A Common Struggle – An Uncommonly Fine Book

51-pONHfBCL._AA160_Patrick J. Kennedy, the former congressman and youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, recently appeared in an interview on the award-winning news broadcast, “CBS 60 Minutes.” The interview that Kennedy gave so intrigued me that I decided to read his new best-selling book, A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Illness and Addiction (New York: Blue Rider Press: Penguin, 423 pages). 

A Common Struggle, co-authored with Stephen Fried, details Kennedy’s personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health history in the U.S. alongside his own private struggle. Kennedy, a former Rhode Island congressman, publicly disclosed his addiction to prescription painkillers in 2006 after he crashed his car into a Capitol barrier in the middle of the night. The true extent of his struggle with bipolar disorder was not known at the time thus his plan to openly seek help caught many off-guard. Given the way public life works in Washington this could have been the end of Kennedy’s public career but instead of the end it proved to be

David & Goliath: Have We Misunderstood a Classic Biblical Story?

la-092452-ca-0122-gladwell4-jpg-20131003Popular author Malcolm Gladwell is one of the best-selling non-fiction writers of our time. His insights into how we think, make decisions and process complex data are intriguing to most who’ve read his books. He can be exasperating, however, when he glosses over big and important issues to make a central point, something that he does quite often.

In his new book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, the bestselling writer tells us we’re living in a world where the weak are really strong. Gladwell argues that many of our disadvantages can easily become advantages. Even something as debilitating as dyslexia can be a road to success for an ambitious individual.

“The one trait in a lot of dyslexic people I know is that by the time we got out of college, our ability to deal with failure was very highly developed,” says Gary Cohn, a man of humble origins whose bold decisions took him to the top of the U.S. financial industry. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my dyslexia,” he

By |October 14th, 2013|Categories: Books, Culture, Leadership, Psychology|

Romance, Human Bliss and the Changing Place of Marriage in Our Culture

87665In the introduction to his classic book, Orthodoxy, the famous G. K. Chesterton says that he wished “to set forth my faith as particularly answering this double spiritual need, the need for that mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar which Christendom has rightly named romance.”

This quote baffled me at first sight. How can a “mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar” in Christian thought and practice, or orthodoxy, be called “romance?”

Romance refers, at least most commonly, to a love affair. It especially describes an intense and happy affair involving young people. It can also refer to an inclination, or spirit, for adventure, for excitement, or for mystery; e.g. one rooted in love and deep, intense feeling.

Chesterton juxtaposes ideas like “strange and secure” as well as “wonder and welcome” to describe the yearning he believes lies behind all human pursuits. This is the hunger that we have to climb the next hill, or peer around the next corner, and to gaze longingly into another face, to see the true home which we long for so deeply. Chesterton was

The Righteous Mind

Author Jonathan Haidt has written one of the most intriguing, and potentially helpful, books that I have come across this year. The title intrigues me instantly: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (New York: Random House, 2012). I published a comment about this book, along with a clip from NPR, on my Facebook page several months ago. Finally I began to read the book yesterday. It is, so far, everything I hoped for and more.

Jonathan Haidt is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and a visiting professor of business ethics at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is the author of a previous popular book, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. But Haidt is not just interested in psychology as science but in what he calls “moral psychology.” He says people who study something often come to the conclusion that their object of fascination is the key to understanding everything. Books have been recently been published on the transformative role of

Breaking the Conventional Lies That Surround Us: The Prisons in Our Minds

_DSC0512A Guest Post by Menno Fieguth

Menno Fieguth is a long-time friend and supporter of ACT 3 in Canada. He is also a gifted writer who still stays pretty busy long after formal retirement. When I saw this article that he wrote many years ago (Nelson Mandela was still Prime Minister of South Africa as you will see in the article itself) I asked him if I could re-publish it. 


During my years in the Psychiatric Research Department we had numerous animals which were used for a variety of experiments. This included, rats, squirrels, and cats, among others. There were three cats however which somehow ended up being a part of an experiment not intended for them.

The dairy barns at the Saskatchewan Hospital housed not only the official residents, the cows, but a variety of cats which were always well fed. When the barns were to be shut down, there was the

By |January 2nd, 2012|Categories: Psychology|

Why Do We Wait When Danger is So Near?

Yesterday I wrote about the recent storms in the southeastern portion of the United States. The violent storm that hit Joplin, Missouri, killed an estimated 142 people. What we know about this storm and this city is that twenty-minute sirens went off warning people to flee to cover. Many did flee but some waited. Why did these people wait?

William Donner, an environmental sociologist at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, says, “Research generally shows that folks are in denial that a tornado is going to harm them.” I have to confess I know this to be true personally. Why? When the sirens have gone off in my neighborhood, and my wife heads for the basement, I have stayed on the upper level watching a baseball game or working away. I have said, more than once, “I don’t think this is the big one. I’ll be safe.” When I told her I was going to write this she said, “Will you listen to me next time?” My answer was a humble, simple one: “Yes, I will dear.”


The Human Art of Prospection

I admit to a growing love for various kinds of psychology and psychological research. The human brain is simply amazing. And much of what distinguishes humans from lower primates, at least in terms of our brain, is in the frontal lobe of the human brain.

cover-mid_trade After viewing a PBS series on emotional life I was drawn to read the book written by the host of this three-part series. The book, Stumbling on Happiness, by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert, is a delight. It is funny, well-written, fascinating and incredibly helpful to Christians, even if they reject his evolutionary biology.

If you were asked, says Gilbert, to name the human brain’s greatest achievement you might think of impressive artifacts produced: The Great Pyramid of Giza, the International Space Station, or perhaps the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. These are great achievements but they are not, argues Gilbert, our “greatest” achievements. A sophisticated machine could produce all of these and much more. Gilbert writes, “Seeing the

By |October 16th, 2010|Categories: Books, Psychology|

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