on 31 October 2009
I feel it is doing a disservice to a very fine book to use of it the term "psychobabble," which is language that provides a pseudo-wisdom, that short-circuits real thought and feeling. This Hoffman certainly does not do. Any expert writer in a specialised field is likely to use at least some specialised language, and the book would be twice as long if Hoffman stopped to explain every single term not to be found in this morning's papers. She does explain particularly new or unusual terms. She draws on neuroscience, psychology, pscho-analysis, history, literature, and this isn't one for a lazy afternoon by the pool.However, I think she writes calmly, clearly and authoritatively - but I don't imagine they'll be making a film out of this book! (cf "Lost in Translation.")
Hoffman is very good indeed at bringing together insights from different fields to provide a new (to me, anyway) perspective on the nature of time. I'm only half-way through the book, and already it has changed my thinking about the significance of time, which is in amongst the very roots of our being. We all know that our perception of time is relative (waiting for the kettle to boil compared with being late to pick up a child from school)but I had never realised how important that simple fact is, how our individual perception of time affects our personalities in profound ways, how we can derail ourselves by a dysfunctional temporality, and quite possibly en mass derail important aspects of our civilisation.
It's not that every thought in the book is new in itself, (although plenty of them are to me) it's that the combination of concepts creates an overall new perspective. That is a great gift for any writer of non-fiction about an abstract but very powerful process such as time. If you want a new perspective on what makes you tick (ha ha)as an individual but also on what is troubling and dysfunctional in our cultures, I think you'll get it from this book, with a little patient and careful reading. I find that it's best read in shortish chunks, with time to reflect and re-order one's thoughts - processes which the book itself helps you to understand. I think it's probably an important work for "the general reader."I'm going to shut up now and get on with the book.
on 2 December 2009
I think there is a lot more to this book than the supposed 'Psychobabble'. Granted there are a few terms that you may need a dictionary for but generally the reason I read a book is to broaden my horizons. This book certainly did that, I have lost count of the number of times since I put this book down that I have stopped and mentally referred back to a passage in the book in an everyday situation.
It changes the way you think about time. It Makes you realise how wasteful it is to constantly 'look forward' to something. It also Highlights how temporal awareness is a crucial aspect in participating in society amongst other things.
To sum up Buy the book. Its worth the time you will put into it.
on 21 October 2009
This book has some interesting chapters in it, but can be difficult reading when some chapters focus on psychobabble, that is less comprehensible for your average reader. The chapter on ADHD is particularly thought-provoking. All in all, a good read, providing you can stcik with the psychological jargon.