Book Reviews

The Happiness Compass: Theories, Actions and Perspectives for Well-Being

"The Happiness Compass covers a wide range of interesting topics related to subjective well-being. Its multi-disciplinary approach – psychology, economics, politics, social psychology, urban planning, religion, and health – provides a wide-ranging overview of the importance of well-being. Moreover, the case studies in various countries worldwide, international comparisons, and the description of numerous characteristics affecting subjective well-being demonstrate the growing importance of this research field almost everywhere. Francesco Sarracino’s edited volume indeed serves as a compass for many scholars interested in this fascinating Beyond GDP research." - Hans Schmeets, Special Professor of Social Statistics, Maastricht University

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The Power to Care: Effects of Power in Intimate Relationships

"Written with wit and elegance, Erez Zverling provides an impressive scholarly overview of the effects power can have on people in various domains, from intimate relationships to society at large. Using beautiful examples, the author shows that power affects us in both negative and sometimes surprisingly positive ways. This book will give the reader a truly deep understanding of what it means to have power, and what it means to lack power. " - Johan Karremans, Professor, Radboud University, Behavioral Science Institute, Nijmegen, Netherlands

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The Power to Care: Effects of Power in Intimate Relationships

"Written with wit and elegance, Erez Zverling provides an impressive scholarly overview of the effects power can have on people in various domains, from intimate relationships to society at large. Using beautiful examples, the author shows that power affects us in both negative and sometimes surprisingly positive ways. This book will give the reader a truly deep understanding of what it means to have power, and what it means to lack power. " - Johan Karremans, Professor, Radboud University, Behavioral Science Institute, Nijmegen, Netherlands

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Beyond Money: The Social Roots of Health and Well-Being

"Scholars concerned with cultural post-modernization tend to agree upon several basic assertions. At least one is relevant for the debates around wellbeing and quality of life. With the social and economic change, people focus on better life expressed in non-material way." READ MORE... - Reviewed by Bogdan Voicu, Senior Researcher I, Romanian Academy, Research Institute for Quality of Life

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Psychiatry on the Edge

"Dr. Ronald Pies latest book, Psychiatry on the Edge, is a masterful collection of his writings. In addition to having been editor of Psychiatric Times, Dr. Pies is a prolific scholar who has written about topics ranging from psychopharmacology, medical causes of psychiatric illnesses, ethics, Judaism, Buddhism, Stoicism, cognitive-behavior therapy, and poetry. In this volume, he explores how we can begin to understand what psychiatry is and what it is not. At a time when our field is under attack from many quarters, it is critically important to be able to discuss what it is that we do as psychiatrists in a non-defensive and intellectually rigorous manner. In order to do so it is helpful to critically view our field from different vantage points and prisms.

Dr. Pies engages the reader in a thoughtful review of relevant philosophy, drawing upon original source material. On a process level, we are taught about philosophic principles salient to our field. For those of us who never took philosophy (or who are a little rusty), we are treated to a highly educational and enjoyable overview. How best to learn about philosophy than to relate it to our own field and what better way to learn about psychiatry than to draw upon philosophy as a field of thought that is different than our usual intellectual framework! This book offers the reader an intellectual opportunity to learn (or relearn) philosophic principles and, by applying the basics of rational philosophic thought, be able to critically explore the very nature of psychiatry, including the many misunderstandings and negative polemic offered about our field in the popular press or when we are asked existential questions by our patients and others.

Dr. Pies is an exceptional author and scholar, able to draw upon many different topic areas and write in an enjoyable manner, which exemplifies such fantastic “synthetic thought.” This volume helps focus our attention on the central vexing issue our field faces: how do we embrace an evidence based, scientifically driven mindset while simultaneously maintaining the art of medicine, and the critical empathic connection with our patients, both of which are necessary for treating the hallmarks of disease – suffering and incapacity. Pies offers the concept of “polythetic pluralism,” which embraces the world of both medical science and the healing arts.

The essay “Can Psychiatry be Both a Medical Science and a Healing Art? The case for Polythetic Pluralism” should be read by all psychiatric providers. The book also goes a long way in debunking the belief that psychiatry is not scientifically based, reminding us that mental health signs and symptoms are as real as the headaches that a neurologist treats. The fact that mental phenomena are subjectively experienced does not detract from the validity of symptoms representing disease. As an example, affect and mood can be assessed in a reliable manner and can reflect valid distress and illness despite being subjectively experienced. Logical positivism is put in a safe perspective that does not allow it to crowd out the very meaning of psychiatric illness.

Dr. Pies is a very wise physician who shares his knowledge and insights with true generosity. In addition to learning about philosophic thinking, he shares insights into many topics including health care as a basic human right, psychiatrist participation in executions and interrogations, gun control, and internet ethics, to name a few. Each section left me with many new ideas and I was often awe inspired.

This is a thinking person’s collection, with much to learn, enjoy, and share with each other. Psychiatry on the Edge develops a dialog which helps us define who we are and what we do as psychiatrists, critical in understanding our field and sharing it with others. I highly recommend this contribution as the reader will be rewarded with much knowledge and many deep insights."
- Jeffrey S. Barkin MD, DFAPA, Portland, Maine, US

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Psychoanalysis and Complexity

"The book of Dr. Lenti is to be considered as a considerable effort on the part of the author to try to establish an epistemological platform that would support a scientific point of view the evolution of the psychoanalytic theories from Freud's drive theory to the theory that today we might call the theory of affections according to James Grotstein. His intellectual commitment marries our attention and our solidarity of psychoanalysts, I am convinced that we really have to thank him for the publication of this book." - Giuseppe Ballauri

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Relationship Paradox: The Spiritual Quest for Union and Freedom

"Dr. Kendell Thornton's book is an insightful and engaging study of the psychology of relationships. He explains the paradoxes of relationships,such as why we hurt the ones we love and why we want what we cannot have, in ways that are both interesting and profound. Understandable and useful for psychologists and general readers alike, Relationship Paradox is a much needed addition to the relationship science literature, and a book that can help anyone gain a deeper understanding of the most important things in our lives our personal relationships." - William Indick, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Dowling College, Oakdale, NY, USA

"Relationship Paradox does double-duty: a concise overview of the scholarly research on relationships, and original insights from Dr. Thornton on the essence of great relationships integrating ideas across many areas within psychology. Highly recommended!" - Marcus C. Tye, Ph.D., Sexuality & Our Diversity: Integrating Culture with the Biopsychosocial (in preparation for late 2012 / early 2013 release), Professor of Psychology, Dowling College, Oakdale, NY, USA

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Loneliness, Love and All that’s Between: A Psychological Look at What Makes Us Lonely and What Keeps Us in Love

"Is well written, with a good, logical flow of valuable information, easy to read and understand, and should be on every counselor's/ psychologist's/ social worker's desk. It also should be required reading In college counseling, mental health and related courses. This book is a winner. Few books cover the topic of loneliness as does this one. The Chapter " Enriching Good Marriages and Fixing Bad Ones " is a must read for everyone. Dr. Rokach has produced a winner! Congratulations!" - Joseph P. Cangemi, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychology, WKU

"Dr. Rokach’s book offers a wide range of perspectives on loneliness. Spanning all age groups, the analysis helps the reader to understand the meaning and implications of loneliness. The research-supported approaches to overcoming loneliness are wonderful tools in coming to an understanding of one’s loneliness and how to cope with it. Case examples used throughout the book not only illustrate how loneliness affects individuals, but also relationships; providing hope for those experiencing loneliness within their relationships. In a compelling way, the book encapsulates a breadth of information about what makes or breaks relationships while program suggestions provide the reader with clear direction and useful ideas. Loneliness, Love and All That’s Between is a book that is a perfect guide for couples or individuals who are experiencing loneliness. Nicely done Dr. Rokach! - Nicole Mitchell, MEd (Counselling Psych)

"Dr. Rokach’s new book dissects the complex issue of loneliness which is so prevalent today. He walks us through identifying and assessing our intimate relationships, and how to improve them. In an age where nearly 50% of marriages break down, it is valuable to have a roadmap to optimizing the union we have chosen, and because it is written in easily understood terminology and with many anecdotes, a greater audience will be able to benefit from the knowledge imparted.” - Doreen Davies Ioannou, Author of “A New Eden”

"This is a wonderful book with a very thorough, exhaustive approach to the topic of loneliness. The amount of information and the comprehensive analysis with which the various points are depicted is quite impressive." READ MORE... - Milada Disman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (retired), Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, ON, Canada

"Loneliness, Love and All that’s Between: A Psychological Look at What Makes Us Lonely and What Keeps Us in Love provide comprehensive overviews of loneliness in adult romantic relationships. Written from the perspectives of clinical psychologists engaged both in couple therapy and in academia, the books are an attempt to fill in a literature gap regarding the experience of loneliness despite being actively involved in an intimate relationship." READ MORE... - Alex Molaver, University of Connecticut in the May 2016 newsletter, Interpersonal Acceptance

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Together and Lonely: Loneliness in Intimate Relationships – Causes and Coping

"Two Israeli experts got together, to publish this book, which examines mainly the phenomenon of loneliness within intimate relationships, as marriage and family." READ MORE... - Dr. Yochi Ben-Nun, President, Israel Psychological Association

"In Together and Lonely, the need to belong-or to be socially accepted-is highlighted as a central and powerful factor in loneliness, as well as in psychopathology more broadly. The authors discuss the fundamental nature of the need to belong, and suggest that many of the presenting problems in psychotherapy may be best understood from a belongingness framework." READ MORE... - Alex Molaver, University of Connecticut in the May 2016 newsletter, Interpersonal Acceptance

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Heaven on My Mind

“The first, and only, serious study of religious development across the entire lifespan. This book sets a new benchmark for the science of spirituality.” - Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology, Director, Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania

“What a fabulous use of the world renowned Harvard Study of Adult Development, an investigation begun in 1939. For many years and until recently, this project was directed by one of the premier psychiatric and humanistic researchers of his generation, Dr. George Eman Vaillant, MD, of Harvard Medical School. Over the last two decades, Dr. Vaillant has been a leader in the positive psychology movement, and now draws on the Harvard Study of Adult Development to examine the extent to which belief in an afterlife influences well-being and survival over the course of a lifetime. This is the one and only prospective longitudinal study ever conducted on this topic. Every six years, for the better part of four decades, Dr. Vaillant has asked subjects about the degree and depth of their belief in life after death. Heaven on My Mind is a brilliant, deep, and revealing study that reveals scientifically for the first time that there is more value in keeping heaven on one’s mind than most researchers people realize, and indeed this may be why it remains important in many lives. A truly creative and even magnificent book, everyone interested in “Prospection” as a state of mind should read this, as should anyone interested in spirituality and well-being.” - Stephen G. Post, PhD., Director, Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, President, Institute for Research on Unlimited Love

“This heartfelt book weaves together moving stories with data from a groundbreaking longitudinal study that tracked Harvard graduates over the course of their entire lives. Intimate interviews combined with mental and physical health records over decades of time illuminate how our lives are profoundly influenced by the nature of our relationships in the present and our sense of hope for the future. Dr. George Vailllant is a wise and eloquent guide to living well at any age.” - David Bryce Yaden, Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

“Drawing on the Harvard Study of Adult Development (“The Grant Study”), lead researcher George E. Vaillant, M.D., examines the extent to which a belief in the afterlife influences well-being and survival over the course of a lifetime. Using spiritual and religious biographies of the men in The Grant Study, Heaven on My Mind shows us the significance that faith and hope for heaven have on our everyday life and well-being. The book ultimately reveals that there’s more value in keeping heaven on your mind than you might realize.” - Sandra Bilbray is a contributing editor for Live Happy, and the CEO and owner of themediaconcierge.net

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