Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thomson

This book has made the list for top 5 most interesting books I have read this year. It comes laced with pros and cons that will vary on the scale depending on your own individual perspectives.

First of all Anatomy of the Soul is highly informative. I love studying and cross referencing different religions and beliefs and this book was able to unveil and broaden additional perspectives that were both different and at the same time similar to the Christian beliefs in a way that doesn't benefit any small group of people or organization.  Instead it becomes personal.  Your mind is the key to living a good pure life. Emotional memory  + Subject/Object of focus = Your Spiritual experience.

Simple enough right.

Okay, there were some fantastic psychological perspectives addressed, including attachment issues, overcoming those issues and building strong pathways in your brain. In some instances, depending on what we faced in our childhood, we may have to build better behaviors from scratch. Picture if you would an awesome tool box with shiny, guaranteed for life tools but deep inside that tool box there are old rusty tools that have been taped up and are ready to break any day. Well we need to replace those tools with some better ones. Do you like that? I came up with that analogy the other day. It takes time to collect the right tools, it isn't the new one that is so hard to learn... it is parting with the old one. We are afraid that our brand new shiny tool won't be as reliable as the old rusty one. How funny is that!

What did however bother me though, was something that didn't necessarily get under my skin but I felt that thousands of people would take the wrong way. Perhaps, even put down before they even gave it a chance. In the introduction, God is mentioned in nearly every sentence, sometimes frequently in the same sentence. The frequency bothered me grammatically, the fact that religion can be touchy for some people made me feel a little stronger about it. I felt that some people who may be open minded enough to accept the perspective might feel overwhelmed by the frequency enough to deter them from reading.

If that doesn't bother you I really encourage the read. Concepts are compared with scripture, the last half of the book presents various amounts of scripture to further emphasize what has been covered. Even if you are on the path of change I encourage you to read this book simply because... when a rock (change) is thrown it creates a ripple (more change). Something can always be learned from someones perspective. We are mirrors of one another you see...

About the Author:
Curt Thomson, M.D. is a psychiatrist in private practice in Fall Church, Virginia and founder of Being Known, an organization which develops teaching programs, seminars and resource materials to help individuals explore the connection between interpersonal neurobiology.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Tyndale Media Center for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

About the Book:
The periodic table is one of science's crowning achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon. Follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

My thoughts:

I'm a bit of a nerd/geek so I was really intrigued but the sheer thought of reading this book. Rightfully so, it is fantastic! It is laid out in such a fashion that anyone who has absolutely no background in Chemistry will be able to follow it and learn a thing or two about why the periodic table is set up the way it is and why some elements struggle to create and maintain bonds while others excel (sounds like some people I know!) I find I am able to learn things when I have interest in it and hearing all of these stories really helps me visualize everything as it were. Now that you have gotten my imagination involved.... tell me more! It is like listening to an old grandfather tell stories about back in his day. Except, the man is not old and lots of the stories are long before his time. So, don't expect to read "Back in my day..." anywhere in the book.

It has been interesting reading about some conflicting theories/public perspectives as the different elements were being discovered and interesting to read how dramatic you may find the scientific prestige.  One story that I found particularly interesting was the story of Medeleev. Long before he was enrolled in an educationally institution he had experienced more in his life than most people in its entirety. This beautiful tale of sacrifice really helps paint a vivid picture of this man.

One thing worth noting, footnotes are not found at the bottom of each page. Instead there is an index in the back broken down by chapter. Then the page number follows along with extended information about that topic. I found it a clever way to keep the book organized.

About the Author:
Sam Kean is a writer in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, The Believer, and The New Scientist. In 2009 he won the National Association of Science Writers' runner-up award for best science writer under the age of thirty. He is currently working as a reporter at Science Magazine and was a 2009 Middlebury Environmental Journalism fellow.

Hachette Book Group has kindly offered two copies of The Disappearing Spoon to my readers!

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Disclaimer: I received this book from Hachette Book Group for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.