Into the Magic Shop
A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
The award-winning New York Times bestseller about the extraordinary things that can 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, 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 (CCARE) at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. But back then his life was at a dead end until at twelve he wandered into a magic shop looking for a plastic thumb. Instead 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. She gave him his first glimpse of the unique relationship between the brain and the heart.
Doty would go on to put Ruth’s practices to work with extraordinary results—power and wealth that he could only imagine as a twelve-year-old, riding his orange Sting-Ray bike. 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.
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. He attributes his success to the ancient mindfulness and visualization techniques that "rewired" his brain and were taught to him in the back of a magic shop in 1968, when he was 12 years old. "When our brain changes, we change," Doty writes. "That is a truth proven by science. But an even greater truth is that when our heart changes, everything changes." It's the heart lesson that proves the hardest to learn for Doty as he boldly masters medical school to become a noted neurosurgeon and investment multimillionaire. Meditation and visualization are great for "journeying inward... but without wisdom and insight (opening the heart) the techniques can result in self-absorption, narcissism, and isolation." The inward voyage, he argues, is meant to lead a person to "go outward and connect with others." Doty's advice in this rags-to-riches tale is inspirational and the mindfulness techniques he advocates are clearly documented.
A beautiful read
I read every page with a smile on my face, such a beautiful book, amazing journey and it teaches you how the brain-heart harmony can change your life.
A Must Read For All
Most people suffer from stress and anxiety without knowing they can do anything about it. This book shows exactly how to eliminate stress and anxiety while fostering a positive, compassionate mindset.