Advice not given A guide to getting over yourself

Mark Epstein, 1953-

Book - 2018

The Harvard-trained psychologist and author of The Trauma of Everyday Life explores how the traditions of Buddhism and Western psychotherapy can complement each other to promote a healthier ego and maximize the human potential for living a better life. --Publisher

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Subjects
Published
New York : Penguin Press [2018]
Language
English
Physical Description
204 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 195-198) and index.
ISBN
9780399564321
0399564322
Main Author
Mark Epstein, 1953- (author)
  • Introduction
  • Right view
  • Right motivation
  • Right speech
  • Right action
  • Right livelihood
  • Right effort
  • Right mindfulness
  • Right concentration
  • Epilogue.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Using a mixture of personal stories, Buddhist texts, and Western psychology, Epstein (Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart), a practicing psychiatrist and Buddhist, shares advice and techniques for managing emotions. The book is organized around a framework of the Buddhist eightfold path, which keeps Epstein's message clear while educating readers in the basics of Buddhist thought. As such, he suggests many ways of controlling the ego, all stemming from meditation practice, like (counterintuitively) not making a big deal out of life-changing events such as the deaths of loved ones and acknowledging unconscious influences in order to overcome them. However, while the first few chapters provide a smooth synthesis of Buddhism and psychiatry, the later chapters (particularly those on mindfulness and concentration) blend the practices less successfully and tend to focus more on mystical Buddhist experiences. Epstein is an excruciatingly honest guide; though an expert in multiple fields, he takes pains to provide advice not as an authority, but through stories that allow readers to draw their own conclusions. To this end, he often includes Buddhist parables and personal anecdotes to illustrate his points. Epstein's book of practical suggestions will leave readers educated, inspired, and equipped with new tools for psychological health. (Jan.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The Harvard-trained psychologist and author of The Trauma of Everyday Life explores how the traditions of Buddhism and Western psychotherapy can complement each other to promote a healthier ego and maximize the human potential for living a better life.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Explores how the traditions of Buddhism and Western psychotherapy can complement each other to promote a healthier ego and maximize the human potential for living a better life.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

“Most people will never find a great psychiatrist or a great Buddhist teacher, but Mark Epstein is both, and the wisdom he imparts in Advice Not Given is an act of generosity and compassion. The book is a tonic for the ailments of our time.”—Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth Our ego, and its accompanying sense of nagging self-doubt as we work to be bigger, better, smarter, and more in control, is one affliction we all share. And while our ego claims to have our best interests at heart, in its never-ending pursuit of attention and power, it sabotages the very goals it sets to achieve. In Advice Not Given, renowned psychiatrist and author Dr. Mark Epstein reveals how Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, two traditions that developed in entirely different times and places and, until recently, had nothing to do with each other, both identify the ego as the limiting factor in our well-being, and both come to the same conclusion: When we give the ego free rein, we suffer; but when it learns to let go, we are free. With great insight, and in a deeply personal style, Epstein offers readers a how-to guide that refuses a quick fix, grounded in two traditions devoted to maximizing the human potential for living a better life. Using the Eightfold Path, eight areas of self-reflection that Buddhists believe necessary for enlightenment, as his scaffolding, Epstein looks back productively on his own experience and that of his patients. While the ideas of the Eightfold Path are as old as Buddhism itself, when informed by the sensibility of Western psychotherapy, they become something more: a road map for spiritual and psychological growth, a way of dealing with the intractable problem of the ego. Breaking down the wall between East and West, Epstein brings a Buddhist sensibility to therapy and a therapist's practicality to Buddhism. Speaking clearly and directly, he offers a rethinking of mindfulness that encourages people to be more watchful of their ego, an idea with a strong foothold in Buddhism but now for the first time applied in the context of psychotherapy. Our ego is at once our biggest obstacle and our greatest hope. We can be at its mercy or we can learn to mold it. Completely unique and practical, Epstein's advice can be used by all--each in his or her own way--and will provide wise counsel in a confusing world. After all, as he says, "Our egos can use all the help they can get."