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Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart Paperback – February 14, 2017
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"Into the Magic Shop is pure magic! That a child from humble beginnings could become a professor of neurosurgery and the founder of a center that studies compassion and altruism at a major university, as well as an entrepreneur and philanthropist is extraordinary enough. But it is Doty's ability to describe his journey so lyrically, and then his willingness to share his methods that make this book a gem."
—Abraham Verghese, MD, Author of Cutting for Stone
"This book tells the remarkable story of a neurosurgeon's quest to unravel the mystery of the link between our brains and our hearts. From the moment in his childhood when a simple act of kindness changed the course of his own life to his founding a center to study compassion at Stanford University. Jim Doty's life illustrates how each of us can make a difference. We can make the world a more compassionate place. I’m sure many readers will be moved by this inspiring story to open their hearts and see what they too can do for others."
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“Into the Magic Shop offers a gripping, well-told journey into the mysteries of the human mind and brain. Neurosurgeon James Doty has written a heartwarming tale of courage and compassion."
—Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of Emotional Intelligence
"Into the Magic Shop is a captivating journey of discovery. Neurosurgeon Jim Doty's well-told personal story illuminates for us all the power of insight and empathy to transform our lives and enhance our world. Read it and you too may find magic in the mystery and majesty of the mind to bring health and healing to our individual and collective lives.
—Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.,Author of Mindsight
“Part memoir, part scientific exploration, Into the Magic Shop is a powerful work of emotion and discovery, showing that we all have within us our own small magic shop, a place of calm and beauty we can return to whenever we need it. As James Doty compellingly shows, we simply have to open the door, and let ourselves in.”
—Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive
“A moving memoir on the power of compassion and kindness. Neurosurgeon James Doty shares his inspiring story of growing up with seemingly insurmountable challenges, receiving a gift that changed his life, achieving remarkable success but then losing it all, and discovering that the mind is shaped as much by the heart as the brain.”
—Adam Grant, PhD, author of Give and Take
"A powerful, eloquent, deeply spiritual and exquisitely beautiful book. Real magic!"
—Dean Ornish, M.D., author of The Spectrum
“This is one of the most compelling and inspiring books I have ever read. We’re with Jim at each step, as he struggles with poverty and trauma, becomes a world-class brain surgeon, gains and loses a fortune, and learns deep lessons about the magic in each person’s heart. Gripping, profound, extraordinary.”
—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Hardwiring Happiness
"Dr. Doty’s powerful book, Into the Magic Shop, is a testament to how faith and compassion extend beyond religion, race and nationality and can help an individual overcome adversity and personal limitations. It is an inspiration."
—Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation
“Into the Magic Shop will literally rewire your brain. A candid and personal story about a life transformed by a chance encounter in a magic shop. It is a truly optimistic and inspirational testament to the power of compassion and the ability to overcome adversity and discover your true potential.”
—Glenn Beck, nationally syndicated radio host and founder of The Blaze
"An optimistic and engagingly well-told life story that incorporates scientific investigation into its altruistic message."
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
James R. Doty, M.D., is a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), where he researches the neuroscience of compassion and altruism. He is also a philanthropist funding health clinics throughout the world and has endowed scholarships and chairs at multiple universities. He serves on the board of a number of nonprofits, including the Charter for Compassion International and the Dalai Lama Foundation.
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In the meantime, Swami Rama became a controversial character after being accused by several women of being sexually abused and exploited by the "holy man" in his Ashram. This kind of revelation has become almost common place as we've come to understand that great teachers can all-too-often possess a great ability to take advantage of those he or she teaches and who place so much trust and love in that person.
Today, "mindfulness" is almost a buzzword in everything from sports to business as meditation has been studied and proven to be beneficial and rewarding to those who practice it.
As I read through the first few chapters of "Into the Magic Shop", I felt a definite deja vu as Dr. Doty describes the "magic" he was taught by Ruth in the magic shop of his youth. I purchased the book because the blurb about Dr. Doty seemed intriguing, but I soon felt like the book was nothing more than a self-help book disguised as an autobiography, and while I understood that the magic described in the book is indeed powerful, I already knew all about what he was describing as the "magic" and was about to put the book aside; disappointed that the book never felt like it was going anywhere.
I'm very glad that I didn't, however, since once Dr. Doty began to relate the amazing journey he took from Lancaster, California to the pinnacle of financial and professional success, the book became one I couldn't put down. The remarkable arc of his journey becomes a life lesson for so many people hell bent on success at all costs.
Dr. Doty is frank about his failings in relationships and about how the magic he learned got him everything he wanted materially, but let him bankrupt in many other ways. It was only when he began to understand that only through Kindness, Compassion, Empathy and Love does a life truly become fulfilled that he understood how he had misused the magic he'd learned.
In our society, the words above are used often, but they are not taken to heart, which is the organ Dr. Doty believes be the true seat of our greatest human virtues; not the brain.
Dr. Doty's story of how the magic he learned as a child can be used toward good or ill is a vitally important one in a society that values material wealth, fame and irresponsible consumerism as the most desirable. Not one to just talk about Kindness, Compassion, Empathy and Love, he created the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. CCARE states as its mission that it "investigates methods for cultivating compassion and promoting altruism within individuals and society through rigorous research, scientific collaborations, and academic conferences. In addition, CCARE provides a compassion cultivation program and teacher training as well as educational public events and programs."
"Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart" is both a fascinating journey of a successful neurosurgeon and entrepreneur as well as a remarkable prescription for creating a much happier and healthier individual so that those same benefits can be shared with the entire human population. It is an ambitious goal, but one that more and more people feel dedicated to achieving; especially in a world where hatred, injustice and intolerance seem to predominate in our media and in our politics.
What she basically teaches him is meditation and visualization. Those are two topics I’ve read much about, since I’ve read hundreds of metaphysical books, but have never been truly enticed to practice. No, I’m not going to add "until now". Although if you are interested in those two things and don’t won’t to get bogged down in "heavy" reading, this book would be an excellent one to read. What you will learn is “relaxing the body”, “taming the mind”, “opening the heart” and “clarifying your intent”. There are step-by-step instructions, of two to three pages, about each of those techniques after they are discussed. There are also audio versions of those instructions at a website mentioned in the book. Thus, this is a bit of a self-help book, too.
Dr. Doty describes how his childhood is tremendously changed after spending six weeks learning Ruth’s lessons. His family life doesn’t really change, he is the one who changes. Sometimes while reading this book, it seems unreal a 12-year-old American boy in 1968 would have the patience and desire to learn those lessons, but I will believe that the good doctor is telling the truth. He then goes on to describe the rest of his life, where he beat all odds to go to college and medical school, and became a very successful and wealthy neurosurgeon. With success came arrogance, however, and there were some disastrous happenings. But once Dr. Doty realized he was listening too much to his brain and not enough to his heart, he balanced out his life and began teaching compassion and altruism. Like the Dalai Lama, he says kindness is his religion. The author has certainly come a long way from his days as an angry, envious child, who was afraid his life would always be defined by his unhappy, poor family and circumstances beyond his control. A good read.