by P.M. Forni

St. Martin’s Press, $21.99, 175 pages

Do you spend every waking moment either on your phone, computer or watching television? If you do, you may be missing out on what John Hopkins Professor, P.M. Forni, describes as “the first necessary step toward life’s elusive grand prize—true happiness.” In The Thinking Life, Forni extols the virtues of introspection and reflection as the process by which we learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. In an age where every waking minute is spent on competing technology, the art of thinking has been relegated to back burner.

He offers sound advice on how to incorporate thinking into a hectic lifestyle to improve mental health. Thought processes such as attention, reflection, self-control, decision making, proactive thinking, positive thinking and problem solving are explored as personal skills one can acquire and use at will—if we make the time. At the end of each chapter are exercises where the reader may choose to “read this book  . . . or live it.”

The hardcover’s quality makes it an impeccable gift for the philosophy lover. The book’s formatting, size and paper feel like an old friend. However, like most academic work, the paragraphs are long and may be cumbersome for those with a short attention span (see page 29 for information on the importance of attention).

Sheli Ellsworth