- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (November 6, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0757316425
- ISBN-13: 978-0757316425
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self Paperback – November 6, 2012
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"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 Caregivers
The 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
About the Author
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
While philosophical in tone (which I enjoy but others may not) the author encourages consistently throughout the book that the reader take personal responsibility and take action. The very act of doing something vs rumination and analysis paralysis seems obvious but, as the author acknowledges, we often fail to appreciate that it can be the catalyst to managing (if not banishing) fear and moving forward.
As another reviewer noted, the author's level of compassion is very high and this was comforting and motivating to me as I read the materials. I am committed to not being defeated as I move through life's struggles and obstacles more strongly equipped than I was before reading this.
This book also explains how helping others increases our self-esteem. I thought the idea of being a bodhisattva was interesting. To be a person who dedicates himself to the happiness of others seems like a worthwhile goal. I will say this does work in real life as I've tried it and life is much more satisfying when you are making others happy. For contrast realize how treating others badly makes you feel.
On the other hand, this book does not adequately describe sin and the description is only half true. The author also seems to have a great fear of death. He has a very honest, beautiful soul that wants to help people but can't tell them what will happen when they die. The fear of death can be alleviated by a belief in Jesus who promises that if you believe in him you will never die as a soul. You will live eternally in bliss.
What I did appreciate about this doctor was how he helped his patients overcome various problems and how he tended to look on the bright side. He believes in Nichiren Buddhism so all his beliefs are channeled through that perception. This is not a book for those unsure of their own faith. It is more a look at how a Buddhist doctor solves problems.
~The Rebecca Review
This book changed my perspective on how I view everything in my life....it will no doubt assist anyone dealing with any type of negative stigma and help you focus on the big picture/important aspects of whatever it is that may be clouding your judgement.
if I could I would give it way more stars
But when we experience powerlessness and defeat, things are only as bleak as they seem, says author Alex Lickerman, M.D. While the circumstances may be out of our control, the wisdom extracted from adverse experience can impart "an inner life state" of undefeated strength. More than just a good theory, he illuminates nine core principles that assuage suffering, interweaving them into actual dialogues with his patients, and reinforcing their efficacy through examples of scientific studies and tenets of Nichiren Buddhism. An undefeated mind is when the goal for achieving something is to is to keep trying--rather than achieving the goal itself: "Never giving up isn't just necessary for victory, it is victory."
The author turns some cherished notions on their head - such as embracing the pain rather than resisting it, or that resilience is the capacity to endure the pain that adversity causes, or that distraction is superior to willpower for delaying gratification. Seamlessly blending dialogue, narrative, science, and faith, he convincingly demonstrates how one can achieve an inner life state of undefeated inner strength in any circumstance.