Books to Watch | December 14, 2021
December 14, 2021
We are in the homestretch of our awards season, so our Staff Picks and Books to Watch feature will be on a sort of hiatus while we buckle down on our deliberations. We are still picking the books we are most excited about for our Books to Watch each week, but we will be using the publisher’s jacket copy instead of writing our own words about the books.
This week, our choices are:
Everyday Trauma: Remapping the Brain's Response to Stress, Anxiety, and Painful Memories for a Better Life by Tracey Shors, PhD, Flatiron Books (GMC)
A neuroscientist explores how trauma impacts the brain, especially for women—and how we can learn to heal ourselves
Everyone experiences trauma. Whether a specific harrowing event or a series of stressful moments that culminate over time, trauma can echo and etch itself into our brain as we remember it again and again throughout our lives.
In Everyday Traumas, neuroscientist Dr. Tracey Shors examines trauma with a focus on its pervasive nature—how it can happen at any time, through big or small events, and often reappears in the form of encoded memory. Her research reveals that when we are reminded of our trauma, reliving that tragic moment copies yet another memory of it in our brain, making it that much more difficult to forget. Dr. Shors also explores the neuroscience behind why women in particular are more vulnerable to stress and traumatic events, setting them up to be three times more likely than men to suffer PTSD.
With potential long-term consequences such as addiction, anxiety, depression, and PTSD, trauma can have a lasting impact on both the brain and body. Dr. Shors illuminates the effective tools that can reduce the repetitive thoughts that reinforce our traumas, including cognitive-based therapies and trauma-informed care such as her own groundbreaking program, a combination of mental and physical training called MAP Training.
By understanding how our brain responds to trauma and practicing proven techniques that can train our brains and help us let go of our tragic memories—whatever they may be—we are better equipped to leave our traumatic pasts behind and live in a brighter present.
Fixed.: How to Perfect the Fine Art of Problem Solving by Amy E. Herman, Harper Wave (DJJS)
An art historian and lawyer who uses works of art to teach us how to hone our perceptions and visual intelligence, presents a paradigm-shattering twist on problem solving that helps us find solutions to the problems we face every day.
As technology has become essential to our daily lives, our reliance on the internet and our electronic devices has exploded , short-circuiting our brains and weakening the critical skills we need to find solutions to difficult issues. Amy Herman has developed a unique approach to problem solving that uses works of art to revitalize our minds and help us think creatively. She’s trained thousands of people from organizations around the world, including the FBI, CIA, Navy SEALs, the IMF, Scotland Yard, Interpol, and the State Department.
In Fixed., Herman outlines her step-by-step approach, providing a fresh set of tools to help us kickstart our critical thinking skills and enable us to find solutions to some our most intractable problems. Herman explains the artist’s use of the creative process and teaches us how to analyze paintings, sculpture, mixed media, photography, and contemporary art. By learning how to look at these works more astutely, we hone our powers of perception and discover deep-seated truths about ourselves that often prevent clear-thinking and optimal decision making. Once we recognize our biases, we can overcome them and see solutions we were previously blind to. Herman’s approach doesn’t take an art degree—only the willingness to open our eyes and our minds.
Things go wrong all the time. Fixed. offers an innovative and proven way to see problems differently—and craft better solutions for productivity, profit and peace.
How to Be Online and Also Be Happy by Issy Beech, Hardie Grant (GMC)
Cultivate a healthy, meaningful relationship with the internet. How to Be Online and Also Be Happy is your playful guide to using the internet in a rewarding, productive and meaningful way.
While spending time online can be one of the most fulfilling aspects of our lives, it’s also a source of great discontent, addiction and anxiety. But there’s no reason to believe that the internet itself is making us sad, it's the way we are using and engaging with it.
How to Be Online and Also Be Happy will teach you how to cultivate a conscientious and good-feeling relationship with the internet and social media. Offering tips and advice to help you approach this landscape, former internet addict Issy Beech will teach you how to set boundaries with your devices and show you how you can engage more purposefully, ultimately teaching you how to use the World Wide Web to make you happier.
The Survive the Modern World series tackles big subjects in a fun and digestible way. The tone is frank and chatty, but the content is comprehensive. Upskill and expand your knowledge with these accessible pocket guides.
The Sleep Fix: Practical, Proven, and Surprising Solutions for Insomnia, Snoring, Shiftwork and More by Diane Macedo, William Morrow (EPP)
From renowned ABC News anchor/correspondent and former insomniac Diane Macedo, comes a practical, user-friendly guide to getting better sleep. The Sleep Fix flips the switch on common advice, illuminating the reporter’s relentless search for how to get a good night’s sleep and the surprising, scientific, and practical solutions she found along the way.
Roughly thirty percent of the population is estimated to have sleep troubles. ABC anchor/correspondent Diane Macedo—a former insomniac herself—understands the struggle. Now, in The Sleep Fix, Macedo presents perspective-shifting research and easy-to-implement solutions to help millions of people finally get the shut-eye they need.
After all, our health and well-being depend on it. Everything from our heart health to our mental acuity to our blood pressure are influenced by how much—or little—we sleep. As an early morning reporter and an overnight news anchor, Macedo learned this the hard way, struggling for years to get the sleep she so desperately needed, and watching her health deteriorate along the way. But Macedo found the more she embraced typical sleep tips, the worse she slept. So she decided to attack the problem from the ground up, interviewing sleep experts from all over the world to get to the bottom of what really keeps us from sleeping—and the various ways to fix it.
As Macedo explains, the solution to catching zzz’s is not always as simple as giving up caffeine or putting away your phone before bed. Instead she teaches us how to:
- Understand our basic biology
- Identify our sleep obstacles
- Flag sleep myths and separate fact from fiction
- Try counterintuitive approaches
- Shift our mindset
Most importantly, Macedo—a working mom with a busy schedule—teaches us how to adjust and fit these solutions into our everyday lives, rather than upend our lives to fit the solutions. The result is a tell-it-like-it-is guide that combines science and humor to address one of the biggest issues facing Americans today.
Featuring expert wisdom, cutting-edge research, intimate stories from fellow news personalities, and truly actionable advice, The Sleep Fix is the accessible guide insomniacs have been waiting for.