The Thing You Think You Cannot Do

The Thing You Think You Cannot Do : Thirty Truths about Fear and Courage

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What are we afraid of and what can we do about it? Fear--of change, of intimacy, of loss, of the unknown--has become a corrosive influence in modern life, eroding our ability to think clearly. Exploited for power by politicians and for money by the media, it has become embedded in the way we think about our lives. Overcoming our fear, says Gordon Livingston, constitutes the most difficult struggle we face. Dr. Livingston, a psychiatrist, has increasingly found himself prescribing virtues like courage to his patients instead of tranquilizers or antidepressants. Now he tells us all what we need to do to develop personal virtues in the face of societal fear-and our own individual fears. And he does this with the crystalline prose and leavening wit that have made him an internationally bestselling author. As the celebrated novelist Mark Helprin has said of Dr. Livingston: "To read him is to trust him and to learn, for his life has been touched by fire, and his motives are absolutely pure."
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 134.62 x 187.96 x 25.4mm | 272.15g
  • Da Capo Lifelong
  • Cambridge, United States
  • English
  • 073821552X
  • 9780738215525
  • 132,878

Review quote

Spirituality & Practice, "A Best Spiritual Book of the Year," 2012 Philadelphia Tribune, 4/27/12| "[An] unflinching look at fear." Spirituality and Practice "A hard-hitting and timely collection of essays by a passionate elder whose criticism of our culture is right on target.", 5/17/12 "[A] study of fear and courage, whose chapters are headed with particularly intriguing quotations." "The Bookworm Sez" column, 6/25/12 "Dr. Livingston writes with conviction and a no-nonsense manner. His thoughts are well-conceived, they make sense and they're empowering. His words offer the hope about which he writes, and that's very comforting...The Thing You Cannot Do takes no prisoners, accepts no whining, and it won't make friends. But if you're stuck in life and need a nudge, reading it may be the best thing you can do." BP Magazine, Summer 2012"Stresses the importance of facing the boundaries fear imposes by following clear-cut steps to cultivate courage.", August 2012"There is an antidote to fear. It is courage. It's there inside of you and this book will help you tap into it." San Francisco Book Review / Sacramento Book Review, 8/9/12"If you are serious about wanting to overcome a fear of something that is hampering your current situation-your life, your love-life, your family-life, whatever-and you have good comprehension of what you read, then you could reasonably expect to improve some part of yourself, if you read one chapter a day...This book is full of wisdom in small, easily absorbed chunks, on a variety of topics...Dr. Livingston is not a stranger to the frailties of the rest of us, and thus his words carry more weight than most such compilations." Midwest Book Review, August 2012"Shows how fear can become debilitating-and what to do about it." Metapsychology Online Reviews,10/9/12"Livingston has something worth saying...[He] communicates plainly and with ease...This is a book of trenchant observation, with some arresting insights by a thoughtful and humane observer...Livingston has a lot to teach us." Portland Book Review, 6/20/12"Challenges readers to analyze and contemplate their lives...This book will appeal to the readers who wish to reflect upon personal beliefs and actions in order to gain greater inner strength."
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About Gordon Livingston

Gordon Livingston, MD, a graduate of West Point who was awarded the Bronze Star for valor in Vietnam, is a psychiatrist and writer who contributes frequently to the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Baltimore Sun. He lives and works in Columbia, Maryland.
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