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Rod O'Connor
Einstein's Last Message
Rod O'Connor, author

Adult; Political & Social Sciences; (Market)

In 1946 Einstein was worried. On the 23rd of June, he gave the New York Times his "message." He warned, "A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive." Einstein was fearful of nuclear war and human nature. He thought we might destroy ourselves. Since then, our situation has become worse. We now have climate change and far-reaching destruction of the natural world. For people are brilliant but destructive - we travel into space and defeat disease, but we also wage war and destroy other living things. We threaten almost all of life on earth. Why are we in this situation? Dr. Rod O'Connor, an international healthcare researcher and cognitive psychologist, takes us on an extraordinary ride to find out. In this original, compelling account, we discover there are four mental worlds nested within each other, like Russian dolls, and we think differently in each. Together, they make our wise decisions and our poor ones. •\tThe mechanical world – the outermost, where we imagine the universe and ignore the obvious •\tThe realm of people – where we empathize yet judge too quickly •\tThe inner self – we want happiness, and we will harm to gain it •\tOur sense of right and wrong – with the right values, we can know what to do Based on the scientific literature and an examination of real-life decisions, Dr. O'Connor explores the four worlds, and shows our thought processes are remarkable - the best are inspired and magical, while the worst are terrifying. And we find answers to seven vital questions: 1.\tHow do we discover and invent? 2.\tHow do we understand other people? 3.\tHow should we react to leaders? 4.\tWhy do we lie to ourselves? 5.\tWhy do people destroy so readily? 6.\tAre animals ' people' too? 7.\tHow can we stop harming our earth, and have a good future? 'Einstein's Last Message' provides the way to a better, safer world. By understanding how we think, we can correct our weaknesses. We can save ourselves and nature too.
Debut author O’Connor, a cognitive psychologist, packs an overflowing helping of wisdom and heart into this slim volume about mindfulness and its role in humankind’s future. Galvanized by a 1946 Albert Einstein interview, O’Connor asserts that a new type of thinking is essential if humankind is to survive such crises as global warming and the Covid-19 pandemic. He posits that four “thinking worlds” inform all decisions, good and bad: the material world, trying to understand people, inner self, and an internal sense of right and wrong. Using a metaphor readers will easily understand, he compares these four worlds to Russian nesting dolls. O’Connor, painstakingly explains how the four worlds nest within each other and coexist when making both good and bad decisions.

Using that frame and sensible, easy-to-understand prose, he examines empathy, intuition, greed, the placebo effect, and global destruction with an unwavering and realistic gaze, and offers practical strategies for readers to do the same. Comfortingly, he describes mental time travel to lance any festering wounds from one’s psyche, a path easy to undertake from one’s favorite living room chair. While he is for the most part optimistic, O’Connor is a realist about human error: he notes that memory shortcomings, incendiary language, and confirmation bias can effectively derail the truth, but offers methods to avert such pitfalls.

O’Connor tackles daunting subjects with a deft touch, making complicated concepts accessible for the average reader, and his suggestions and principles are sound, well-reasoned, and meticulously footnoted. Two concise, helpful appendices recap the author’s most important points, providing valuable cheat sheets for those pondering important decisions or trying to overcome faulty reasoning. Any reader concerned for the future of humankind will find wise nuggets of information to take and implement on the journey forward.

Takeaway: This passionate plea for a thoughtful and intentional future will touch everyone from dedicated environmentalists to college students.

Great for fans of: Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: B+
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-