Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2020

Stumbling on Happiness- A Book Review

STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS      by Daniel Gilbert Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton Harvard psychology professor, Daniel Gilbert , will make you laugh as he weaves witticisms and humorous stories into an entertaining account of scientific research as we join him in Stumbling on Happiness . Essentially, Gilbert argues in chapter one, that we spend much of our time planning and executing unsuccessful strategies to attain an elusive state of happiness. In six sections, we learn why such a quest often proves beyond our grasp. In part one, Gilbert provides a brief overview of the philosophical foundations of the problem of subjective analysis of happiness. He gradually leads us to an operational definition by illustrating how common human experiences can deliver shared feelings of happiness. However, he illustrates how the elusive and subjective aspect of happiness can produce self-deception by demonstrating how the human brain misperceives visual phenomena and similarly misperceives the im


WHITE FRAGILITY:  Why It’s So Hard for White People  to Talk About Racism      By Robin DiAngelo     Reviewed by        Geoffrey W. Sutton   White Fragility is a best seller with a surge in interest during this 2020 springtime of protests against racism. The concept, white fragility , is now a part of everyday discourse—at least among those who endorse the concept. Even if you disagree with most or all of DiAngelo’s ideas, I think it worth reading or listening to if you live in, or are part of, the world where white people are, or were, oppressive in their actions toward black people. I listened to the AUDIBLE version on a trial.   The path to white fragility in America begins a few centuries ago. DiAngelo does not dwell on the past but draws back the curtain on the historic wasteland so we have a context.   “Claiming that the past was socially better than the present is also a hallmark of white supremacy. Consider any period in the past from the perspective of people

Influence- The Psychology of Persuasion - A Book Review

Influence - The Psychology  of Persuasion  by Robert B. Cialdini Reviewed by Geoffrey W. Sutton Cialdini is a psychologist who has studied what it takes to persuade people to do act. When I consulted with parents and teachers about child behavior, I asked about commercials they remembered, which was often a fun exercise. Then I asked about influence— most admit remembering ads when in a store or buying something on impulse. My point is, businesses know they that a 30 or 60-second commercial can influence human behavior.  If you are trying to sell a product or service, protest for change, or win converts to your cause, Cialdini’s principles backed by fascinating research might be helpful. The numbers refer to the chapters in the book, Influence . 1. The Contrast Principle. When we have two experiences—one after another—the first one influences the second. Meet a mean person first and the next person will seem kinder even if they are neutral. Meet a kind and welcoming person first and th

The Color of Compromise-Racism in Church

The Color of Compromise The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby Reviewed by    Geoffrey W. Sutton “On July 4, 2016, as my social media feeds filled with images of American flags and friends’ backyard barbecues celebrating America’s independence, I took to Twitter and posted a picture [sic] seven African Americans picking cotton in a field with the following caption: “My family on July 4th 1776.” (From the forward by Lecrae, p. 9) Few would disagree that American slavery was immoral. As I examine The Color of Compromise in July 2020, I am keenly aware that my lessons in American history were whitewashed. And worse, I was never exposed to the degree to which the American Christian church failed to address slavery and its legacy of racism. Tisby tells the story of American anti-black racism in 11 chapters arranged in chronological order. However, The Color of Compromise is not just the story of racism; it is the stor

Biblical Literalism a Gentile Heresy by John Shelby Spong

Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy  A Journey into a New Christianity  Through  the Doorway of Matthew's Gospel By John Shelby Spong Reviewed by Geoffrey W. Sutton John Shelby Spong retired as Episcopal Bishop of Newark NJ in 2000. He is a strong voice for Progressive Christians. In Biblical Literalism , Spong offers an easy to read commentary on Matthew's Gospel that reveals the Jewish roots of the stories, which are presented in the context of the Jewish calendar. Spong opines that Christians who read the bible in a literal or near literal fashion and ignore Jewish culture cannot understand the gospel, which was written by a Jewish man for a Jewish audience decades after Jesus' ministry. Spong reminds (or informs) readers that the story of Jesus in the New Testament begin with the early letters of Paul. Years later, we get Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. Paul's story of Jesus is limited and what he leaves out is significant. Mark'