An Audible Pick for the Best of 2016 … So Far!
A 2016 GoodReads Readers’ Choice Best Science & Technology Book Award Nominee
Extraordinary things happen when we harness the power of both the brain and the heart.
Growing up in the high desert of California, Jim Doty was poor, living with an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. But back then his life was at a dead end—until at the age of twelve when he wandered into a magic shop looking for a plastic thumb. There he met Ruth, a woman who taught him a series of exercises to ease his own suffering and manifest his greatest desires. Her final mandate was that he keep his heart open and teach these techniques to others. Ruth gave Doty his first glimpse of the unique relationship between the brain and the heart.
Doty would go on to put Ruth’s techniques to work, bringing power and wealth that he could only imagine as a twelve-year-old. But he neglects Ruth’s most important lesson, to keep his heart open, with disastrous results—until he has the opportunity to make a spectacular charitable contribution that will virtually ruin him.
Part memoir, part science, part inspiration, and part practical instruction, Into the Magic Shop shows us how we can fundamentally change our lives by first changing our brains and our hearts.
“This book tells the remarkable story of a neurosurgeon’s quest to unravel the mystery of the link between our brains and our hearts…Jim Doty’s life illustrates how each of us can make a difference. We can make the world a more compassionate place. I’m sure many readers will be moved by this inspiring story to open their hearts and see what they too can do for others.” —His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner
“Part memoir, part scientific exploration, Into the Magic Shop is a powerful work of emotion and discovery, showing that we all have within us our own small magic shop, a place of calm and beauty we can return to whenever we need it. As James Doty compellingly shows, we simply have to open the door, and let ourselves in.” —Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post
“In this profound and beautiful book, Dr Doty teaches us with his life, and the lessons he imparts are some of the most important of all: that happiness cannot be without suffering, that compassion is born from understanding our own suffering and the suffering of those around us, and that only when we have compassion in our hearts can we be truly happy.” —Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master, global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist
“Neurosurgeon Doty combines gut-wrenching memoir with meditative how-to in this well-told, grueling tale of his personal journey from frightened pre-teen with an alcoholic father and depressed mother to a respected doctor and philanthropist…Doty’s advice in this rags-to-riches taleis inspirational and the mindfulness techniques he advocates are clearly documented.” —Publishers Weekly
“The author applies scientific investigation to the example of his life story, proving that you can overcome adversity and achieve meaningful success and enlightenment by embracing compassion along with focused willpower. An optimistic and engagingly well-told life story that incorporates scientific investigation into its altruistic message.” —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
James R. Doty, MD, is a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, where he researches the neuroscience of compassion and altruism. He is also a philanthropist funding health clinics throughout the world and has endowed scholarships and chairs at multiple universities. He serves on the board of a number of nonprofits, including the Charter for Compassion International and the Dalai Lama Foundation.