Top positive review
71 people found this helpful
Points the way to better health and greater happiness.
on November 18, 2002
One of the biggest chapters in this book summarizes the studies showing how closeness to other people is good for your health. Ornish runs a clinic for people who have had a heart attack. And his clinic was the first to show that heart disease can actually be reversed. Doctors used to believe, up until very recently, that you can't reverse heart disease. You may be able to slow it down a little, but once your arteries were clogged, it was gospel that you couldn't unclog them. Ornish showed that you can. They use diet and exercise and...teaching people how to become closer to the people they love. And that increased closeness is a big part of the patient's improvement in health.
These men (usually) have a heart attack and their doctor tells them they don't have long to live. They're scared, of course. They come to Ornish's clinic and he tells them they need to learn to be close to people or they're going to die! For the first time in their lives, these men become interested in relationships!
I read Love and Survival right after reading the book, Brain Sex, where I discovered that men aren't naturally as interested in relationships as women. Even two- or three-day old babies show this difference. A female baby will look much longer at a human face than at an object. A baby boy is equally interested in objects and people. Extend that interest out over a lifetime and you have women whose lives are relationship-centered and men who don't have time for relationships because they're busy with other things. Then I read in Ornish's book what it takes for men to finally become interested in getting closer to people: The threat of death! So they get interested, and they improve their relationships, and they learn how to become close to people. Some time later they come back to Ornish and report that they are happier than they've ever been. Of course. We all know being close to people is the most important thing in the world and it's the one thing that can't be peeled away. When people are dying, on the battlefield or deathbed or in some survival situation, and they know they are going to die, the one thing people say is, "Tell my wife I love her." Or husband. Kids. The people who are close to you are what really matter. And getting close to them.
This book struck me like a revelation. I have been interested in how to get along with people and how to get people to like me and how to persuade people to my point of view, but I had never realized the value of really being close to people. I knew relationships were important but I had missed the point! This book has totally changed the way I've been interacting with people, and you know what? I've never been happier! Seriously.
Ornish gives you some good ideas about HOW to get closer to people. He gives you some practical steps to take. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I'll tell you something: Ornish's book contains quite a bit of stuff that works to bring you closer to the people you love.