Kidding Ourselves

Why do we like to feel in control? Why do we continue to rely on supernatural things, like deities, instead of ditching those beliefs for reality? This book, Kidding Ourselves, by Joseph T. Hallinan, discusses these subjects about deceiving ourselves. Can it be helpful, or will it just make one look silly?

First of all, I’m going to say that nobody likes reality the way it is presented to us — a hard, cold world with little comfort unless you happen to have the “smarts”. That’s honestly why I read books and look for other entertainment like TV shows. For a while, you’ll be happy. (Um, I don’t know about you but I do get depressed a lot, though I don’t ever realize it; most of the time I just shut off any feelings whenever I’m in deep thought or working. It just kind of happens.) But then it’s over, and any stress you have comes back immediately and hits you hard, including your health. So what can you do to stop that? Make ourselves feel like we’re in control. I’m not sure how, but I’m pretty sure why: it’s our perception of things, like some believe God comforts them and you should cast all your cares upon him, which will actually relieve you of a lot of stress. I know this for sure since I used to be a Christian, and in fact did this.

Concerning health, feeling in control of your life also has to do with knowledge.

“…The more control we feel we have, the better off we are—not just psychologically, but physiologically. Showing patients a ten-minute video before they undergo a painful medical procedure such as a colonoscopy, for instance, can reduce anxiety and even lead to short recovery time… Knowledge is power. Knowing what to expect affords us some degree of control over the situation we face; we can brace for it. And as long as we believe we have some control over the situation, it becomes more tolerable, and in the process we become more powerful. We become, in a sense, masters of our own little universe. And that sense of mastery pays very real dividends.” (p. 119)

As I read, though, I realized that there are only so many examples you can give about things before it’s more like a guess, not a solid answer. Hallinan begins to compare powerful people who feel in control more, like bosses, but also tend to ignore “powerless” employees in this case. I really don’t feel like there’s no in-between between the powerful and the powerless, but he seems to make sure that he expresses that there is according to research like this:

“Behavioral research has shown that in meetings, parties, and other group settings, powerful people tend not only to talk more often than other people do, they are also more likely to speak their minds. Whereas relatively powerless people tend to feign agreement, powerful people are inclining to express their true attitudes and opinions—regardless of the consequences. They act, in short, like their true selves.” (p. 153)

I may not be particularly powerless, but I’m not powerful either. I don’t talk that much around a lot of people I’m not comfortable with, so that’s probably right. I do not suddenly agree with another because I’m too scared to speak up. If I disagree with you and I believe it to be a major concern, I will speak up and make sure you understand why you are wrong. But most of the time, they end up rattling on after you’ve made your point and they ignore you. (Then you walk away and they want to start a fight. Happens in my life a lot.) Regardless of the consequences, I will somehow show my opinion and make sure you’ve noted it. I did not used to be this way, though, because I was brainwashed into believing that somehow women were inferior to men; and if a man said something then I agreed or stayed silent, unless it had to do with my religion.

Kidding Ourselves was okay. I wouldn’t say it’s great, but I love the idea the book was made from.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


The Power of Forgetting

thepowerofforgettingmikebysterWhat’s in the use of forgetting? I asked myself as I came upon this curious book. Originally I was going to ignore it until I read the subtitle. But I never knew what forgetting had to do with clearing out brain clutter.

I don’t think most of us realize how much brain clutter we really accumulate throughout each day.. especially me. Well, during school. I also procrastinate a lot, which is really not a good thing and adds on a ton of stress. I have blamed my lack of sleep during the school year for my bad performance, but now I know it’s more than that. True, only seven or eight hours of sleep each night can really make me feel like crap (I’m still prone to grow too), but I had a ton of stress because I would never do my freaking homework. Since I’m going into high school, and I’m going to be in marching band (lots of hard music and drills, and we have to memorize all 300 measures of music), I have decided that this would be a wonderful opportunity to use the skills that this book, The Power of Forgetting, provides. I’ve always hated math, yet I want to be the very best at it. I want to be the best I can at every subject, yet I’m jusssttt lazy sometimes. 😦

Sooo, how do you clear out brain clutter and become the sharpest you? There’s more than six skills in there, as the cover doesn’t imply, but they are all challenging. These skills, whether it be a different and shorter way to complete a math equation or just a mind game that you really need your thinking cap on for, they all help you to seriously become sharper and smarter. Smarter doesn’t necessarily mean higher IQ, but a faster brain processing speed. Also, you might do a loooot better on an IQ test if you didn’t understand something before on it.

I’ve tried a few of these skills, and I think they’ve had some kind of impact on how fast I am at coming up with conclusions. Of course, I have gotten out of my little cage, which is a metaphor obviously for how I was doing mentally… about religion n stuff. Things like organizing random words as fast as you can in alphabetical order while you’re driving down the road gets your mind thinking incredibly fast.. at least, that’s what happened to me once. Practice math while you’re on the road, too, by choosing three numbers and trying to create as many equations that equals 24 with them as you can. There are more complex exercises, but just doing these will seriously help you.

Hey, you know the British TV show Sherlock? How he has a mind palace? Well, that’s actually a thing that can help you organize things. This book does tell of how something like a mind palace can provide a place for you to remember things, while also having comfortable rooms in it. What I mean is, use your bedroom or your first house memory to remember something, depending on what it is really. Just do whatever fits your needs.

I think that I really liked this book, as it is definitely going to help me in real life. It’s actually something I needed but never acknowledged that I needed.


I received this book for free fromBlogging for Books for this review.



a little note:

I’ve decided to post twice a week now since my blog never gets any traffic. Tuesday and Saturday.