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Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility Hardcover – May 19, 2009
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“Counterclockwise makes a strong case for the influence of expectation and belief on how our bodies function, on how we heal, and even how we age. Ellen Langer presents fascinating scientific data to support this view and argues convincingly that we should learn to take greater control of our health through the practice of mindfulness. Her research is innovative and empowering.”—Andrew Weil, M.D.
“Ellen Langer’s work has been an inspiration to me for years. Counterclockwise, her latest book, will change the way you think about your health — for the better. It’s simply fabulous.” —Christiane Northrup, MD, author The Secret Pleasures of Menopause and The Wisdom of Menopause
"Awareness-mindfulness-is the first step in healing. In Counterclockwise, Dr. Ellen Langer eloquently describes how becoming more aware of our beliefs and expectations allows us to powerfully transform our lives for the better. A pioneering, beautifully-written book." —Dean Ornish, M.D.
“Take a smart, creative social scientist, without any respect for conventional wisdom and you get Ellen Langer. She is a fantastic storyteller, and Counterclockwise is a fascinating story about the unexpected ways in which our minds and bodies are connected. More importantly, Counterclockwise shows how a better understanding of this relationship can lead to a better life.”—Dan Ariely, Ph.D., author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
“Counterclockwise presents a new way to think about lifelong health and aging. Read this most important book to improve your quality of life at any age.” —Deepak Chopra
“Counterclockwise is a gem–a book that is equally practical and philosophical without seeming to be either, and one that makes you feel better—more conscious and more prepared–about growing old, even if you weren't feeling bad about it in the first place. There is no one thinking more creatively about sickness and health than Ellen Langer, and she shares what she knows here with uncommon felicity.”
— Sue Halpern, author of Can’t Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research
“Dr. Langer’s work provides fascinating insight into the body-mind connection. She shows how changing our minds changes our bodies to optimize our health and performance as we get older." —Jill Bolte Taylor, author, My Stroke of Insight
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Top Customer Reviews
I would rather have read more of her broad conceptual thinking about the topic, than details of the experiments.
Still, her mission here is compelling and important, especially to aging baby boomers, which includes me, as well as Langer--- both born in 1947. It's worth buying this, and picking it up every once in a while just before you are about to think, "Well, I'm getting older, so of course I feel this (insert physical pain of choice) now." She will prove to you that you can and should have a different attitude, which can directly affect your quality of life. And that is definitely worth the price of this book!
This review is based on my reading of all 4 of Ellen Langer's books, which I was inspired to read after meeting Ellen in Harvard recently.
Ellen Langer is one of the most vivacious women I have ever met. Upon arriving to meet her in Harvard's William James Hall, I was actually extremely ill, but mindlessly ignoring the symptoms. The painful and yet irrelevant swelling in my right leg and the weak and feverish state that led me to sleep through a very stimulating lecture by Daniel Dennett, was in fact a serious blood infection that would later result in my hospitalization. Little did I know that my conversation with Ellen Langer would be the thing that completely transformed my hospital experience from a potentially stressful, painful nuisance into a very interesting and rewarding experience. And notwithstanding the fact that I could hardly talk, in our short walk from Ellen's office to the Harvard clinic (where Ellen was going to get a cut in her hand seen to, the cause of which she transformed into a very interesting story) we designed three experiments and I experienced firsthand, in vivo, decades of research on social and developmental psychology, and on mindfulness, creativity and decision-making.
To understand the transformative power of Ellen Langer's perspective, and to better understand her creative action, I believe it is useful to experience firsthand her version of mindfulness -- the act of noticing new things -- which is actually very easy to practice, if for no other reason than it energizes and engages us and opens us to new possibilities.Read more ›
Langer's life work is on illusion of control, aging, decision-making, and mindfulness theory. She's published over 200 research articles, six academic books, and won numerous academic honors. Part of her American Psychology Association award states, "...her pioneering work revealed the profound effects of increasing mindful behavior...and offers new hope to millions whose problems were previously seen as unalterable and inevitable. Ellen Langer has demonstrated repeatedly how our limits are of our own making."
Her 1979 pioneering study on aging established her career and is where Counterclockwise draws its title. In this study an experimental group of elderly men were taken to a one week retreat in a detailed recreation of the world of 1959. All their conversations, movies, decor, music, current events and book discussions, photos, newspapers, and the like were as if they are actually living in 1959. A control group of elderly men were taken on a separate retreat to reminisce and talk about what their life was like in 1959. Both groups underwent extensive physical and mental tests before and after their retreats.
The differences were dramatic:
"The experimental group showed greater improvement on joint flexibility, finger length (their arthritis diminished and they were able to straighten their fingers more), and manual dexterity. On intelligence tests, 63 percent of the experimental group improved their scores, compared to only 44 percent of the control group.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think she's an important writer and thinker. But the underlying premise of her work is more mystical than the current scientific theories on cuing and memory espouse. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nancy Picard
Classic study. Amazing results. Mind-body connection at its finest.Published 2 months ago by N. Nelson
Excellent invitation to an active and substantive kind of mindfulness.Published 3 months ago by David S. Goodman
the message was excellent but the ease of downloading to MP3 was excrutiatingly difficult. I had to ask my son who works in multimedia advertising to do it and with help of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by carol sutek
It seemed quite repetitious of "stuff" you'd heard several times. Not too informative.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Langer has remarkable insights into the mind/body connection in illness and health.Published 3 months ago by estherg