Books I’ve Been Munching By: Taylor Conley

In my last post I mentioned that although I’m still on break, I still feel that GMC has not left me. That statement could not be more exponential hunger to read the entire psychology section of my local library. My break thus far has consisted of running (shout out to the GMC cross country team) and reading. 

 This break I’ve read: Man’s Search for Meaning by neurologist and pyschiatrist Vicktor Frankl (MD, PhD), Cirque du Soleil: The Spark-Igniting the Creative Fire that Lives Within Us All by John U. Bacon and Lyn Heward, What Flavor is Your Personality? by neurologist and pyschiatrist Alan Hirsch (MD, FACP), The Lonely Planet guide to Italy, and Rick Steve’s Europe Through the Back Door

Currently I am reading: Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (PhD), The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life by nreuoscientist Joseph LeDoux, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by social neuroscientist John T. Cacioppo (PhD) and William Patrick, and 50 Psychology Ideas You Really Need to Know by organisational and applied psychologist Adrian Furnham (PhD). 

Man’s Search for Meaning has greatly impacted my personal philosophy. Frankl champions Existentialism and is the founder of logotherapy. As a survior of the Holocaust in Aushwitz, Frankl has seen the deepest horrors and tragedies of humanity. Although I have a whole word document full of quotes from the book, the first one that really hit me was when he said, “We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” (Frankl, 65-66). It was then I realized no matter what situation I find myself in, in life, I always have a choice. There can be no excuse for my reactions, because that is my choice. After reading the book I thought back on my class last semester, Counseling & Psychotherapy with Vance Jackson. By the end of the class we were supposed to be formulating the theories we hoped to use in the future as counselors. I was not entirely sure what theories I would like to use, but after looking further into the Existentialism Theory through reading Man’s Search for Meaning, I have found the power that logotherapy puts back into the patient’s hands incredible. Logotherapy helps the patient realize they are not hopeless puppets of fate, but free agents who always have the personal control of choice. This realization has helped me personally and interpersonally. I highly recommend you read the book, if you have not. 

Cirque du Soleil: The Spark emphasized passion for me. You have to love what you do, you have to always keep the end goal in sight so that every piece that goes into it makes sense, you have to cheer your teammates on, and you have to constantly be deidcated to your best effort. This book helped me question if I’m living my passion each day. Each day is a celebration, chance, and endless opportunities for spontaneity. Spontaneity-speaking if which, I plan to audition for a female vocalist for Cirque du Soleil-why not?! It’s the type of book that revs your engine and reiterates that the only limitations we have are the ones we put on ourselves. 

What Flavor is Your Personality? is truly a fascinating book for anyone, but especially psychology majors. Some may think a person’s taste in food is so unique and random, that it couldn’t possibly reveal anything about their character-or that it’s all cultural and/or based on what is available. However, there are still choices within cultural contexts and what is available. Furthermore, other subtle things that people do can help us make up our mind about a person’s character. Should we really be so quick to dismiss what a person eats? If we are to critically look at the brain, wouldn’t we be interested as to why we make certain food choices based on flavors we desire most? Dr. Alan Hirsch tackels this question with multiple expereiments. For more information read a summary at

Although I have not read too far into Women Who Run with Wolves yet, I laready know I am going to fall in love with this book. It’s myths, analyzations, and stories of the wild woman archetype. The book was a required reading for a class at GMC, and there was a discussion held about the book. Unfortunately, I did not take the class nor attend the discussion (and yes I am now kicking myself). Thus far, it reminds me of a counterpart to a class I did take called Men in the Gendered World with Gary Meitrott. That class was probably one of my favorites, and I highly recommend it to any GMC student. It was fascinating to learn more about men, the cultural constructs and pressures they face, the crucial development and cndition of their realtionships with their parents, the myths, stories, and history of manhood. However, I cannot wait to read about the wild woman archetype-and thus the history, myths, stories, constrcts, and pressures of my own gender. I’m sure you can expect a future blog on my discoveries. 

Keep reading! I’ll be sure to do the same.


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