"Alex Lickerman mines life's greatest challenges with an artist's eye, a scientist's rigor and a Buddhist's wise hand. The result is a book that I could not stop reading. Alex's unique gifts as a writer, doctor and scientific thinker make for an epiphany-studded quest to tame his own mind and to commune with the minds of others. He has produced a book that is profound, compassionate, and triply inspiring."
--Kaja Perina, editor-in-chief, Psychology Today
"Buddhism and Western medicine would seem an incongruous mixture, but in the hands of Alex Lickerman they meld seamlessly into a recipe for overcoming life's hardships—indeed, for turning them into advantages. An accomplished physician, Lickerman has no truck for the supernatural, but recognizes that the tenets of Nichiren Buddhism have been honed over centuries to help alleviate life's inevitable sufferings. The Undefeated Mind is a deeply engaging story of how Lickerman has fused modern medicine with ancient wisdom to heal his patients both physically and psychologically—lessons that apply to all of us."
--Jerry Coyne, professor of Ecology and Evolution at University of Chicago and author of Why Evolution is True
"Eastern religious practices such as chanting are often brushed aside as 'mysticism' by Western science. In this highly original book based on extensive case studies, Lickerman effectively bridges these two great traditions, providing novel insights along the way on how we can all triumph over the psychological impact of adversity and live joyfully, even in this 'vale of tears.'"
--V. S. Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at University of California San Diego and author of the New York Times bestseller The Tell-Tale Brain
"Dr. Lickerman's wisdom and compassion are evident on every page of this outstanding book. Inspired by his many years of practice in the Nichiren Buddhist tradition, Dr. Lickerman, a practicing physician, sets forth nine principles for developing an 'undefeated mind.' An undefeated mind is not a passive mind that is sometimes associated with Buddhism. It is a mind that never gives up the search for solutions to life's inevitable obstacles. It is a mind that knows that peace and happiness are attainable even in the midst of hardships, such as rejection, illness, and loss. It is a mind that treats adversity as an opportunity for growth.
By sharing personal stories of how he and his patients have benefited from these nine principles, Dr. Lickerman turns them into easy-to-apply tools that everyone can put to use immediately.
Incorporating the nine principles of The Undefeated Mind into your everyday life will open the door to limitless compassion for others and to unshakeable happiness for yourself. This profound book has the power to change your life."
—Toni Bernhard, author of How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their CaregiversThe Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self Alex Lickerman.
HCI Books, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-7573-1642-5
When life brings adversity such as profound loss or illness, we may sometimes feel defeated and powerless to change either the circumstance or our emotional response. Physician and blogger Lickerman tells us that things are only as bleak as they seem
, and, using actual conversations with his patients, reveals the process of achieving an "inner life state" that mitigates suffering. More than presenting just a good theory or interesting stories, he interweaves compelling scientific research and core tenets of Nichiren Buddhism to flesh out this inner life state: nine central principles that moderate physical and emotional pain. The point of easing suffering is "not for solving problems but for establishing a life state that makes all problems solvable." The interplay of dialogue, narrative, science, and faith flows effortlessly, interrupted only by thought-provoking observations such as "research suggests that the more we use our willpower, the weaker it becomes," and "our expectations profoundly influence our responses to our experiences." The principles are well constructed and the book well written; the author not only describes an undefeated mind but also teaches the thinking that yields one. Agent: Stephany Evans. (Nov.)
(Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly
"One of my favorite new books is The Undefeated Mind
. It's a powerful book that helps you cultivate your inner strength to face hard times with a fearless heart. It's more than a book. It's a set of tools for life."
--J.D. Meier, Sources of Insight
Alex Lickerman, MD, is a physician and former director of primary care at one of the world's most prestigious universities, the University of Chicago. He is also a practicing Nichiren Buddhist and leader in the Nichiren Buddhist lay organization, the Soka Gakkai International, USA (SGI-USA). Dr. Lickerman is a prolific writer, having written for medical textbooks, national trade publications, and even for Hollywood with an adaptation of Milton's Paradise Lost. He has extensive speaking experience, having given lectures at high schools, colleges, and medical conferences, and was recently selected by the Consumers' Research Council of America as one of America's top physicians in their publication Guide to America's Top Physicians. Dr. Lickerman's blog "Happiness in this World" is syndicated on the website of Psychology Today, and receives over one hundred thousand unique visitors per month. Please visit his website at www.alexlickerman.com.