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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Diana Marta, BSN, RN (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: In the age-old debate of mind vs. body, which route is the true one to well-being? This is the question posed by the author as he attempts to integrate the disciplines of biomedical and psychosocial theory into a single, though complex, path to self-awareness and ultimately well-being. The work is based on the author's 30 years of research and clinical practice.
Purpose: Although many have attempted to explain how to attain happiness, none have done such a thorough scientific study incorporating psychology, philosophy, biology, sociology, and genetics. In an age where material goods have often failed to bring such happiness, the author gives hope and reinforces the promise that much of what an individual seeks in within him.
Audience: This book will be of interest to a wide variety of professionals including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and sociologists, philosophers, and virtually anyone serving mental health clients. However, its complexity will realistically limit that audience to those wanting to delve in great depth into the theory of well-being and the contingent controversy between biomedical and psychosocial approaches. Despite its complexity, the book also shares some of the same goals as today's more simplistic self-help books. For those who can stay with it, it is quite a cleverly presented theory and, clearly, the author has extensive experience as both a researcher and a clinician.
Features: Having expressed his desire to explore all the disciplines that in any way relate to the pursuit of well-being and his strong argument that mind and body cannot be separated, the author welcomes criticism and feedback on his work, which he suggests will guide him in refining his theories. I find this and his acknowledgement that it took him several false starts to complete this book quite refreshing and unusual in the academic arena. The detail and degree to which he examines all the contributing theories may be off-putting to some readers.
Assessment: This is a complex book with a very simple goal: to better integrate the sciences of the mind and body into a path to better self-awareness and well-being. It is a major contribution to the literature and a refreshing approach to the subject. What particularly resonated with me was the issue of intuition and how individuals must know and trust their own instincts before they can find their own path.