Author Jay Heinrichs on Rhetoric and the “Why” of Words

9780804189934By Jay Heinrichs, author of Thank You for Arguing, Third Edition (Three Rivers Press, July 2017).

Adding rhetoric to a literature syllabus can spark something surprising in students.

Few people can say that John Quincy Adams changed their lives. Those who can are wise to keep it to themselves. Friends tell me I should also stop prating about my passion for rhetoric, the 3,000-year-old art of persuasion.

John Quincy Adams changed my life by introducing me to rhetoric. Continue reading

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Connecting through Literature: A Story of a Teacher and Her Student

9780812997316By Michelle Kuo, author of Reading with Patrick (Random House, July 2017).

Every teacher has likely experienced two emotions: the feeling that you’ve gotten through to a student and the feeling that you’ve let him down. In the first, the classroom is a powerful place of human connection, and the lightbulb that has gone off in the kid’s head is hot and radiant. In the second, life proves too complex, too full of barriers and missteps, and the teacher, with regret and perhaps some shame, retraces her decisions, dissecting what went wrong. Continue reading

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Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

9780385347334By Rick Hanson Ph.D., author of Hardwiring Happiness (Harmony, December 2016).

My book, Hardwiring Happiness, addresses a fundamental weakness in other positive psychology books: simply having beneficial experiences is not enough; we also need to convert these passing experiences into lasting changes in neural structure or function. If we don’t, there is no learning, no durable healing or growth—which means limited gains from both formal interventions and informal efforts at self-help.

Drawing on research on the neuropsychology of emotional, somatic, and motivational learning, I show you how to use every day experiences to develop important psychological resources such as resilience, compassion, and confidence. I also share how to apply these inner strengths to meet specific personal needs, taking the triune theory of brain evolution as an organizing framework and roadmap.

In Hardwiring Happiness, you will learn:

  • the central importance of psychological resources for effectiveness and well-being, coping with challenges, and managing vulnerabilities;
  • how inner resources are acquired through processes of learning;
  • major mechanisms of experience-dependent neuroplasticity;
  • the two-stage process of learning: from experience to memory, state to trait;
  • about the brain’s evolved negativity bias and how it’s a bottleneck to psychological resource acquisition;
  • mental “learning factors” that increase the encoding and consolidation of experiences into lasting changes in the nervous system—and compensate for the negativity bias;
  • the HEAL framework that organizes learning factors into a step-by-step process that can be used to acquire desired psychological resources and to steepen the learning curve in psychotherapy, mindfulness programs, and human resources training;
  • to use the fourth HEAL step, linking positive and negative material, to reduce and potentially replace painful or harmful thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns;
  • how the brain evolved to meet our needs for safety, satisfaction, and connection through avoiding harms, approaching rewards, and attaching to others;
  • to use this needs fulfillment framework to develop specific psychological resources for personal issues (e.g., insecure attachment, anxiety, low self-worth).

I hope you will consider Hardwiring Happiness in your coursework.  The book is well-referenced, full of practical applications, and contains many brief experiential practices to deepen embodied learning. It offers an accessible entry into topics of emotional intelligence, resilience, learning, and personal development.

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THE FIX: Complimentary Examination Copy Available

9781101902981Click here to order a free examination copy (while supplies last)

In The Fix, Jonathan Tepperman, managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, identifies ten pervasive and seemingly impossible challenges—including immigration reform, economic stagnation, political gridlock, corruption, and Islamist extremism—and shows that each has a solution, and not merely a hypothetical one.   Meticulously researched and deeply reported, Tepperman has traveled the world to write this book, conducting more than a hundred interviews with the people behind the policies.

“An indispensable handbook. . . . Smart and agile. . . . The timing of this book could not be better. . . . Tepperman goes into impressive detail in each case study and delivers assessments in clear, pared-down prose.” —Michael Hirsh, The New York Times Book Review

For the full review by Michael Hirsch, click here 

Watch the author’s TED Talk

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Karen Greenberg on the Slow Erosion of Justice after 9/11

9780804138215By Karen J. Greenberg, author of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State (Crown, May 2016)

In the spring of 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder faced the American public to announce that the five men in US custody who had been charged with the 9/11 conspiracy would not be prosecuted in federal court. Instead, they would be tried by military commissions at Guantanamo Bay. Holder explained that it was a matter of politics: Congress had taken the decision out of his hands. This book is meant to illuminate the larger forces at work during the years leading up to that disappointing decision. Continue reading

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Why Healthy Sleep is Key for Academic Achievement

9781101904008By Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time (Harmony, April 2016)

There is more and more evidence of how sleep deprivation is affecting students, both their physical and mental health and their ability to learn. At the same time, we are living in a golden age of sleep science, revealing all the ways in which sleep plays a vital role in our decision making, emotional intelligence, cognitive function, and creativity – in other words, the building blocks of a great education. This science is already being applied, as many schools have seen positive results from pushing back start times. Continue reading

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On Being a Deaf Writer

9780812986396By Sara Nović, author of Girl at War: A Novel (Random House Trade Paperbacks, March 2016)

Recently my first novel became an audiobook to which I cannot listen. This is not a complaint, exactly; to write a book someone wants to publish in any format is a writer’s dream. But to hold some disc that contains a thing I made, transformed into a thing I can no longer understand, is a quandary few writers experience. To be a Deaf writer is to make a certain kind of shortlist.

Growing up with a progressive hearing loss, I was educated in spoken English alongside my hearing peers; when that became too difficult I learned American Sign Language (ASL) and had interpreters in class. Still, the linguistic modality in which I am most fluent is written English, because in it I have the most access and the most control. When I’m writing I need not be translated for a hearing audience. When I’m reading a book sounds and words are clear; paper never covers its mouth or turns its head. Continue reading

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In this Age of Terrorism, Inside the Criminal Mind is More Relevant than Ever

9780804139908In the wake of recent terrorist attacks across the world, there has been a renewed global conversation about what motivates such criminal behavior, and what can be done to stop it.  As this discussion around violence and other illegal acts develops, Dr. Stanton Samenow’s landmark work Inside the Criminal Mind is more relevant now than ever.

In his recent review of the book, Dr. Michael J. Hurd argued that Inside the Criminal Mind opens “up insights and discussion into the nature of human psychology as something determined primarily by the way a person thinks.”  Placed within the context of Samenow’s profile of a criminal, students can see how the magnitude of crimes have changed since 1984, but the “characteristics of the criminal mind have not.” Continue reading

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“Genius” Grant Winner Matthew Desmond on Eviction, Poverty and Profit in the American City

9780553447439By Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown, March 2016)

Request an advanced reader’s copy: email with your name, college and course information.

I began this project because I wanted to write a different kind of book about poverty in America. Instead of focusing exclusively on poor people or poor places, I began searching for a process that involved poor and well-off people alike. Eviction—the forced removal of families from their homes—was such a process. Little did I know, at the outset, how immense this problem was, or how devastating its consequences. Continue reading

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Hiding the Truth for Community’s Sake: The Danger of Small Town Dynamics

Amy_Jo_Burns-by-Jen Zilaby Amy Jo Burns, author of Cinderland: A Memoir (Beacon Press, September 2015)

From Steubenville to State College to Missoula, small towns often step into the spotlight where sex crimes are concerned. After the stark details get spun through the news cycle, the towns are left to themselves again, usually divided, impenitent, and often unable to determine what role the community itself played in perpetuating the violence or the criminalization of the victims. As a young woman involved in a small town scandal myself, I can testify to the communal damage that lasts long after journalists and reporters have moved on to the next big story. Continue reading

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