From Publishers Weekly
Pelletier ( Mind As Healer, Mind As Slayer ), a senior clinical fellow at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention at the Stanford University School of Medicine, focuses much of his attention here on a Rockefeller-funded study he conducted chronicling the lives of 51 notables, among them Norman Lear, David Rockefeller and the late Norman Cousins, who he believes have enjoyed exemplary physical and mental health. The author contends that long-term health depends more on a positive orientation than on aerobic workouts or a special diet, emphasizing that no way of life can guarantee freedom from disease and disability--or can ensure longevity. To understand the meaning of health, he adds, it is necessary to broaden its definition beyond the physical. Optimal health requires an integration of physical, mental, spiritual and environmental well-being; health is an attitude comprising our basic beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. Though not all readers will be deeply interested in the health of the rich and famous, what does stand out is Pelletier's presentation of the extensive research now being undertaken to better understand the mind/body connection and its relationship to health.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Health is the psychological adjustment to the extraordinary experience of living life in its fullest expression." Such is a major conclusion of psychiatrist Pelletier's lengthy, detailed study of 51 outstanding individuals, most of whom stressed the importance of personal control, optimism, altruism, prevention rather than treatment, and moderation in all things--even in seeking medical care. (Indeed, most had used alternative therapies, several for prolonged periods.) Pelletier consciously emphasizes the personal element in his study, and because he strongly felt the importance of this he did not try to create a "scientific" investigation. Thus, although he mentions many books and articles for the reader to consult, he frequently sets quotations from the interviews in the context of broaching the recent literature on a particular topic. Throughout, he advances sound suggestions and techniques for the realistic improvement of personal health. William Beatty