Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 20, Number 30
 
Featured Reviews
How to Grow Old by Marcus Tullius CiceroHow to Grow Old
by Marcus Tullius Cicero
Tue, May 10th 2016
The Road to Calm Workbook by  Carolyn Daitch and Lissah LorberbaumThe Road to Calm Workbook
by Carolyn Daitch and Lissah Lorberbaum
Tue, May 3rd 2016
Let's Talk About Death by Steve Gordon and Irene KacandesLet's Talk About Death
by Steve Gordon and Irene Kacandes
Tue, May 3rd 2016
 
The Shape of Thought
How Mental Adaptations Evolve
By H. Clark Barrett
Review by Diana Soeiro on Tue, Jul 26th 2016.
The Shape of Thought by  H. Clark Barrett When it comes to Shape of Thought it is relevant to identify two goals, each concerning to two different realms, one scientific and one on readership. Scientifically, the book aims to inform about the state of the art in the field of evolutionary psychology, while frequently trying to persuade the reader to take the author's side on a specific idea or research orientation. As for its readership, it aims to appeal to the scholarly reader, while at the same time making the book readable to a general audience, adopting therefore an informal tone.         
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Psychoanalysis
A Very Short Introduction
By Daniel Pick
Review by Christopher Parker on Tue, Jul 26th 2016.
Psychoanalysis by Daniel PickFor an intellectual movement which has been widely dismissed as dead for the past several decades or longer, psychoanalysis is surprisingly well represented in the academic book market. Daniel Pick's Psychoanalysis: A Very Short Introduction, a recent entry in that category, is strikingly ambitious in scope, aiming to provide readers with an introduction to Freud's theoretical writings, its development by subsequent psychoanalysts, and the therapeutic practice embedded within that tradition. Given this volume's slender frame -- approximately 120 pages -- successful investigation of such broad
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The Modern Savage
Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals
By James McWilliams
Review by Andrew M. Winters on Tue, Jul 26th 2016.
The Modern Savage by James McWilliamsJames McWilliam's book, The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals, is a welcomed addition to the literature on the ethics of eating animals. At first glance, the book appears to be another appeal to not eat animals or to, at minimum, not eat animals who are forced to be raised in factory-like settings and eat those who have experienced some semblance of a good life. McWilliams certainly does make the appeal we should not be eating animals and acknowledges that it is better to eat animals from non-factory settings, but he is not content with "better" (p. 221). Instead, he argues
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The Maximum Security Book Club
Reading Literature in a Men's Prison
By Mikita Brottman
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 26th 2016.
The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita BrottmanMikita Brottman is a college professor and psychoanalyst teaching in Baltimore. The Maximum Security Book Club tells of her project to read literature with prisoners from Jessup Correctional Institution. The ten books she chose all feature outsiders to society, starting with Heart of Darkness and finishing with Lolita. Her idea is that the men will be able to relate to these characters, and it will be productive to explore these works with the men. Of course, there are major differences between teaching to a group of prisoners in prison, and undergraduates in a college classroom. Brottman has
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Experimenter
DVD
By Michael Almereyda (Director)
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 26th 2016.
Experimenter by  Michael Almereyda (Director)Experimenter tells the story of Stanley Milgram, the psychologist who did the famous shock experiments about obedience in the 1960s. It starts out as a straightforward biopic, with a rather detailed and laborious depiction of the shock experiment.  But 21 minutes in, Peter Sarsgaard, the actor playing Milgram, steps partly outside of his role and addresses the audience directly, and explains his motivation. There's also a surreal element, since there is an elephant walking behind him down the corridor. Then the movie continues as before, with frequent other similar diversions from a regul
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The Healing Virtues
Character Ethics in Psychotherapy
By Duff R. Waring
Review by Wendy C. Hamblet, Ph.D. on Tue, Jul 19th 2016.
The Healing Virtues by Duff R. WaringThe ancient philosophical term eudaimonia is often casually interpreted as happiness, but its literal meaning is actually something closer to well-character'ed. We in late consumer-industrialized societies miss the deeper meaning of happiness because focused on material wealth, we generally mistake happiness for prosperity and material abundance. We have forgotten what the ancient roots of Western civilization insisted upon: genuine happiness is bound up with the quality of a person's character. The good life is grounded upon a foundation of the good; the good life belongs to the good person,
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Free Refills
A Doctor Confronts His Addiction
By Peter Grinspoon
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 19th 2016.
Free Refills by Peter GrinspoonPeter Grinspooon recounts the story of his prosecution for misusing his doctor privileges to get himself drugs, and his road to both recovery and gaining back his license to practice medicine. He sets out the details of his past, his deteriorating marriage, and his relationship with his young children. It's a complex story because there are many different elements. His father was a famous psychiatrist who advocated for the use of marijuana as a form of pain control, and his parents led a somewhat bohemian life, often smoking pot at home with friends. Grinspoon had three brothers, one a twin. H
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The Girls
A Novel
By Emma Cline
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 19th 2016.
The Girls by Emma ClineThis debut novel has made publishing news primarily because of the reports of the large amount the publisher signed for: the deal was three books for seven figures, and this was back in 2014, when Cline was 25. The movie rights for this book were sold even before then. Predictably, the press reviews of the book have been glowing. The story is of 14-year-old Evie Boyd who spends time with a group of people led by a strange and charismatic man who has sex with Evie and other girls. He seems to be ready to use violence and he manipulates people, but they also go along with what he does.  Evi
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8 Keys to Practicing Mindfulness
Practical Strategies for Emotional Health and Well-Being
By Manuela Mischke Reeds
Review by Biswanath Swain, Ph.D. on Tue, Jul 19th 2016.
8 Keys to Practicing Mindfulness by Manuela Mischke ReedsAn effort has been made in the book titled "8 keys to practicing mindfulness" by Manuela Mischke Reeds to resolve the most common problem that we, in this modern world, have been facing for so long. The problem is identified as a mind which is completely disturbed by greed and mere desires and is filled with negative thoughts about everything. As a result, an individual starts experiencing stress, trauma, anxiety, depression, and addiction. These issues, further, derails an individual from his/her normal course of life. Reeds comes up with 8 sound techniques to bring the mind back into a 'pure
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Agency, Freedom, and Moral Responsibility
By Andrei Buckareff, Carlos Moya and Sergi Rosell (Editors)
Review by Mattias Gunnemyr and Cathrine Felix on Tue, Jul 12th 2016.
Agency, Freedom, and Moral Responsibility by  Andrei Buckareff, Carlos Moya and Sergi Rosell (Editors)Agency, Freedom and Moral Responsibility consists of sixteen independent essays -- each written by different authors, and an introduction by the editors. The common ground for the essays is that the authors (with a few exceptions) participated in at least one of the two symposia (2008) "Belief, Responsibility, and Action" and (2012) "Alternatives, Belief and Action" that took place at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Valencia. Yet, as the editors emphasizes, this is not a proceedings volume. All essays are written exclusively to appear in this volume. Most contributions will like
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The Myth of the Moral Brain
The Limits of Moral Enhancement
By Harris Wiseman
Review by William Simkulet on Tue, Jul 12th 2016.
The Myth of the Moral Brain by Harris WisemanIn The Myth of the Moral Brain, Harris Wiseman presents a compelling argument that proponents of moral enhancement often exaggerate or misconstrue our understanding of the human brain when arguing for biomedical interventions designed to improve an agent's morality.  Roughly, he argues that the human brain and the human decision making process is complex, and given contemporary scientific evidence many biomedical interventions would be unlikely to achieve the goals of proponents of moral enhancement.  However, Wiseman contends that moral enhancement is both possible and desirable, ar
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Mental Time Travel
Episodic Memory and Our Knowledge of the Personal Past
By Kourken Michaelian
Review by Lloyd A. Wells, MD, PhD on Tue, Jul 12th 2016.
Mental Time Travel by Kourken MichaelianThis slim volume is engaging and thought-provoking.  Michaelian discusses philosophical approaches to and theories of memory and builds a new theory which is compatible with the recent rapid growth of scientific knowledge of memory.  The result is heuristic.           The author begins with a brief account of the philosophy of memory, with some emphasis on Locke, Hume and Reid, and points out that these venerable philosophical positions are incompatible with recent scientific findings.  He proposes to offer a new philosophical model.
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Action
A Book about Sex
By Amy Rose Spiegel
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 12th 2016.
Action by Amy Rose SpiegelAmy Rose Spiegel lives in Brooklyn, is in her mid-twenties, and has a lot of sex, and her advice book, Action, seems to be aimed at people like her. She doesn't seem particularly interested in longer-term relationships and doesn't like staying overnight with her lovers.  She presents a way of life that will appeal to many but more as a fantasy than a real option. Her world is one where people don't have commitments or children, and engage in perpetual flirting and random sexual encounters. Her primary orientation is to enjoy exciting new people and give them sexual pleasure, as part of he
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The Incantations of Daniel Johnston
By Ricardo Cavolo & Scott McClanahan
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 12th 2016.
The Incantations of Daniel Johnston by Ricardo Cavolo & Scott McClanahanDaniel Johnston is known for making music and art. He is also known for having a mental illness. His work is very distinctive and it has a lot of fans. The 2005 movieThe Devil and Daniel Johnston was a good introduction to his work. This new graphic novel, The Incantations of Daniel Johnston, is much more bizarre in its style.  It is a combination of art by Richardo Cavlolo and words by Scott McClanahan, and it packs a punch. The book tells a story of Daniel Johnston's life. The art is bold in color and style, psychedelic, and funny. The words are addressed personally to the reader, and t
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On Being Raped
By Raymond M. Douglas
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 5th 2016.
On Being Raped by Raymond M. DouglasIn this slim volume, Ray Douglas describes his rape when he was 18 by a priest and the effect it had on his life. He is a grown man now, married, and living in the US, although he never directly reveals where he lives now or where he grew up. His webpage reveals he grew up in in Ireland and now teaches at Colgate University. His style here is simple and direct, although he is circumspect with some details. The first two chapters provide the context and describe the rape and Douglas's immediate reactions. The third describes how he processed the event afterwards, and his attempts to r
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