Book spotlight: Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession: Understanding Our Addiction by Michael S. Levy, PhD

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession:
Understanding Our Addiction
by Michael S. Levy, PhD
Category:  Adult non-fiction, 222 pages
Genre:  Psychology
Publisher:  Rowman & LIttlefield
Release date:  August 2015
Available for review in:  Print only
Will send print books:  USA
Tour dates:  Jan 11 to 29, 2016
Content Rating:  PG 13 + M

Book Description:  

“Our celebrity captivation seems out of proportion,” says Michael S. Levy, PhD, addiction expert and author of CELEBRITY & ENTERTAINMENT OBSESSION: Understanding Our Addiction

Dr. Levy wrote CELEBRITY & ENTERTAINMENT OBSESSION to shed light on why we as a society are obsessed with people who work in the entertainment field—movies and television in particular—but singers, musicians sports figures and people on reality TV as well. Dr. Levy, whose previous book, Take Control of Your Drinking…and You May Not Need to Quit, resonated with many people, finds it remarkable that people who work in the entertainment field get more recognition and adoration than a competent brain surgeon who saves people’s lives, or a pathologist who has made inroads in cancer treatment.

This wasn’t always the case. Sixty years ago, a Gallup Poll study showed that people who were most admired included Einstein, Winston Churchill, Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. Not one entertainer, sports star or media personality made the list. Fast-forward to 2000 – 2009 and we have stars like Bono, Tiger Woods, and Denzel Washington making the list.

Dr. Levy can discuss society’s obsession with beauty, how our vulnerability to addiction, our need for idols and our voyeuristic predispositions all contribute to our celebrity obsession as well as:

• How the mass media controls our thinking, the nature of our social intercourse and interactions with each other and our preoccupation with celebrities

• How the media exploits our voyeurism and how our voyeurism serves as a form of distraction and amusement

• Why being entertained has become our primary preoccupation

• Why celebrities’ real-life, off-screen stories get more publicity than anything they have done in their careers

Dr. Levy laments that television news programs focus as much, if not more, on the lives of high-profile celebrities than about other more important issues of the day. He believes that our obsession with entertainers is something to be concerned about since we will have missed opportunities to learn from others who could provide us with valuable ideas and standards for our young people. While the entertainment machine has given us a quick fix to feel good, Dr. Levy asks: “is our obsession with celebrities the best use our time? What will be important to reflect on at the end of our lives: Will it be what we knew about some celebrity or might it be something else?”

Buy the book:  Amazon    Barnes & Noble

Michael S. Levy author pic

Meet the author:   

Michael S. Levy, PhD is a clinical psychologist who is the director of substance use services at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts. He also maintains a private practice in psychotherapy in Andover, Massachusetts and is a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has often been interviewed on radio and television. Levy has published numerous articles and book chapters, gives many lectures and workshops, and is the author of one previous book, Take Control of Your Drinking…And You May Not Need to Quit.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook


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Book review: Healthy Brain, Happy Life by Dr. Wendy Suzuki, PhD

9780857988843Book Description

The key to a happy life . . . is a healthy brain

From the outside, it looked like Dr. Wendy Suzuki had it all. She was a world-renowned neuroscientist. She had been lauded by her peers with many prizes and had produced many highly regarded scientific publications. She had tenure at a top-ranked university, where she also ran her own lab—two of the most difficult and highly coveted positions for any scientist to attain. And yet . . .

Wendy was forty, frumpy, and focused on her work one hundred percent of the time. She was single, overwhelmed by her responsibilities, and often found herself in uncomfortable, strained interactions with everyone around her. To put it simply, Wendy Suzuki needed to change her life.

She set out on a journey that would transform her body, her mind, and her brain. The first step was exercise and creating a regime that would make her body more fit. In the process, Wendy found herself focusing better, working smarter, and getting more accomplished in a shorter amount of time. As her body changed, her determination grew. Wendy set out to build a more vibrant social life, spark her creativity, and engage in meditation and other mindful activities—using her expertise in neuroscience to pinpoint exactly how these actions not only made her brain work better but also made her feel, well, happy. In Healthy Brain, Happy Life, Wendy Suzuki makes the ultimate mind-body-spirit connection and shows that everything she did for her body changed her brain—and her life—for the better.

Healthy Brain, Happy Life is an accessible blend of memoir and science narrative that will transform the way you think about your brain, your health, and your personal happiness. Through both groundbreaking brain research and personal stories, Wendy offers practical and fascinating ways to improve memory, engage the mind more deeply, and learn new skills that will ultimately transform your body and your life.

Buy the book here:   Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Chapters/Indigo

wsuzukiAbout the author:   Wendy Suzuki, PhD, runs an interactive research lab at New York University, where her work has been recognized with numerous awards including the prestigious Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences. Her research has focused on understanding the patterns of brain activity underlying long-term memory and, more recently, how aerobic exercise might improve our learning, memory, and cognitive abilities. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and is regularly interviewed on television and in print about her work on the effects of exercise on brain function. She lectures nationally and internationally on her research and serves as a reviewer for many of the top neuroscience journals. She lives in New York City.

Connect with the author:    Website     Twitter     Facebook

My Review:

It had been a while since I had read a “brainiac book”. I was happy to meet Wendy Suzuki at BEA 2015 and was really excited to begin reading her book. She begins her book with “How a geeky girl fell in love with the brain”. Being a geeky girl myself, this was right up my alley.

What’s nice about the book is that it’s written in layman’s language and the medical explantions, while detailed, are not all that difficult to grasp. Illustrations, photographs and summary boxes eased the flow of information.

I found so much interesting information in this book, as well as a few things that I already knew. I particularly enjoyed the sections explaining how memories are formed and retained, the plasticity of the brain and a brief explanation of brain anatomy.

Wendy recounts her own personal story beginning with her experiences as a young girl, her life in France and subsequent return to the US to study neuroanatomy. Her experiements took her in several directions, including some completely unexpected. One of the exciting things she discovered was the exercise dramatically improves brain function and memory. There is also a chapter that explains how to control psychological stress.

Overall super interesting and a great reference guide to keep in your library.