U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life? [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this impressively researched and incisive book, Bruce Grierson draws on over three hundred stories of so-called "U-turners," who have risked their livelihoods to answer a sudden wake-up call. We meet people who change political parties and careers, doctors who quit to become poets, men who become women, people who suddenly become revolutionaries for a cause they didn't care about the day before. In chapters that address everything from the neuroscience behind epiphanies to the possibility of "forcing" a ...
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U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life?

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Overview

In this impressively researched and incisive book, Bruce Grierson draws on over three hundred stories of so-called "U-turners," who have risked their livelihoods to answer a sudden wake-up call. We meet people who change political parties and careers, doctors who quit to become poets, men who become women, people who suddenly become revolutionaries for a cause they didn't care about the day before. In chapters that address everything from the neuroscience behind epiphanies to the possibility of "forcing" a U-turn, Grierson brilliantly describes and elucidates this powerful, mysterious phenomenon, and in doing so illuminates all of our continual struggles with life choices and identity.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A Canadian journalist (Culture Jam) takes an informed look at people who suddenly, dramatically transform their lives. Grierson offers scores of examples, such as Virgil Butler, who had earned his living slaughtering chickens at a Tyson plant. After he started dating an animal lover, he quit his job, became a vegetarian and now runs an animal rights Web site. Many of the epiphanies were of a religious nature, either toward or away from spirituality. Anwah Shaikh, a Pakistani fundamentalist Muslim, killed several Sikhs after seeing the mutilated bodies of Muslims around the time Pakistan gained independence. Reading the Qur'an one day, he suddenly found one passage troubling and began reading the text more critically; he turned away from Islam and wrote a critique of the Qur'an. Several tales recount political shifts, such as Michael Lind's abandonment of conservatism after being disgusted by Pat Buchanan's speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. This is a nuanced and informative investigation that speculates but does not reach final conclusions about why some make U-turns in life and others do not. Grierson suggests that most changers are middle-class white males (who have the greatest freedom to make such changes) with a degree of sensitivity and idealism. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Grierson (coauthor, Culture Jam), who writes for the periodical Adbustersand has been nominated for several Canadian National Magazine awards, is a wise observer of many widely divergent aspects of popular culture. Here he turns his attention to people who have dramatically changed the direction of their lives. Although he tries to categorize these "wake-up calls" under such rubrics as "The Kandinsky Decision," evolution, revolution, epiphany, and paradigm shift, the differences do not seem distinct. The book is really a series of brief descriptions of fascinating and usually high-profile people explaining how and why they changed direction in life. Interesting as they are, these stories become repetitious and are recounted rather than examined in any depth, which leaves the reader hungry for a more sophisticated consideration of the subject. However, with so many baby boomers facing middle age and retirement and the consequent introspection, there is a large audience for this book. Larger public libraries will want to add it to their pop psychology collection.
—Fran Mentch Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

From the Publisher

Praise for U-Turn:

“Grierson adds a wide range of commentary from philosophers, psychologists, researchers and theoreticians to his discussion of personal change. With careful attention to detail, as well as scrutiny of numerous stories that crumble on examination, he writes both credibly and broadly. He’s informative without being stuffy and thorough without being boring.”—Vancouver Sun

“Nuanced and informative.”—Publishers Weekly

U-Turn is a very smart, grounded, wise, well-written, and important book…Here is a map that offers guidance to anyone tempted to take a detour en route to who-knows-where.”—Parker J. Palmer, author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach

“In his fascinating, balanced, thoroughly researched and readable look at the ‘U-turn,’ Bruce Grierson gives this phenomenon its due. His view of the ‘wake-up call’ as the secular equivalent of the religious epiphany is brilliant…this book is essential for anyone contemplating meaningful change.” —Jon Katz, author of Running to the Mountain and A Good Dog

“Read this book for the tales it tells, for the inspiration it imparts, or for the knowledge it so generously gives.”—Lauren Slater, author of Welcome to My Country

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596917958
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 660,589
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Bruce Grierson has been nominated for eight Canadian National MagazineAwards, and is the coauthor of Culture Jam. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and daughter.
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Table of Contents

Introduction     1
The Burning Spear     11
The Time of Reckoning     25
The Likely Candidate     43
The Condemned Twin     64
The Revolutionary Evolution     96
The Crying Baby     120
The Change of Heart     131
The Kandinsky Decision     154
The Road to Damascus     170
The Good Hypocrite     201
The Thought Experiment     223
The Parole Board's Dilemma     245
The Earth As Seen from Space     271
Notes     289
Selected Bibliography     315
Acknowledgments     325
Index     327
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