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James R. Doty, a neurosurgeon and prolific contributor to the field of medicine, offers insight into the possibilities of meeting life goals and experiencing a state of self-actualization by using the potential influence of one's heart and brain. The author tells his life story and explains how he was able to use simple meditative approaches to balance his efforts and plans with his professional and personal goals. Having grown up in a poor family in California, with a depressed and abusive alcoholic of a father, a mother who had suicidal tendencies and a brother who was constantly bullied by other children, Doty had a big responsibility in the family as he often found himself in situations where he had to protect his family. This melancholy environment seemed to be the epitome of the author at the time, and in fact, it was beginning to have a severe adverse impact on various elements of his life.
Things took a turn later on in his life, when as an adolescent; Doty came across an intriguing magic shop operated by a benevolent woman called Ruth. Noticing the troubled state the boy was in, Ruth took it upon herself to give the author detailed instructions relating to several empowering mind and body exercises, which would later have a profound effect on his personal and professional life. Doty would use the meditative exercises that Ruth bestowed upon him to find tranquility in an environment that was unsafe and unconducive for child growth at best.
Nevertheless, two instances in Doty’s life nearly derailed him from achieving the status and success that he enjoys today. The first was a car crash he was involved in while still in residency that threatened to end his life. The second was a misinformed business decision, which led him to invest in a project that led him to near bankruptcy. However, the author stresses that application of the teachings of Ruth, the woman in the magic shop, enabled him to get back on track in both instances. He gives a specific recollection of Ruth’s instruction for him to open up his heart, which allowed him to realize a profound destiny that surpassed basic needs that he desired.
This inspirational memoir and self-help book is a platform on which the author attempts to perceive his life story from a scientific investigative point of view, supporting his theory that by developing and focusing willpower and embracing compassion, it is possible for each one of us to face and overcome adversities and thus realize success and growth. He opines that a collaboration between an individual’s heart and mind can result in the happier, healthier lives where love, kindness and compassion are easy to give and receive (Doty). The author emphasizes that his education at the magic shop helped him appreciate this notion, and later on, he used scientific method to prove it.
This positive and intriguing life story given in this book is not only empowering but also inspiring. The description of the association between the mind and the heart and the way this correlation is applicable in focusing on one’s goals, designing the strategies to achieve them and embarking on a dedicated action plan towards one’s purpose and destiny. This book is a good read for people who seek inspiration to find their destiny.
Doty, J.R. Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the. New York City: Penguin Random House, 2016. Document.
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