Customer Review

672 of 720 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not primarily about mindfulness therapy, February 17, 2010
This review is from: Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (Hardcover)
I began reading "Mindsight" eagerly because I have a strong interest in mindfulness therapy and Siegel comes highly recommended. I found, however, that I could never get really engaged in the book. I pushed forward and read the whole thing, because Siegel obviously knows his stuff and writes in a clear and easy manner. But I didn't find what I was looking for.

It took a while to figure out why this book was not for me. Three reasons:

First, this book isn't primarily about mindfulness as its title suggests. Siegel has his own well-developed system of therapy. It includes mindfulness, yes, but also a lot of neuroscience, interpersonal therapy, and psychoanalysis (i.e., using insights about one's upbringing to bring about a cure.) Though the word psychoanalysis is never used, it seems to me that it is the dominant strand in his system.
For example, he writes, "With mindsight I was able to make use of the reflections that arose from that conflict [a run-in with his son] to arrive at more clarifying insights into my own childhood experiences."
So because mindfulness is not the main theme, or for some other reason, it is not very thoroughly developed--certainly not as much as in many other books I've read. Hence my disappointment.

The second problem I had is that the bulk of the book is made up of clinical cases (stories of the lives of the author's patients and the therapy he does with them) and stories from the author's life. I find that a few such cases in this kind of book can be illuminating, but reading one story after another becomes tedious.

Third, this book is not directed at helping the reader use the techniques that are mentioned.

None of these observations are meant as criticisms--just some information for anyone trying to make a decision. But if you are mainly interested in mindfulness therapy and would like to use it in your own life, I would recommend "The Mindful Way Through Depression" -- a clear, insightful, and practical book, written by researchers in the field.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 31, 2010 4:57:32 AM PST
I agree with your observation. Unfortunately this is not a "how to" book. So in the end it was of no use.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011 5:35:03 AM PST
J. Ro Morgan says:
I understand that you found this book to be an educational read, but not a "how to" book....I would like to lead you to his web site and look at his level 2 training that actually connects the dots ONCE YOU UNDERSTAND all the back ground information. He wants everyone to understand 'why' and the mechanics of the brain BEFORE he goes into the process of how to utilize the information.

Posted on Apr 11, 2011 3:05:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2011 3:07:15 PM PDT
Hunter Black says:
I don't understand the expectation that Mindsight would be related to mindfulness as the author never suggests that it is.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2011 12:37:08 AM PDT

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 7:29:51 PM PST
Phil says:
Thoughtful, well-written review.

I do understand how you thought the book would focus significantly on mindfulness.

1. The author is described as "co-director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center..."
2. The Publisher's Weekly review refers to "mindful traits"
3. The Booklist review says, "Siegel presents a convincing case that mindsight's dual focus on MINDFULNESS and empathy can literally rewire the brain and catalyze greater personal fulfillment."

Thanks for the useful review.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2012 10:58:53 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 28, 2012 5:05:33 AM PST]

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 8:42:07 PM PDT
Missy says:
This book is entitled MINDSIGHT, pioneered by Dr. Siegel, it is not called MINDFULNESS.
Dr. Siegel uses science and neurobiology to explain to readers and patients exactly what is happening to them when they react in a situation - explosively or negatively and why they do that and how to intercept auto-reactivity.

He also explains the importance of Open Receptivity over Closed Reactivity and how if you understand what is going on internally within you, often embedded in your subconscious from previous traumatic events, you can overcome it with MindSIGHT. So instead of reacting like an animal when someone enrages you, you exercise mindsight and utilise your executive control, ie. the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that makes us different from animals) and rise above the auto-response.

This book uses neuroscience to help you have an insight into your mind when emotions overtake you. It is not about meditation or mindfulness.
I do not think you finished the whole book or if you actually grasped the purpose of the biology he took pains to simplify for the reader.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012 10:45:31 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 10, 2012 11:00:58 PM PDT]

Posted on Apr 16, 2012 12:24:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 16, 2012 2:36:04 PM PDT
I am so baffled by the comments here.

I agree with the reviewer 100%. The author himself has stated this book is about "mindfulness" - as it says in the in the text. I mean, ....what's the deal with the positive reviews here?!? I have to wonder what is the motivation of these positive reviews.

These concepts have been known for over 2,000 years. Religious or not, the prophets of all the "great" religions have been preaching the same things for thousand of years.

I'm beginning to think that modern Psychology and Psychiatry is rehashing old religious (Axial Age Religion) philosophy/religion - and I'll leave it there.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 9:14:34 AM PDT
I'm baffled by this review, to be honest. I didn't read this text with an expectation of mindfulness in the Eastern religious tradition.
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