This book is a unique contribution to the understanding of how our minds, brains and relationships develop and interrelate. Although titled a pocket guide, (you will need a big pocket) it is actually an incredible and rich resource for exploring this new territory.
Dr Dan Siegel is well known as a gifted researcher and writer in the growing field of understanding what the mind actually is and what is consciousness. In his clear and inventive way he created and named the field of interpersonal neurobiology. This field explores the science of how mind and consciousness actually develop within the world of social interactions.
Understanding the complexity of how our minds form and function and interrelate with others is critically important to improving our capacity to function in the world and our own personal growth as emphatic beings. Although there are many books trying to explain this new field, this book is a special guide to these topics.
In many ways he ventures into areas that we know exist, take for granted but don't truly understand. We know we can be "aware" of things and that we have feelings and emotions, but what is really going on? What actually is awareness? And how does it work? What is a thought? What is consciousness? and how are these all interrelated? And how does one person's being truly affect the mind and being of another.
Neuroscience is giving us new tools and information about the nature of the brain and the mind. Dr Siegel has written several books and speaks often on the importance of developing an understanding of how our minds work. (See his web site for more info and videos drdansiegel.com) Increasing our understanding is not only so that we can be more knowledgeable about science but also by understanding the complexity of mind we can become better in working with others and to better to ourselves.
Dr Siegel has the unique talent to describe and explains these areas and in this latest and much needed book. He helps bring a deeper understanding to anyone interested in learning more about these areas. But this book is not a research manual (see The Developing Mind); this is a special guide to the basic questions.
This book is actually written in the form of a travel guide. And as you might pick up a guidebook when visiting a new city and wished to discover and learn more on many levels. This book provides the opportunity to see the overview and to explore the richness of understanding the complex workings our own mental capacities.
It is written so that it can be read sequentially or you can jump around to explore for yourself and gather more information about a particular concept and see the connections just as you might when exploring a new city and would cross reference places of interest and see their interrelatedness.
It is written so that you can gain greater understanding about the basic concepts and it provides the links to how these interrelate and are integrated into bigger pictures of understanding our capacities to experience life. It takes a moment to get used to but it is well worth the effort.
It has a vast glossary, which is incredibly useful because we are all venturing into new territory as we explore the mind. It is often necessary and useful to go back to deepen your understanding. Like walking with a good tour guide, he points out, describes and explains the beauty and magic that we are all a part of. And like a good guide to the new discoveries in neurobiology he offers information on how the concepts and models are interrelated and what the implications are.
The fact is Dr Dan Siegel is actually a remarkable guide to this new science. I both enjoy and find myself continually marveling at his gift for explaining difficult concepts in clear language. Sometimes reading him is like reading Shakespeare.
He has a unique way of stating observations about the human condition and the newest scientific discoveries in almost poetic fashion. He points out and describes aspects of how our inner experience may work. And like great writers and thinkers you can keep rereading him to discover even deeper understandings, nuances and implications of the subject.
This book is valuable to a wide range of readers: professionals who are in the helping professions, organizers of business or social programs, educators and parents. Actually it is written for anyone who is curious about what our minds are, what thoughts are, and what consciousness is.
This is a much-needed guidebook to this complex and evolving area. It is an essential part of anyone's library on understanding the current science of the human mind. And it is incredibly useful for anyone curious in understanding how we actually connect with one another (how one mind actually affects another human mind) and how this can help us create a better life for ourselves individually and greater empathic relationships. And perhaps, a better world.
Laurence Drell, MD