dem Regal befreit und gelesen! (Eine Schande, dass es so lange darauf warten musste…) Lori Nelson Spielman erzählt in ihrem Debütroman eine herrlich emotionale Geschichte über Träume, Lebensziele und Schicksal. Schon nach wenigen Seiten bin ich vollkommen in Bretts Welt eingetaucht, und die Tränen beginnen zu fließen. Eine Geschichte wie sie das Leben schreibt nimmt ihren Lauf, und als Leser begleitet man Brett hautnah bei Schritt und Tritt. Nach der Trauer über den Tod ihrer Mutter Elizabeth kommt zuerst die Ernüchterung, da Bretts Brüder ein großzügiges Erbe erhalten und Brett lediglich eine alte Liste mit Lebenszielen, die sie erfüllen muss um auch ihr Erbe in Empfang nehmen zu können. Zuerst wollen die Ziele von Bretts damaligen Ich nicht mehr in ihr Leben passen, und bringen jede Menge Unglück und einen großen Umbruch mit sich. Doch nach jedem Schritt in die „neue“ Zukunft eröffnet sich Brett immer mehr, dass ihre Mutter nur das Beste für sie wollte, und sie besser kannte als sie dachte. „Morgen kommt ein neuer“ Himmel ist zwar äußert emotional, doch ohne dabei kitschig oder besonders schnulzig zu werden. Und ja es gibt in dem Buch auch eine Liebesgeschichte – diese ist einfach nur wunderschön, ziemlich schicksalshaft, und nimmt keinen zu großen Raum ein. Einfach ein perfektes Buch zum mitfühlen und mitfiebern. Ich vergebe daher 5 von 5 Geinsekatzen und freue mich schon sehr auf die anderen Romane der Autorin! Über die Autorin Lori Nelson Spielman wurde 1961 geboren, absolvierte Ihren Masterabschluss und arbeitete zunächst als Logopädin und Vertrauenslehrerin. Heute arbeitet Lori Nelson Spielman als Hauslehrerin und feierte ihren Durchbruch als Romanautorin mit „Morgen kommt ein neuer Himmel“. Fazit Ein mitreisender und äußerst gefühlvoller Roman über Trauer, Träume und Lebensmut!
Source: www.bellaswonderworld.de/rezensionen/rezension-morgen-kommt-ein-neuer-himmel-von-lori-nelson-spielman
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review 2016-10-30 23:11
The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree is a favorite among many. I really love the story that it tells and the overall message it leaves to it's readers: be content with what you have. There is always going to be something better, but it is important to be content in where you are and what you have in life. This is a good story to read to second graders. After a read aloud, students could write letters to the tree sharing their feelings.

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review 2016-08-06 00:00
Nail Your Story: Add Tension, Build Emotion, and Keep Your Readers Addicted (Growth Hacking For Storytellers, #2)
Nail Your Story: Add Tension, Build Emot... Nail Your Story: Add Tension, Build Emotion, and Keep Your Readers Addicted (Growth Hacking For Storytellers, #2) - Monica Leonelle There are so many books on writing, and while they're helpful in their own respects, this one filled in a lot of the missing puzzle pieces for me. The author calls it deep alignment, which is basically pulling the theme through the entire makeup of the book to create resonance with the reader. The thing that helped me the most was talking about the relationship between theme and goals/motivations and the fatal flaw of the character. By digging deep in this area, it's easy to begin creating an outline, since you know what message you want to get across and how to chip away at the fatal flaw in the protagonist. Before this book, I always had what the author calls a "murky middle" - I knew where I wanted to begin and where I wanted to end, and I may even have that centerpiece moment, but tying the ends together still felt blank to me. This book took everything one step further to create a much clearer path. Paired with [b:Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story|18371991|Structuring Your Novel Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story|K.M. Weiland|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1377376716s/18371991.jpg|25976295] and a post I recently read about Ring Composition (which I can't find now - argh! - but the theory is simple - mirror elements in ABCABC or ABCCBA format), and I've got a load of tools that can help me weave a plot worth writing. :)
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