Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Are we all mad? In his book Back to Sanity, psychologist Steve Taylor claims we are

In Back to Sanity Steve Taylor (Leeds Metropolitan University) suggests that the human race is suffering from a psychological disorder, which he has coined ‘humania’. The book provides a fascinating exploration of the madness of human beings – both as individuals and collectively - and explains how we can begin to heal this madness, and create a saner world.

Taylor argues that this madness is so intrinsic to us, we aren’t even aware of it, but that when you start to examine our behaviour it isn’t hard to see evidence of insanity. Why for example are so many of us driven to accumulate more and more wealth, status and success without any evidence that they provide us with contentment and fulfillment? Why are we restless or uneasy when not occupied, and constantly looking for distraction, as if we are incapable of just ‘being’? And on a collective level, why is human history an endless, depressing saga of warfare, conflict and oppression? We now live in an age where the world’s three richest people are wealthier than the 48 poorest countries combined, and where almost 800 million people are malnourished while millions of others are obese – as Taylor says, ‘what could be more insane than this?’

Taylor argues that humania is the root cause of all our dysfunctional behaviour, both as individuals and as a species. The first part of the book explores the madness of human beings, looking at the symptoms of humania:

- Living outside of ourselves: our inability to just ‘be’ and our need to immerse our attention in something external – TV, radio, the internet or anything else that will distract us from that sense of ‘lack’ we feel when unoccupied.
- ‘Thought Chatter’: the constant stream of thoughts that whizz around our head, taking us away from the moment and often leaving us feeling unsettled and uneasy – that feeling that ‘something’ is amiss.
- Elsewhereness: our inability to give our full attention to the present and really live each experience (is the bride who spends hours getting ready and several more hours being photographed actually at her wedding, or is she already in the future, looking at the photographs in years to come?)
- Looking forward: we spend our lives ‘looking forward’ to things, not to enjoy them more but as a strategy for escaping from the present.
- The madness of constant wanting: our pursuit of increased status and wealth and the idea that we can buy our way into happiness.
- The collective madness of warfare, colonialism, inequality and social oppression (including the oppression of the female half of the human race): this collective pathological behavior can be seen as the result of the desire for wealth and status together with a lack of ability to empathize with other groups.
- The collective madness of environmental destruction: would a sane species see the natural world as nothing more than a supply of resources to exploit, and be destroying the life-support systems of our planet with such abandon?
- Group identity: because of a deep-rooted sense of insecurity, human beings have a strong need for identity and belonging, which manifests itself in ethnicism, nationalism, religious fundamentalism and other types of group identity, which lead to rivalry and conflict with other groups.

In the second part of the book Taylor explains how to overcome this psychosocial discord. Taylor suggests practices and ways of living – including practical exercises – to help create a more harmonious inner state, so that we can begin to live inside ourselves, in the present and attain a real state of sanity.

‘Taylor is right: humans are mad as cheese. Back to Sanity shows us how to make a sandwich out of our madness and enjoy the meal.’ Oliver James, author of Affluenza

Steve Taylor is a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University and the bestselling author of several books on spirituality and psychology, including The Fall, Waking from Sleep and Out of the Darkness, which was recently featured on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. He lives in Manchester with his wife and three young children.

Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of Our Minds by Steve Taylor is published on 25th June 2012, £10.99 paperback, also available as an e-Book.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

New Short Story Collection Paints Historic and Personal Portraits


Authors Clark Hawkins and Geraldine “Gerri” Bianchi Wolfe co-write unique book of short stories

Clark Hawkins and Geraldine “Gerri” Bianchi Wolfe offer “Through the Window: A Diverse Collection of the Past and Present” (published by Trafford Publishing) a new book of short stories drawing from the history and their own life experiences.

In “Through the Window” Hawkins and Bianchi Wolfe share stories touching on a broad range of subjects, settings, characters and themes. They introduce readers to a young lieutenant in the 1950s, a sister who recounts her brother’s experiences in Vietnam, and a soldier who returns home after going to war.
Hawkins and Bianchi Wolfe use the short stories to explore human nature, writing with humor and irony about humanity’s faults, foibles and innocence. The book also takes a somewhat unexpected turn, casting its explorative eye on books and literature.

“We are all products of our past whether it be a positive or negative influence,” says Bianchi Wolfe. She and Hawkins hope readers find inspiration in the characters’ ability to meet their obligations and struggles with honor and dignity.

FACTFILE:
Clark Hawkins grew up in the small Penn. towns of Dagus Mines, Toby and Kersey. In later years, he divided his time between Toby Valley and Gilbert, Ariz. Hawkins received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Penn State University and his Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University.

He taught at the University of Arizona, New Mexico State University, University of Arkansas and Florida State University. While at Florida State, Hawkins, along with Charles L. Hubberd, coauthored the book “Theory of Valuation” in 1969. Hawkins was invited to present his extensive financial and investment background expertise to universities and institutions of higher learning throughout the country and the world. Throughout his career, Hawkins conducted continuous, extensive research in the area of utility regulations, specifically gas price regulation.

Geraldine “Gerri” Bianchi Wolfe grew up in Dagus Mines, Penn., and she presently resides in the nearby town of St. Marys. Bianchi Wolfe received her bachelor’s degree in the field of secondary English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and completed her graduate work at Clarion and Penn State Universities. Bianchi Wolfe, a retired educator from the St. Marys Area School District, is an active member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association-Retirees, Seneca Highlands, serves on the governing board of the Office of Human Services, is president of the Fox Township Senior Center, and is actively involved in various other community and church organisations.

Trafford Publishing, an Author Solutions, Inc. author services imprint, was the first publisher in the world to offer an “on-demand publishing service,” and has led the independent publishing revolution since its establishment in 1995. Trafford was also one of the earliest publishers to utilise the Internet for selling books. Over 10,000 authors from over 120 countries have utilised Trafford’s experience for self publishing their books. For more information about Trafford Publishing, or to publish your book today, call 1-888-232-4444 or visit www.trafford.com.

New Memoir Explores Author’s Life of Struggles

Author Jean Alexander shares his dark memories and triumphant victories.

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. – In Jean Alexander’s new memoir “Fear My Surrounding” (published by iUniverse), he shares his journey as a Haitian-born boy who overcame difficult circumstances, immigrated to the United States and started his life anew.

Alexander shares memories of horrendous acts from his time growing up in Haiti. As he explains, he witnessed the mass murder of women and children whose lives were cut short because of political beliefs or opinions. These horrendous experiences were never able to stifle his determination to overcome his circumstances and strive to find his true purpose in life.

An excerpt from “Fear My Surrounding”:
“I’m in disarray, angry at society’s treatment of humankind. I believe society is the main culprit to the destructive path the world is on. Things will only get worse unless each and every one of us, individually, takes responsibility for our actions and capitalizes on past mistakes. Looking forward, we need to be optimistic toward the future and make our environment a better place. Otherwise, we will drive our world to the brink of extinction.”

According to Alexander, some of his darkest moments were manifestations of the fear and anxiety his environment caused him to feel – emotions amplified by his struggles with social anxiety disorder. In Haiti and later in his life in the United States after reuniting with his mother, Alexander learned to rely on his inner strength to survive.

“Fear My Surrounding” shares the inspirational story of how one man faced countless ordeals, yet somehow managed to reach his full potential by believing in himself, dreaming big, and never underestimating the power of the human will.

About the Author
Jean Alexander was born in Haiti in the midst of political turmoil. He settled in the United States in 1997. He lives in New Jersey with his family. “Fear My Surrounding” is his first book.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on BarnesandNoble.com. iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit iuniverse.com or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebooks on Twitter.

New Children’s Book Finds Value in the Little Things



Author Delores Allan pens “Magical Moments with Roy and Toni”

In her new children’s storybook “Magical Moments with Roy and Toni: Come on Let’s Go” (published by AuthorHouse), Delores Allan shares a delightful story teaching young readers to be grateful for the little things in life around them.

Set on a Midwestern farm in the late ′40s to early ′50s, “Magical Moments with Roy and Toni” tells the story of an older couple – Roy and Toni – who love spending time with children. They always remain playful, fun and have a great sense of humor, helping children to appreciate the simple pleasures in life and to take in the beauty of nature and the wonderful things in day-to-day life.

“People today are looking for ways to bring some of the values back into our society and children’s lives,” says Allan. “These books have subtle lessons in them that encourage those values that have somehow gotten lost in our hustle and bustle world.”

Allan hopes the book shows young readers that the best things in life are free and that magical moments are everywhere. The simple story and colorful illustrations will grab young readers’ attention, and the lessons will stay with them each time they take a moment to appreciate their surroundings.

FACTFILEL
Author Delores Allan has a country home in the Midwest. She is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Allan enjoys reading, writing, gardening and spending time with family and friends. She loves telling stories to the small children in her life – a love which inspired her to pick up a pen and put her stories down on paper.

Allan is a Golden Quill award winner, having won the honour for a short story she wrote in college. She plans on continuing to follow her passion to write children’s book and touch the hearts of children everywhere. “Magical Moments with Roy and Toni: Come on Let’s Go” is a five part series of books from Allan.

AuthorHouse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is a leading provider of book publishing, marketing, and bookselling services for authors around the globe and offers the industry’s only suite of Hollywood book-to-film services.

Committed to providing the highest level of customer service, AuthorHouse assigns each author personal publishing and marketing consultants who provide guidance throughout the process. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, AuthorHouse celebrated 15 years of service to authors in Sept. 2011.

For more information or to publish a book visit www.authorhouse.com or call 1-888-519-5121. For the latest, follow @authorhouse on Twitter.