Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In the epigraph to this examination of habitual behavior, Montaigne describes habit as a "violent and treacherous schoolmistress"; but though we are all her pupils, Dean opines that we have a say in what goes on in the classroom. In an effort to get readers to be more aware of their habitual behavior and therefore better able to guide it to productive ends, Dean, a psychologist and the founder of PsyBlog (where he writes on an assortment of psychology-related topics for professionals and laypeople alike), addresses the numerous stages of habits-how they're formed, indoctrinated, maintained, and changed. Although some habits, good or bad, obviously stem from intention (e.g., exercise or smoking), many are the products of unconscious processes that rarely surface long enough to be dealt with. As such, Dean elucidates mindfulness techniques to refocus bad habits and demonstrates methods to establish and retain good habits. What unifies all of the techniques is the understanding that habits, regardless of their origin, take work and motivation to control. Supplemented with analyses of contemporary research and case studies, Dean's is an accessible and informative guide for readers to take control of their lives. Agent: Danielle Svetcov, the Levine Greenberg Agency. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Self-help on establishing new daily routines. "The strange thing about habits," writes PsyBlog creator Dean (How to Be Creative, 2011) "is that because we perform them unconsciously, we aren't always aware exactly what they are." Using research on the subconscious as well as personal stories, the author demonstrates how we perform habits under three circumstances: in vagueness, which frees our minds to think about other, more important decisions; without emotion, as the more routine the habit, the less emotionally attached we are to the act; and as a rut, as we tend to repeat the same actions in the same situations, perpetuating the habit. Placing ourselves in new situations (a new job, school or home, for instance) helps break patterns, whether reaching for that extra cookie or lighting a cigarette with a cup of morning coffee. Acknowledging that not all habits are bad for us--e.g., implementing an exercise program into our week or eating healthier foods--Dean shows that self-control, a change in environment, and rethinking how we talk to ourselves about our likes and dislikes leads to permanent changes in our routine practices. "The challenge is to work out which habits keep leading to dead-ends and which habits lead to interesting new experiences, happiness, and a sense of personal satisfaction," he writes. Making changes does take longer than we may expect--no 30-day, 30-pounds-lighter quick fix--but by following the guidelines laid out by Dean, readers have a decent chance at establishing fulfilling, new patterns.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.