~~ Wisdom's Way ~~
Quotations for Contemplation
classic works in psychology
Love or power -- these are the opposing poles of a choice every child is compelled to make, very early in its life, in a drama that sets it irrevocably on its path through life. This startling new insight into a formative experience fundamental to our development is the subject of Dr. Arno Gruen's pathbreaking contribution to the psychoanalytic view of the human soul, and what distorts it into pathology.
Insanity of Normality: Toward Understanding
In The Insanity of Normality, the psychoanalyst Arno Gruen challenges the assumption, made popular by Freud in the twentieth century, that humans are born with an innate tendency to destruction and violence. Gruen argues instead that at the root of evil lies self-hatred, a rage originating in a self-betrayal that begins in childhood, when autonomy is surrendered in exchange for the "love" of those who wield power over us. To share in that subjugating power, we create a false self, a pleasing-to-others image of ourselves that springs from powerful and deep-seated hopes for love and fears of being injured and humiliated.
B O O K S F O R S A L E (***some free PDFs available):
The Seven Challenges approach to new communication skills -- Books by Dennis Rivers ***
Books by Arno Gruen Dr. Gruen's books explore the tangled web of feelings about coercion, conformity, rebellion and violence against which people struggle in their quest to become more fully human.
Listening -- explorations of the process and power of listening
Business & Work -- communication and negotiation on the job
Forgiveness -- from personal healing to political transformation
Integrative -- home + work + relationships + personal growth
Parenting -- communication and relationship advice for parents
Partnering -- communication and relationship advice for couples
Psychotherapy -- books that address the emotional significance of how we listen, how we express ourselves and how we shape our lives with stories. Also, how our styles of relating to people and coping with stress influence our physical and emotional well-being. Books by Dave Richo, PhD, Jungian psychotherapist.
Violence -- Origins of violence, psychology of violence, problem of violence (all the other sections of this online bookstore can be considered remedies to violence).
P U B L I C S E R V I C E W E B S I T E S:
Intergalactic Ambulance Wing
Seven Challenges: A Workbook and Reader About Communicating More Cooperatively. By Dennis Rivers. Free, PDF e-book copies of this 100-page book are available at www.newconversations.net/workbook/ (Also En EspaŮol: Los Siete Retos Em PortuguÍs: Os sete desafios) Topics include listening more responsively, expressing yourself more clearly, asking questions more creatively and expressing more gratitude. May be reproduced without royalties for home, school and business use. Price for printed copies: $10 spiral bound plus postage. To order printed copies or download PDFs in English, Spanish or Portuguese, click here.
The Geometry of Dialogue: A Visual Way of Understanding Interpersonal Communication and Human Development. By Dennis Rivers. Printed edition of e-book featured for free on the web. Explores the dynamic patterns the unfold within and between people. Relates talking and listening to longterm processes of human development. Supports and explains various chapters in the Seven Challenges Workbook. Click here for extended description. 200 pages, 8.5" x 11", paperback. Printed copies are available for $20 (+ postage) from the Lulu Online Bookstore.
The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice. By Kay Lindahl, teacher and writer. A series of personal meditations on what it means to listen with an open heart. Designed to illumine your spiritual journey, this book provides access to a new way of listening -- to Source, to self and to others. (List price, appx $16.00 ISBN 1893361446. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.) Also, see Kay Lindahl's beautiful web site with a visual meditation on listening in the form of an animated slide show.
FREE >> Compassionate Listening: An Exploratory Sourcebook About Conflict Transformation (25 pages), by Gene Knudsen Hoffman, Leah Green and Cynthia Monroe. Edited by and with an introduction by Dennis Rivers.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (2nd ed.), by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton. New York: Penguin Books. 1991. If these folks did not invent the idea of "win-win" solutions, they deserve credit for popularizing it around the world. They propose that by under- standing your own long-term interests better and by understanding your bargaining opponent's long-term interests, you can work toward agreements in which everyone gets more of what they want and need. These kinds of agreements take more work to create but they are more likely to last than simple "split the difference" compromises. A great introduction to negotiation with examples from business and politics. According to John Kenneth Galbraith, "This is by far the best thing I've ever read about negotiation. It is equally relevant for the individual who would like to keep his friends, property, and income and the statesman who would like to keep the peace." (Price: appx. $13.00. ISBN: 0140157352. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
Getting Past No : Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation by William Ury. Excerpt from Amazon.com review: This a must read for anyone that interacts with people. William Ury has written a very practical, easily read, guide and process that anyone can use right from the start. Not just a 'business guide', his five step process is easily applied to everyday situations and with practice is a foundation for much larger negotiations. The principles are well defined via a five step process that is demonstrated through examples that are fresh, relevant, understood by common association. Much effort has been made to make this text even more memorable than 'Getting to Yes.' Gearing concepts through example gives the reader a sense of self mastery without having to memorize lists. The framework builds upon itself with frequent review of previously introduced terms. From business to interpersonal communication, this book has something for everyone. (Price: appx. $15.00. ISBN: 0553371312. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen & Roger Fisher. Excerpt from Amazon.com review: We've all been there: We know we must confront a coworker, store clerk, or friend about some especially sticky situation--and we know the encounter will be uncomfortable. So we repeatedly mull it over until we can no longer put it off, and then finally stumble through the confrontation. Difficult Conversationsoffers advice for handling these unpleasant exchanges in a manner that accomplishes their objective and diminishes the possibility that anyone will be needlessly hurt. The authors, associated with Harvard Law School and the Harvard Project on Negotiation, show how such dialogues actually comprise three separate components: the "what happened" conversation (verbalizing what we believe really was said and done), the "feelings" conversation (communicating and acknowledging each party's emotional impact), and the "identity" conversation (expressing the situation's underlying personal meaning). (Price: appx. $16/new, $8/used. ISBN: 014028852X. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Apply the Astonishing Power of Positive Reinforcement by Aubrey C. Daniels. Daniels' book is controversial because he discusses motivating people with rewards, recognition and organizational programs that try to express systematic appreciation for jobs well done. Some people have objected that this is treating employees like trainable animals: throwing a fish to the performing dolphin. The problem is that organizations are always conditioning their employees in one way or another; any structured environment does that. So this book recommends that companies take responsibility for steering the conditioning processes that are at work every day. The most important issue here is that people who cause problems often get most of the attention in organizations, and people who try hard and perform well often get ignored and taken for granted. The high performing folks then get frustrated and leave, because their basic need for recognition is not being met. And when they do leave, the organization suffers. The idea of managing by correcting mistakes and "keeping people in line" has such a strong grip on so many managers that it will probably take radical programs like Daniels' to get people on the road toward managing by rewarding excellence. Review by Dennis Rivers. (Price: appx. $22/new. ISBN: 0071351450. Click on one of the buttons below to ordera new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
Forgiveness: Breaking the Chain of Hate, by Michael Henderson. These heart-moving stories from around the world will permanently expand your sense of what is possible between people.
Excerpt from Gene Knudsen Hoffman's review:
"There is a way the world can change from war to peace, from hatred to love. It requires a lot of effort, a lot of understanding, and it begins at home. For centuries we've been told to practice it, that it's healing for ourselves and the other, that it's a way to manifest love and courage. It brings peace to the participants. It is a brave and noble thing to do, and -- it can be very costly, costly to pride, to arrogance, to fear, to hate. Michael Henderson has written the definitive book on it and it's called: Forgiveness. Of it Desmond Tutu wrote, `A deeply moving and eloquent testimony to the power of forgiveness in the life of individuals, of communities, and between and within nations. It effects change -- a powerful book.` " [FULL REVIEW] (Price: appx. $15/new, $8/used. ISBN: 014028852X. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
Forgive for Good, by Fred Luskin, PhD. With clear and gentle steps, Dr. Luskin with guide you to "take your hurt less personally, take responsibility for how you feel, and become a hero instead of a victim in the story you tell." Here is a brief review comment by Jan Sollish posted on Amazon: " Forgive for Good is an invaluable tool for just about everyone. The methods Dr. Luskin teaches through his book are clear, easy to understand and implement, and incredibly powerful. The chapter in which he describes his work with the women from Northern Ireland who had lost loved ones in the fighting is so moving as to be life altering. The pain of these women, the horror of their experience, and finally their subsequent relief from some of the emotional pain they have carried for years is simply amazing. For me, this book combined a practicality of everyday life with a gentle spirituality. I have already bought it for several friends and plan to use it as a tool in my life as well." (Price: appx. $12/new, $7/used. ISBN: 006251721X. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
MESSAGES: The Communication
Skills Book, by Matthew McKay, Martha Davis and
Patrick Fanning. Oakland: New Harbinger.
1983. This book is an easy-to-read but
comprehensive introduction to the many-faceted process
of interpersonal communication at home and at
work. Among the many topics it introduces, it
includes chapters on self-expression, fighting fairly,
assertiveness and negotiation. (Price: appx.
$16.00. ISBN: 1572240229. Click on one of
the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our
Amazon Books Link.)
The Talk Book: The Intimate Science of Communicating in Close Relationships, by Gerald Goodman and Glen Esterly. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. 1988. (This fine book is out of print but used copies are available from Amazon for approximately $1.00!) This book presents Goodman's vision of the six most important "Talk Tools." His chapters include lively transcripts of phone conversations showing exactly how the "Talk Tools" can help. The principles discussed are applied in both work and family contexts. Includes a great reference section that will introduce you to the most interesting and promising work in the area of interpersonal communication studies. (Look for this book at your local library, order used copy [$1-$4] by clicking on the button below, or order from UCLA Academic Publishing Service at (310) 825-2831. Price: $20.50, postage included.)
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen
& Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine
Mazlish. New York: Avon Books. 1980.
A book for parents and everyone who wants to improve
their communication with kids. Full of
wonderfully informative cartoon sequences illustrating
the major points. (Price: appx. $12.50. ISBN:
0380570009. Click on title to order a new or used copy
from our Amazon Books Link.)
Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic. by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka Review from Amazon.com: Recently, temperament traits have come to the forefront of child development theory. In Raising Your Spirited Child, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's first contribution is to redefine the "difficult child" as the "spirited" child, a child that is, as she says, MORE. Many people are leery about books that are too quick to "type" kids, but Kurcinka, a parent of a spirited child herself and a parent educator for 20 years, doesn't fall into that trap. Instead, she provides tools to understanding your own temperament as well as your child's. When you understand your temperamental matches--and your mismatches--you can better understand, work, live, socialize, and enjoy spirit in your child. By reframing challenging temperamental qualities in a positive way, and by giving readers specific tools to work with these qualities, Kurcinka has provided a book that will help all parents, especially the parents of spirited children, understand and better parent their children. (Price: appx. $13/new, $6/used. ISBN: 0060923288. Click on title to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
by John M. Gottman, Joan Declaire, Daniel P. Goleman
* Be aware of
a child's emotions
Written for parents of children of all ages, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child will enrich the bonds between parent and child and contribute immeasurably to the development of a generation of emotionally healthy adults.
Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You? by Jordan and Margaret Paul. (Minneapolis: CompCare Publishers. 1983.) This book is built around the concept of courageous honesty and the psychological insight that, in order to feel close, partners need to tell one another the truth about what they are thinking and feeling. The peace that a couple buys by avoiding difficult issues will eventually destroy the relationship they hope to protect. "The most important, useful and powerful book I have read on couple therapy since Virginia Satirs Conjoint Family Therapy. One of the rare books that is both useful to the lay audience and indispensable for the clinician." DENNIS JAFFE, PH.D., author of "Healing From Within" (Out of print, but many used copies available for less than $2. ISBN: 1568380682. Click button below to order a used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
Light in the Mirror (Ramira Publishing, Aptos, CA. 1995.),
by Joyce and Barry Vissell, is subtitled "A New Way to
Understand Relationships." Books of this nature are
myriad. What distinguishes the Vissell's book from
others is that it is grounded in the one place that
truly creates understanding and thus cooperative
communication - the place of vulnerability. Much of
the advice and guidance in self-help and mainstream
psychology is predicated on communicational technique
but technique, absent a true commitment to honesty and
self-disclosure about feelings, cannot be effective.
For any technique to work, there must be an underlying
openness to change which can only happen when two
people are willing to share with each other their
fears, doubts, uncertainties, shames and guilts - in
short - their vulnerability. And this kind of sharing
often doesn't happen because one or both people are
afraid the other will use their vulnerability as
ammunition during times of disagreement.
(Price: appx. $16/new, $6/used. ISBN: 0961272058. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy, by Carl R. Rogers. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1995.) A classic (first published in 1961), scholarly but very readable book on the challenges of becoming a more authentic person who is open to new experience. Rogers was a pioneer advocate of the healing power of supportive listening in both psychotherapy and everyday life. His most revolutionary idea was that Therapist did not have to 'fix' the client; if Therapist simply provided a deeply accepting environment and LISTENED, the client's own sense of inner rightness would come into play and guide the client to find a solution that was right for him/her. (Price: appx. $15.00. ISBN: 039575531X. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
Narrative Therapy: The Social
Love & Survival : 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health, by Dean Ornish, MD. (New York: HarperCollins. 1998.) If you are wondering about how much energy to put into close, nurturing relationships, this book will provide you with a mountain of amazing evidence that supportive relationships make a life and death difference in people's lives. As Dr. Andrew Weil comments, "This is the most important book ever written about love and health." (List price, appx $16.00 ISBN: 0060930209. Click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from our Amazon Books Link.)
The Varieties of Religions Experience. William James (1902)
(free PDF available, new and used copies available for less than $10)
Free copy: In addition to offering a link to Amazon, we are happy to offer the public a free, carefully annotated, PDF e-book edition of William James' classic study, The Varieties of Religious Experience. This web edition of the book was prepared by LeRoy L. Miller for a course given at Brooks Divinity School, Denver, Colorado, in June, 1999. We would like to express our deep appreciation to Mr. Miller for his extensive work in making this text available to new generations of spiritual seekers (complete with explanatory notes where James makes reference to authors current in 1902). If you are already familiar with downloading PDF files, you can download the PDF edition of the book by clicking here. Otherwise, please follow the instructions in the download guide.
Books on the spiritual life written
or edited by Dennis Rivers:
Liberation Theology online library and bookstore, includes many free articles and a few free books, plus many links to books at Amazon.com.
Intergalactic Ambulance Wing (www.beamdown.org)
The Insanity of Normality:
one of the most insightful books ever
written about violence
In The Insanity of Normality, the psychoanalyst Arno Gruen challenges the assumption, made popular by Freud in the twentieth century, that humans are born with an innate tendency to destruction and violence. Gruen argues instead that at the root of evil lies self-hatred, a rage originating in a self-betrayal that begins in childhood, when autonomy is surrendered in exchange for the "love" of those who wield power over us. To share in that subjugating power, we create a false self, a pleasing-to-others image of ourselves that springs from powerful and deep-seated hopes of being loved and fears of being injured and humiliated.
Gruen traces this pattern of over-adaptation and smoldering rebellion through a number of case studies, sociological phenomena - from Nazism to Reaganomics - and literary works. The insanity this attitude produces, unfortunately, goes widely unrecognized precisely because it is the same cold, manipulative "realism" that modern society inculcates into its members. Gruen warns, however, that escape from this pattern lies not simply in rebellion, for the rebel remains emotionally tied to the object of his rebellion, but in the development of a personal autonomy. His elegant and far-reaching conclusion is that while autonomy is not easily attained, its absence proves catastrophic to both individual and society.
"With compassion and conviction Dr.
Gruen carefully exposes the undiagnosed and
undisclosed insanity unwittingly accepted as
normality... This is a text for leaders and
followers, for conformists and rebels alike, for
members of the healing professions who seek to
repair the destructive fallout from our pursuit of
normality and for all who strive for a more
compassionate and saner social order."
Preventing Violence -- Prospects for Tomorrow, by James Gilligan. (NewYork: Thames and Hudson. 2001.) In this controversial and compassionate book, the distinguished psychiatrist James Gilligan proposes a radically new way of thinking about violence and how to prevent it. Violence is most often addressed in moral and legal terms: "How evil is this action, and how much punishment does it deserve?" Unfortunately, this way of thinking, the basis for our legal and political institutions, does nothing to shed light on the causes of violence. Violent criminals have been Gilligan's teachers, and he has been their student. Prisons are microcosms of the societies in which they exist, and by examining them in detail, we can learn about society as a whole. Gilligan suggests treating violence as a public health problem. He advocates initiating radical social and economic change to attack the root causes of violence, focusing on those at increased risk of becoming violent, and dealing with those who are already violent as if they were in quarantine rather than in constraint for their punishment and for society's revenge. The twentieth century was steeped in violence. If we attempt to understand the violence of individuals, we may come to prevent the collective violence that threatens our future far more than all the individual crimes put together. (Price: appx. $19.00. ISBN: 039575531X. Look for this book at your local library, order from your favorite local bookstore or click on one of the buttons below to order a new or used copy from the NewConversations+Amazon Books Link.)
Please come back soon to see more interesting books!
Welcome. Listed on this and associated pages you will find our preliminary selection of some of the best books available (some reviewers say the best books ever written!) on interpersonal communication, human development and relationship building. Whenever possible I try to locate and offer here significant books that are available free of chage in PDF format, starting with William James enduring classic, The Varieties of Religious Experience. Most of the books shown here are also available for purchase in printed format through links with Amazon, Trafford, and from Human Development Books through our book printer, Lulu.com. In the coming years I intend to add many more books to the list from a wide range of sources, to help carry forward the visions of humanistic and liberation psychology into this century. So please stop by from time to time to see what is new.
Full personhood, a theme worth developing... Over the past twenty years, I have become convinced that the idea of development, the orderly unfolding of awareness and ability, is one of the most important ideas in the history of human thought. The idea of human development gives rise to many other powerful, energizing thoughts, foremost among them being efforts to understand full personhood and efforts to understand thwarted or frustrated development. I hope the books featured here, including those that I have written, will encourage you to continue your journey of personal development, and encourage you to participate more consciously and creatively in the development of humanity.
Dennis Rivers, September 2005