Scorched Earth – iTunes’ Summer’s Biggest Books


iTunes featured Scorched Earth as one of this “Summer’s Biggest Books”, in the Mysteries and Thrillers category. Get your copy today!


So That’s It!


Is there a more important question than this: “What is love?” It’s even the title of a popular song (Haddaway – 1993). Is love wile ecstasy – or flannel pajamas?

I think that for most of us, we’d pick the first answer. But then we’d think about it some more and wonder if that’s all there is to a relationship.

I just finished a great book, A Book About Love, by Jonah Lehrer. I decided to get the book – as I did for so many other books I’ve enjoyed – based on book review by David Brooks.

Here’s part of what David said in his review last month:

For Jonah Lehrer, true love is not usually like this. In “A Book About Love” he argues that this wild first ecstasy feels true but is almost nothing. It’s just an infatuation, a chemical fiction that will fade with time. For Lehrer, love is more flannel pajamas than sexy lingerie; it is a steady attachment, not a divine fire. For Lehrer, attachment theory is the model that explains all kinds of love.

He also sees marriage through the prism of attachment. Marriage itself, Lehrer argues, is not about finding a soul mate, or your mystical other half. It’s not even about finding someone like yourself. As he writes, “A 2010 study of 23,000 married couples found that the similarity of spouses accounted for less than 0.5 percent of spousal satisfaction.” It’s about finding someone with steady emotional tendencies and then being stubborn in the face of the nagging incompatibilities that will be there at the beginning and will never go away.

The book’s out there in most libraries. I’m all-but-certain you’ll enjoy it!

You can read the full review here

Turning Point

work eat sleep repeat

Go to school, work hard, succeed, get a job, work hard, succeed, raise a family, pay the mortgage, repeat….  Sound familiar. How many of us get on the treadmill and stay there, without finding out what we’re passionate about, let alone acting on it. Clare Ansberry offers some thoughts on the subject – compelling thoughts. Here is what she shares:

A dream prompted Martin Seligman, psychologist and author, to shift his research to humans from animals. Archaeologist Joyce White was drawn to Southeast Asia by an image of the Thai countryside in a slide presentation. A chance encounter with an elderly homeless man led physician Lara Weinstein to her work treating marginal populations. “It was almost like a transcendental experience,” says Dr. Weinstein, a family doctor in Philadelphia.

Such events are more prevalent than one might expect. A 2006 Gallup poll of 1,004 adults, the most recent it has done on the subject, found that 33% of Americans said the following statement “applies completely” to them: “I have had a profound religious experience or awakening that changed the direction of my life.”

The experiences vary. A revelation, directive or message comes unexpectedly. A series of unlikely synchronistic events occur. Some people sense a divine presence, and others feel deeply connected to something larger than themselves, be it nature or others around them, and pursue more altruistic work.

People of all ages and faiths, agnostics and atheists, have such experiences, yet they rarely talk about them. They’re concerned others will dismiss them as delusional or won’t take them seriously. Sometimes words fall short of conveying the intensity of what they felt.

Read the entire article here.

Be Yourself – Really?


Most of us give and receive advice. It’s human nature, as much of who we are as breathing. But is all advice good. What about “Be Yourself.” Sounds like an easy yes. Maybe not.

We are in the Age of Authenticity, where “be yourself” is the defining advice in life, love and career. Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world. As Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, defines it, authenticity is “the choice to let our true selves be seen.”

We want to live authentic lives, marry authentic partners, work for an authentic boss, vote for an authentic president. In university commencement speeches, “Be true to yourself” is one of the most common themes (behind “Expand your horizons,” and just ahead of “Never give up”).

Be authentic, but realize that this doesn’t mean just being yourself without consideration for those around you.

Read more of this insightful article here

Time to Reflect?


We all lead busy lives. Most of us would welcome – with open arms – more time to think, to reflect, and perhaps some time for true introspection. But how do you get it?

The multiple devices we have all-but-attached to our bodies don’t help – phones, tablets, beepers – even our watches now – all work to distract us at every turn.

“Finding moments to engage in contemplative thinking has always been a challenge, since we’re distractible,” said Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows.” “But now that we’re carrying these powerful media devices around with us all day long, those opportunities become even less frequent, for the simple reason that we have this ability to distract ourselves constantly.”

Neuroplasticity (or the brain’s ability to change) due to technological use is a hot topic. Usually the tone is alarmist, though sometimes it’s optimistic.

Nevertheless, he sees our current direction as indicative of “the loss of the contemplative mind,” he said. “We’ve adopted the Google ideal of the mind, which is that you have a question that you can answer quickly: close-ended, well-defined questions. Lost in that conception is that there’s also this open-ended way of thinking where you’re not always trying to answer a question. You’re trying to go where that thought leads you. As a society, we’re saying that that way of thinking isn’t as important anymore. It’s viewed as inefficient.”

Mr. Carr observed that, for decades, Rodin’s 1902 sculpture “The Thinker” epitomized the highest form of contemplation: a figure with an imposing physique staring abstractly downward, hunched over to block out distraction, frozen because it’s a statue, of course, but also because deep thinkers need time and don’t fidget. It’s hard to imagine a postmodern update called “The Tweeter” being quite so inspirational.

Read more of this killer-good article here.

No Doubt!

No Doubt

Many of us are beset by self-doubt. It manifests itself in many ways – few of them good.

Do you struggle with giving yourself a compliment? Think of the last time you told yourself something critical or negative. Then think of the last compliment you gave yourself. Which is easier to remember?

Many of us—whether due to genetics, brain chemistry, our experiences or coping skills—tell ourselves way too many negative thoughts. We ruminate, thinking the same negative, unproductive thoughts over and over.

With intent and practice, you can create another path. Psychologists call the technique cognitive reappraisal. The result will be stronger neural networks devoted to positive thoughts, or a happier brain.

People who do this have better mental health and more life satisfaction, and even better-functioning hearts, research shows. This technique is at the heart of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy practiced by many psychologists. The good news is that you can practice it at home.

Try it…what have you got to lose….

You can read the full article here.



Do you worry? I do; in fact, I’d wager most of us do to one extent or the other. Some of us even worry that we worry. Whew!

Turns out I’m not alone. Two out of five Americans say they worry every day, according to a new report. Among the findings in the “Worry Less Report:” Millennials worry about money. Single people worry about housing (and money). Women generally worry more than men do and often about interpersonal relationships. The good news: Everyone worries less as they get older.

If you’re worried about your worrying, the report suggests some coping strategies, including:

Divide and conquer Try to come up with a solution to a worrisome problem by breaking it down into four parts: defining the problem, clarifying your goals, generating solutions and experimenting with solutions. Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm, the report suggests. Studies have shown this approach can help ease depression and anxiety.

Practice mindfulness Choose a routine activity or part of the day and try to experience it fully. Set aside concerns, and try to be “in the moment.”

Schedule a worry session Pick a designated time of day to mull your problems. If a worrying thought enters your mind outside of your scheduled worry session, jot it down so you can think about it during your scheduled worry time. Then get back to your day.

Practice accepting uncertainty Notice your thoughts and label them (as in, “there is the thought that I can’t manage”). Let go of tension in your body; soften your forehead, drop your shoulders and relax your grip.

Read more of this killer-good article here…and you may find you’re worrying less….:)

In the Zone


Mindfulness meditation is sweeping the country. But more people want to embrace this practice than actually do. Why? It’s simple – time.

Most of us who enjoy what mindfulness brings us look for ways to squeeze it into our already too-busy lives. Therein lies the challenge.

Matthew May offers some killer-good tips regarding how to mainstream this practice without stopping your life. Here’s part of what he shares:

In a recent seminar I gave for over 100 business professionals, I asked the participants to play a simple word association game with me: “I say mindfulness, you say ________.” The word that rang out in unison was, of course, “meditation.”

Mindfulness, it seems, has become a mainstream business practice and a kind of industry in its own right. Meditation instructors are the new management gurus, and companies including Google, General Electric, Ford Motor and American Express are sending their employees to classes that can run up to $50,000 for a large audience. Many mindfulness apps exist, nearly all of which focus on “mindfulness meditation.”

The proliferation of meditation in the name of mindfulness and the combination of the two terms naturally lead people to equate the two. Mistakenly so.

By most definitions, mindfulness is a higher-order attention that involves noticing changes around us and fully experiencing them in real time. This puts us in the present, aware and responsive, making everything fresh and new again.

You can read the full article here



News flash: We’re all aging! While what’s below is aimed primarily at fellow baby-boomers, if you’re not quite in that cohort, give yourself some time. What to do about it? Here’s what Gerald Marzorati has to say about it in his above-the-fold, killer-good piece in a recent New York Times Sunday Review piece:

Sixty is not the new 40. Fifty isn’t either. Your lung capacity in late-middle age is in steady decline, as are the fast-twitch muscle fibers that provide power and speed. Your heart capacity has been ebbing for decades. Your sight has been getting worse, your other senses, too, and this, along with a gradually receding ability to integrate information you are absorbing and to then issue motor commands, means your balance is not what it used to be. (Your flattening arches aren’t helping.) Your prefrontal cortex — where the concentrating and deciding gets done — has been shrinking for some time, perhaps since you graduated from college. More of your career (more of your life) is behind you than in front of you. Do not kid yourself about this. You are milling in the anteroom of the aged.

You can have something done with those sags and creases deepening on the face that greets you in the mirror each morning, but I’m not sure whom you are fooling. You can do the crossword and mind puzzles, stretch, take long walks: There is evidence that these activities correlate with keeping memory loss and, you know, death at bay, for a while longer: two, four, six years. Maybe.

Let me suggest something that might do all of these things — which is to say, might not — but will, as nothing else will, provide you with a deeply satisfying sense of yourself that you did have when you were much, much younger. Find something — something new, something difficult — to immerse yourself in and improve at.

Read more of this absolutely on-point article here:

On Memorial Day, it’s important we remember those who put their lives on the line…

On Memorial Day, it’s important we remember those who put their lives on the line to underwrite the freedoms we hold so dear.

We will only have the last of our World War II veterans with us for a few more short years. This short video shares what it meant to one of these vets to have the privilege of fighting for his country.