Mindful Books to Read This Summer 2016

Books that are capturing our attention.

On the Verge

How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
Mark Wolynn
Viking

Many people who meditate begin to discover how vulnerable they are as they notice old wounds that have festered, unattended. If you prick us, we bleed. If you prick us with words and attitudes, we bleed inside. The wounds scab over, but the scars remain, and can be passed on generation to generation, creating new wounds. Wolynn presents practi- cal methods to examine where this pain resides and find healing and resilience.

Cure

A Journey into the Science
of Mind Over Body
Jo Marchant
Crown

What power does the mind have to heal the body? Science writer Jo March-
ant explores research into the placebo effect, meditation, prayer, conditioning, and hypnosis. Her aim is to re-introduce “mind” into conventional science and medicine, since “body”—a more mea- surable unit of study—has “sidelined the more intangible effects of the mind.”

Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine

Cara Bradley New World
A business coach, a basketball coach, and a congressman endorse this book, which gives you a good idea of whom it’s aimed for. Bradley is a former professional figure skater—think of many long cold mornings of practice and thousands of trips and falls—who now teaches yoga and mindful- ness, to develop what athletes call “mental strength” or agility. Bradley’s upbeat
spirit jumps off the page in a book that is both practical and inspirational for active people who want to synchronize their body and mind to perform at their best.

Eat Right: Now

Judson Brewer Claritas MindSciences

Stress-eating is like scratching an itch. “We get a momentary distraction because our brain gets a spritz of dopamine,” says cravings expert Judson Brewer. For some, that chemical surge trumps stress and provides a feeling of control, creating a habit. Eat Right: Now! trains users to differentiate between stress-related hunger and actual hunger. Users learn mindfulness practices to ride out cravings and can find support from an online community.

The Power Paradox

How We Gain and Lose Influence

Dacher Keltner Penguin

The word power has a bad reputation. We automatically think of the bad kind, and compound forms like power-mad, power- hungry, and lust for power spring to mind. Keltner—a psychologist specializing in the evolutionary origins of emotion, and fac- ulty director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley—wants to reclaim the word. We all need power, he points out. It’s what allows us to make a differ- ence in the world. We earn lasting power through becoming trusted and admired, not, he demonstrates, through bullying, coercion, and violence. These tactics can work for a time, but they fail in the end. Power brings with it a surge of energy, and therein lies its promise and its danger. We get “a rush of expentancy, delight, and confidence” that gives us a sense that we can accomplish things in the world, Kelt- ner says. The opposite, powerlessness, is a curse that limits our choices. The challenge is to avoid falling into, or being driven into, powerlessness, while also not becoming drunk on the dopamine high that power can bring. A tall order, yes, but the first step is to be aware of the power of power, and its benefits, in the first place.

Joy on Demand

The Art of Discovering
Happiness Within
Chade-Meng Tan
Harper One

Google Employee #107 is at it again. In his second book, the Silicon Valley engi- neer who became known as Google’s Jolly Good Fellow and who brought mindfulness to the tech giant, expands upon his motto “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” While the book is funny, even silly in many places, it pres- ents lots of practical tools for rousing joy in the midst of our harried lives.

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