Talking About Death Won’t Kill You

Talking About Death Won't Kill You: The Essential Guide to End-of-Life Conversations by Kathy Kortes-Miller
Published by ECW Press on March 6th 2018
Genres: non-fiction
Pages: 280
Goodreads

This practical handbook will equip readers with the tools to have meaningful conversations about death and dying

Death is a part of life. We used to understand this, and in the past, loved ones generally died at home with family around them. But in just a few generations, death has become a medical event, and we have lost the ability to make this last part of life more personal and meaningful. Today people want to regain control over health-care decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

Talking About Death Won’t Kill You is the essential handbook to help Canadians navigate personal and medical decisions for the best quality of life for the end of our lives. Noted palliative-care educator and researcher Kathy Kortes-Miller shows readers how to identify and reframe limiting beliefs about dying with humor and compassion.

With robust resource lists, Kortes-Miller addresses• advance care plans for ourselves and our loved ones• how to have conversations about end-of-life wishes with loved ones• how to talk to children about death• how to build a compassionate workplace• practical strategies to support our colleagues• how to talk to health-care practitioners• how to manage challenging family dynamics as someone is dying• what is involved in medical assistance in dying (MAID)

Far from morbid, these conversations are full of meaning and life — and the relief that comes from knowing what your loved ones want, and what you want for yourself.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Pinky swear!

I was excited to read Talking About Death Won’t Kill You because I’m one of those weird people who is fascinated by death, the psychology of people around death, and I do think that death is one of those things that is just brushed under the table in Western society. Not a lot of people talk about death and even less people know how to discuss it when it’s creeping up on someone’s doorstep.

When I had the chance to review this book, I thought it would be great. I’d be able to read about death from the perspective of someone who teaches people how to handle death and the process leading up to it. How cool is that! Unfortunately, I felt that while the ideas were there, the execution wasn’t the best.

I found a lot of the information in the book repetitive. In the first couple of pages the author explains that she teaches this undergrad course and then a couple of pages later, explains the exact same thing. Small things like that happened throughout and made it a little hard for me to stay engaged, as I’d find myself starting to skim.

If you can get past that, though, the book is pretty interesting. It touches on all the important aspects of talking about death – talking about it at work, telling your children. I was super interested to read chapter 9 – Posting, Tweeting, & Texting – Dying in a Digital World. Living in a digital world has drastically changed how you find out about death, how you talk about it, and even how people who have died are remembered. This chapter especially was full of useful tips on how to manage this new world. It made me more aware of what I’m sharing and how I’d be remembered if I passed suddenly (I say this as I knock on some wood).

All in all, Talking About Death Won’t Kill You was a neat little book. Was it my favourite? No. But I did learn some things about how to handle the process of dying that I didn’t know before and it’s made me think about death in a different manner.

One StarOne StarOne Star

Happier Thinking

Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva
Published by Independently published on February 11th 2018
Genres: non-fiction
Pages: 52
Goodreads

Changing how you think is possible. I wasn't always so sure that was true until I experienced it myself, but I know now we don't have to just accept unhappiness. Not always anyway. This book is my collection of tips and suggestions that have helped me achieve happier thinking. It's sort of a gym for my mind. I'd love to tell you it was easier than the real gym but well… it's not really. It takes time, effort, and practice but it's absolutely well worth the rewards.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Pinky swear!

When Happier Thinking came in the mail, I was a little skeptical. I thought, “It’s a tiny book, how could this possibly be that useful.”

If you go into this book thinking you’re going to have loads and loads of information tossed at you so you can immediately change your life, you’ll be disappointed. The beauty of this book isn’t in the fact that it’s offering you tons of ways to help you think happier, but that it’s offering you concrete ways to do so. It almost made me feel like someone was giving me little reminders on good habits to adopt.

The thing with it being so short, too, is that the information is easily digestible. You can choose to read it all in one sitting, like I did, or to break it up by chapter and start with each piece of information. It makes the process of “change” a little less overwhelming, which I greatly appreciated. Sometimes self-help books are so gigantic I can’t even take them off the shelf for fear of failing.

If you like quick reads chalk full of quirky humour, a funny friend jumping off the page to offer you sage advice, and a fast pick-me-up when you’re feeling down, Happier Thinking is it. I find myself flipping through it randomly when I’m feeling down, just to bring a smile to my face for a minute or two. And it works.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
on May 1st 2011
Genres: non-fiction
Pages: 288
Goodreads

In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.

The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath.

Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.

I’m not usually a non-fiction reader, but I love anything that has to do with the human brain. I love when people try to analyze the way people tick. It’s just so fascinating to me.

I think I originally saw this book on someone’s YouTube channel (don’t remember who, sadly) and I immediately marked it as a to-read. But because it’s a nonfic, I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to buy it. And then a couple of weeks ago I refound my love for my local library and they had The Psychopath Test. Score!

Although this book doesn’t delve too deeply into exactly why psychopaths are the way they are, it was interesting to see the different thought patterns behind labeling someone a psychopath. And reading the reactions of those who are labelled that way. It was a very surface level dig into the madness industry, but it was incredibly fascinating. Especially if you don’t know all the lingo, as it doesn’t take too much outside knowledge to understand.

If you want a light, fun read about what possibly makes a psychopath a psychopath, definitely give this a try. If you’re looking for a book to tell you whether or not you’re a psychopath, this isn’t it.

And if you are looking for something to tell you whether you are or aren’t one, chances are you aren’t. If you were, you wouldn’t care. This was pointed out in the book and made me laugh.

“But isn’t Tony kind of a semi-psychopath? A gray area? Doesn’t his story prove that people in the middle shouldn’t necessarily be defined by their maddest edges?