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Maxims Minimus: Reflections in Microstyle

Maxims-Minimus
By T. Byram Karasu, M.D. 
Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Dorothy and Marty Silverman Chair in Psychiatry
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Psychiatrist-in-Chief
Montefiore Medical Center 

In this book of maxims, Dr. Karasu—a New York psychiatrist who clearly has heard it all when it comes to human interactions—distills basic truths involving relationships, love, marriage, work, culture, politics, psychotherapy, religion, soul, stress, aging and the self. Twitter-age pithiness, he writes, “suits me well, since I find that anything that cannot be said in 140 characters—or 140 seconds—is not particularly worth saying.” Among his minimalist maxims: “To use sincerity as a technique is the ultimate insincerity.”
“Giving advice is poorly disguised self-promotion.”
“Love makes itself felt through excesses.”
“Co-independence is the secret of a healthy relationship between spouses.”
“Teaching, force or love will not tame youth. Time does.”
“The incorrectness of their creative minds is what makes artists so appealing.”
“Do not reply unless you want to engage further.”
“The liar believes no one.”
“In psychological growth, there is no end product.”
“If we all share the same ‘divine womb,’ stop kicking.”
“Only wise sayings delivered in kindness are useful.”
There are also interesting pairings: “Irreconcilable differences exist between men and women; they are erotic material” is followed by “It is the reconcilable differences that cause most divorces.”
The author likes to provide a general context for his maxims. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction and a telling chapter title: “Friendships and Relationships: Embracing Imperfect Offerings”; “Politics: Selfish Saints”; “Self: From Nowhere to Here”; and “Aging/Death: From Here to Nowhere.”
Dr. Karasu has also written or edited 20 other books, including Rags of My Soul, a book of poetry reviewed in this space in the Summer/Fall 2009 issue.
Published by:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., Lanham, MD, 2012

Cinema’s Sinister Psychiatrists:
From Caligari to Hannibal

Cinema- SinisterBy Sharon Packer, M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
A psychiatrist turning evil is a particularly painful betrayal: a doctor of the mind toying with our sanity. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often in real life. But in movies, plots featuring mad psychiatrists have long been a staple.
In her new book, Dr. Packer traces the history of the genre and finds that it originated not in Hollywood but on the European silent screen, with the 1920 German film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. We learn that Hannibal the Cannibal (Lecter), first featured in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, holds the American film record for repeat appearances by a sinister psychiatrist.
Dr. Packer notes that the “mean-minded doctors” in such movies “exploit innate fears about mind control that continue to plague the public.” The exploitation takes many forms, including drug injections, unethical experiments, involuntary incarceration and surgical lobotomies. The author teases out the germ of truth in cinema’s diabolical doctors and—spoiler alert—cautions that real life can be almost as strange as, or even stranger than, what we see on the silver screen or on DVD.
Published by:
McFarland & Co., Inc., Jefferson, NC, 2012

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby:
The Ultimate Pregnancy Guide

Healthy MomBy Siobhan M. Dolan, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Attending Physician, Division of Reproductive Genetics
Montefiore Medical Center
With Alice Lesch Kelly
This book’s take-home message is that educated moms make the smartest choices about their pregnancies and their babies’ health. Dr. Dolan and her co-author provide all the information women need to make those choices, from how to get healthy before you get pregnant, through “go-time” (as in “go to the hospital to have the baby”), to breastfeeding and recuperating from a cesarean section.
Half of all pregnancies are unplanned. And so, Dr. Dolan tells her readers, “there’s a good chance that when you picked up this book you were already several weeks or months into your pregnancy.” That’s fine too, she says, because good choices at any point in pregnancy can mean a healthier baby.
Besides all the nutrition and exercise basics, Dr. Dolan offers a hefty chapter on making the world around you safer—avoiding pollutants such as cigarette smoke, lead, carbon monoxide, mercury, radiation, pesticides and plastics.
Dr. Dolan is an Einstein professor as well as an obstetrician-gynecologist and clinical geneticist with a practice serving women and families in the Bronx. She is also a medical advisor to the March of Dimes, the national organization dedicated to preventing birth defects.
The book is available in English and Spanish. It is printed only in paperback and is compact enough to carry in a purse or backpack.
Published by:
HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, 2013

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