Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Review of Think and Make It Happen: Good even for psychiatry skeptics

In short, I think that most people would be well served to read Think and Make It Happen (by Dr. Augusto Cury).  Its techniques have the potential to improve quality of life and to help people understand some of the reasons why they may be having particular mental-related issues and how to overcome them.

I was very interested in reading this book based on its description and, in particular, Max Lucado’s comment regarding its psychological analysis of Jesus of Nazareth.  I’m not sure I’ve ever really considered a “psychological” look at Jesus.  As Lucado says, “It sheds new light” on Him.  It also shows how to apply His ways of thinking to our own particular situations.

However, I also approached the book with skepticism.  I’ve never put much stock in psychology.  After reading this book, though, I have a new appreciation for the science of psychology and the lack of preparation that we (the human race) give our children during their schooling and upbringing.  With the increasing number of psychotic episodes experienced in modern times, I think the ideas described in this book are definitely worth exploring.

As stated in the introduction, “we humans are collectively becoming more mentally and emotionally ill.”  The premise behind the book’s chapters is looking at “thinking correctly” and what that encompasses.  Through a series of twelve chapters, the author looks at twelve principles aimed at transforming the reader’s thinking into a more positive, healthy mental atmosphere.  Throughout the book he considers the psychological aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry as well as current applications (examples) from his years of practice as a psychiatrist.  He offers practical ways to integrate the principles into your own thinking as well as exercises aimed at a small-group type setting (in fact, the book can be used as a textbook for a small group and provides assistance for the leader of the group, including suggested time frames and hints for separate stages of the group meetings).

The book is well written with a minimum of typographical or grammatical errors (things that I tend to notice).  There are some places where acronyms are used in ways that they may have been forgotten or not clearly defined, but the index provides a quick reference of the acronyms in use in the book (look there if you’re reading and you forget what something like “AMR” means).

I highly recommend this book – even if you don’t agree with everything in it (I don’t), there is enough present to help explain some of the ways that we think and to provide assistance in overcoming common pitfalls of thinking that can lead to diminished quality of life.  It’s not a “quick cure” kind of thing, but putting the principles the book outlines into practice can help improve your thinking – and your life.


Christy said...

Is this a book you chose to read for pleasure or was it one that you were reviewing? Just curious.

Tony M said...



I read it specifically for the review (Thomas Nelson's "Book Review Blogger" program - pretty neat program), but I selected it specifically from the list of available books, and actually did have interest in reading it (beyond simply for the review).

While I don't necessarily agree with every point he makes, there is a lot of good stuff in there about how we think - and how we should think.

By the way, while not explicitly stated as such, I feel the author is Christian, although he deliberately avoids direct "religious" talk in the book. He had started (a long time ago) researching the "great thinkers" of history: Freud, Jung, Socrates, Plato, Hitler (I think), Jesus, Mohamed... and, when all was said & done, came to realize that there was something special about Jesus - that no "ordinary man" could think the way He did. That is how he came to be a believer of Jesus. Also, the last chapter alludes to the fact that atheism is a self-delusional type of concept, and tends to urge the reader (if this type of person) to rethink that position. Like I said originally, not specifically a call to faith in Jesus, but perhaps a starting point to try to remove the obstacles from an anti-God personality. In other words, if you can get your (hypothetical - I'm not speaking directly at Christy here) atheist friend to read it, it might be one tool to help open his/her mind to further discussions about God, Jesus, and the Good News of the Gospel Message.

Just a thought.

But that's not specifically the intended purpose of this book, rather it's intent is to help overcome some of the mental health issues that are spreading like a plague, and it's a good reminder of what a poor job we're (humanity) doing of raising our kids to be positive thinkers and to not allow them to be "subjects" of their circumstances (and even of their own minds).

Ok, um, did I answer your question?

Tony M said...

PS - I'll let you borrow/have the book, but I'm going to let others in my (immediate) family read it first. Just let me know if you want it after they're done with it.

Ninfa said...

I have to say that is was really neat watching you read this book... okay, not LITERALLY watching you read the book but KNOWING you were reading it. Why? Because you have talked with me several times in the past about your views on some of these things and I know we have not always agreed. That you would willingly read a book like this and be man enough to say, "Hey, I still don't agree with EVERYTHING, but I think I understand a little more than I did" it really neat and shows your growth in Christ to me. Not that this book, will or will not grow you, but that you recognized things about yourself that you needed to change. That is growth. Love you Babe!

Dean Lusk said...

"However, I... approached the book with skepticism. I’ve never put much stock in psychology."

Me, too. This one is on my to-read list; have to do so before I can get another book to read, but for me it's a painfully slow read. Only on the second chapter, still hanging onto my skepticism.

Your review helps a lot. Thanks!

Tony M said...

Yeah, it took me a while, too. Then again, it's not really the kind of book that should be rushed through, so better to do it "slow and methodical" ("plodding"?) than quick and skipping over the thought processes involved.

It does help you understand "how people think" - so, even if a particular malady isn't one of your own, you can perhaps empathize a little more with someone who suffers things we'd consider "just being mental" ... :)