Starred Review. The gentle, even-keeled warmth of Livingston's prose distinguishes this slim book of 30 inspirational "truths." A psychiatrist familiar with trauma from both his practice and his life (in one 13-month period, he lost one son to leukemia and another to suicide), Livingston offers the kind of wisdom that feels simultaneously commonsensical and revelatory: "We are what we do," "The perfect is the enemy of the good," "The major advantage of illness is relief from responsibility." He intersperses counsel with personal experience, and tackles topics both joyful and deeply painful. In the chapter focusing on "We are what we do," he notes that the "three components of happiness are something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to," and he reminds us that "love is demonstrated behaviorally"-that is, actions count more than words. In his discussion of "Happiness is the greatest risk," he considers how our fear of losing happiness is often a roadblock to our experiencing it. For those contemplating suicide, he writes that "it is reasonable to confront them with the selfishness and anger implied in any act of self-destruction." Livingston's words feel true, and his wisdom hard-earned. Among the many blithe and hollow self-help books available everywhere, this book stands out as a jewel.
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