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Behavioral Genes: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change Paperback – February 13, 2015
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About the Author
James D Baird is a graduate engineer and researcher who has studied genetics and common behaviors for more than 20 years. He has researched the field of behavioral epigenetics, which holds the promise of modifying behavior by changing gene expression. Baird holds a PhD in natural health and is the author of five books on human behavior. He has won many awards and appeared on major TV stations and dozens of radio shows. In addition to Behavioral Genes, Dr. Baird’s books include Happiness Genes, Obesity Genes, Mindful Meals Diet, Modern Christian Happiness Plan, and The Happiness Plan.
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Top customer reviews
Much of the reason James' book makes such an impact while reading it is his sincere no nonsense approach to communicating his thoughts to us. For example, his Introduction (or opening the door to this thoughts) begins: `We often wonder why we do the things we do. For a very long time, people have speculated, theorized, lectured, argued, and written books, poems, and plays about that very mystery. Ancient philosophers philosophized about it, and theologians gave us their opinions based on articles of faith. In those earlier days, with no reliable way to test theories and opinions, one notion might have been just as good as another. Beginning in the 18th-century, scientists developed new methods to scientifically test biology, chemistry and physics. Using those same scientific methods, psychologists and social scientists were able to prove or disprove historic opinions on human behavior. Today, when our behaviors seem illogical-- even self-destructive--research in genetics and psychology can provide insight into their causes.' He then emphasizes the four themes that influence us - genetics, epigenetics, self-awareness, and culture.
A major emphasis is placed on Epigenetics - `Epigenetics uses signals from our environment, such as life experiences, beliefs, and perceptions to modify our biology and behavior without affecting our DNA. Epigenetics proves that genes are not necessarily our destiny. Our life experiences are called epigenetic factors.....This book is dedicated to bringing understanding to the mysteries of ordinary human behaviors. Understanding brings self-forgiveness and the wisdom to make beneficial behavioral changes.'
For the reader intimidated by reading a book on behavior as written by a scientist, a list of the sections of the book should relax: Topics discussed are Our Behavioral Evolution, Where does Personality come from?, Why do we think like we do?, Why are we so unhappy?, How are you doing?, Our stress epidemic, Why hurt feelings really hurt, What is self-esteem good for?, What makes relationships work?, Why are conflicts inevitable?, It's all about love, What makes men and women different?, Turning down obesity genes, What is epigenetics and how does it change us?, The benefits and practice of Mindfulness, Weight loss by hypnosis, and Epigenetic Behavioral Therapy.
This is a book to read slowly, ponder, return to for an infusion regularly, and all the while knowing that the author is a man who cares about the human condition - scientific, physical, behavioral, and spiritual - total well being. This is a strong and very support book. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, March 15
This ad the potential to be an exceedingly boring book. It could have read like a textbook for advanced psychology or biology students. However, Mr. Baird has the exceptional talent to take what could have been dull and make it interesting. As I read through the book I found myself nodding and hmmm'ing a lot. Not only does Mr. Baird explain things easily, but he makes you feel like he's sitting in the chair across from you, talking to you as a friend.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was thought provoking, fascinating and well written.
I’ve always believed that the mind is key to everything and that people can achieve anything they want if they want it badly enough. The things set forth in this book are interesting and I will probably try some of them (a big deal for me, since I normally do not put much stock in self-help guru’s teachings).
One thing I did disagree with slightly was the author’s comments on self-esteem. While I agree that this concept has been taken to extremes in current society, I do not agree with the statement that said it doesn’t matter. I think it plays a part in shaping self, but does not stand on its own (i.e. high self-esteem does not guarantee a successful life but one cannot achieve success if one does not believe in oneself).
It was refreshing that this was not the typical self-help book. Those who typically avoid these types of books may find they can actually learn something from Behavioral Genes without being bombarded by the usual sappy self-help content and jargon.
I've always been fascinated by genetics, and studied it in college for a few years, but after being out of the academic game for so long, it's wonderful to get back into a topic that is so interesting and relevant for right now. Feeling empowered by knowledge of our own bodies and minds is one of the best things that a book can do for us, and Baird has put this topic into clear and simple language that layman and experts can both enjoy and learn from. It takes a skillful hand and mind to bring the complexity of epigenetics to the general public, but this book has accomplished that.
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