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Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Length: 286 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


"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 Hahn, Zen Buddhist monk, global spiritual leader and peace activist

"Once in a generation, someone is able to articulate the compelling mystery within his or her life story in such a way that it captures the imagination of others and inspires them to align with what is deepest and best in themselves and allow it to manifest and flower...Behold what is emerging now." 
-Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Center for Mindfulness, Health Care and Society and creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

"Into the Magic Shop is not only a moving testimony that keeps the reader enthralled throughout the book, but also a powerful exhortation to live a more compassionate and meaningful life. Beautiful and highly inspiring."
-Matthieu Ricard, Buddhist monk, humanitarian and author of Altruism: How Compassion can Change Your Life and the World

"Stanford neurosurgeon James Doty shares with us his difficult childhood and how meeting an extraordinary woman in a magic shop at twelve changed everything. A moving and eloquent story that offers us a path to open our hearts and enlighten our minds."    
-Chade-Meng Tan, Google's Jolly Good Fellow and NYT bestselling author of Search Inside Yourself

"An optimistic and engagingly well-told life story that incorporates scientific investigation into its altruistic message."
Kirkus Reviews

"Into the Magic Shop is pure magic!  That a child from humble beginnings could become a professor of neurosurgery and the founder of a center that studies compassion and altruism at a major university, as well as an entrepreneur and philanthropist is extraordinary enough. But it is Doty's ability to describe his journey so lyrically, and then his willingness to share his methods that make this book a gem."
—Abraham Verghese, MD, Author of Cutting for Stone

"This book tells the remarkable story of a neurosurgeon's quest to unravel the mystery of the link between our brains and our hearts. From the moment in his childhood when a simple act of kindness changed the course of his own life to his founding a center to study compassion at Stanford University. 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

Into the Magic Shop offers a gripping, well-told journey into the mysteries of the human mind and brain. Neurosurgeon James Doty has written a heartwarming tale of courage and compassion."
—Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of Emotional Intelligence
"Into the Magic Shop is a captivating journey of discovery. Neurosurgeon Jim Doty's well-told personal story illuminates for us all the power of insight and empathy to transform our lives and enhance our world. Read it and you too may find magic in the mystery and majesty of the mind to bring health and healing to our individual and collective lives.
Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.,Author of Mindsight
“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, author of Thrive
“A moving memoir on the power of compassion and kindness. Neurosurgeon James Doty shares his inspiring story of growing up with seemingly insurmountable challenges, receiving a gift that changed his life, achieving remarkable success but then losing it all, and discovering that the mind is shaped as much by the heart as the brain.”
—Adam Grant, PhD, author of Give and Take
"A powerful, eloquent, deeply spiritual and exquisitely beautiful book.  Real magic!"
—Dean Ornish, M.D., author of The Spectrum
“This is one of the most compelling and inspiring books I have ever read. We’re with Jim at each step, as he struggles with poverty and trauma, becomes a world-class brain surgeon, gains and loses a fortune, and learns deep lessons about the magic in each person’s heart. Gripping, profound, extraordinary.” 
—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Hardwiring Happiness

"Dr. Doty’s powerful book, Into the Magic Shop, is a testament to how faith and compassion extend beyond religion, race and nationality and can help an individual overcome adversity and personal limitations.  It is an inspiration." 
—Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation

 “Into the Magic Shop will literally rewire your brain. A candid and personal story about a life transformed by a chance encounter in a magic shop. It is a truly optimistic and inspirational testament to the power of compassion and the ability to overcome adversity and discover your true potential.”
—Glenn Beck, nationally syndicated radio host and founder of The Blaze 

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. He is also a philanthropist funding health clinics throughout the world and has endowed scholarships and chairs at multiple universities.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1421 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399577963
  • Publisher: Avery (February 2, 2016)
  • Publication Date: February 2, 2016
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,249 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is an interesting one that I read in one night. It is both a memoir and a metaphysical book, and is written by a neurosurgeon. The introduction has a graphic description of brain surgery which I stopped reading long before it was over. Chapter One then goes back to Lancaster, California in 1968, where the author is a twelve-year-old who feels like he is most unlucky where his family is concerned. His father is an alcoholic with unsteady employment, his mother is depressed and sometimes suicidal, his older brother is always frightened, and eviction is always a possibility. But then he walks into a magic shop one day, where Ruth, the owner’s mother, decides he would be a good candidate to teach the “magic” of metaphysics.

What she basically teaches him is meditation and visualization. Those are two topics I’ve read much about, since I’ve read hundreds of metaphysical books, but have never been truly enticed to practice. No, I’m not going to add "until now". Although if you are interested in those two things and don’t won’t to get bogged down in "heavy" reading, this book would be an excellent one to read. What you will learn is “relaxing the body”, “taming the mind”, “opening the heart” and “clarifying your intent”. There are step-by-step instructions, of two to three pages, about each of those techniques after they are discussed. There are also audio versions of those instructions at a website mentioned in the book. Thus, this is a bit of a self-help book, too.

Dr. Doty describes how his childhood is tremendously changed after spending six weeks learning Ruth’s lessons. His family life doesn’t really change, he is the one who changes.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
From time to time, I think everyone dreams about finding some magic formula to solve all their problems and create an ideal life. More often than not, those incidents only happen in fictional tales. But in the summer of 1968 when he was only 12, Jim Doty walked into a magic shop and it forever changed his life and the lives of countless other people.

Into The Magic Shop, by Dr. James Doty, is the amazing story of what happened by that chance encounter. Jim was only 12 years old at the time. For some strange reason, Ruth, the mother of the magic shop owner saw some hidden potential in Jim and agreed to mentor him over the summer. What follows is one of the most remarkable and magical stories you will ever read.

The story is so remarkable that about half way through the book, I Googled Dr. Doty to confirm the facts of the book.
Jim came from a terribly dysfunctional family. It would have been exceptional for him to have achieved even a modest level of success. But based on the lessons Ruth taught him, he achieved success most people only dream about.

Ruth taught Jim to meditate. She taught him how to focus, how to clear the mind, and how to set intentions. She tried to teach him to open his heart, but that was a lesson he would only learn much later in life.

Jim’s dream was to become a doctor. He was barely passing undergraduate studies in college. Getting into med school seemed totally out of the question. But because of the “magic” of meditation, focus and setting intentions, he achieved the impossible. He went on to become a neurosurgeon.

One of the goals he set as a child was to become wealthy. He did that and more.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Into the Magic Shop caught my attention because of the author’s credentials - according to the back of the book, Doty is a professor in the Dept. of Neurosurgery at Stanford University. His book, however, is far more simplistic than other books on the mind-body connection that I have read, and, most disappointing, it presents some questionable beliefs.

This is written on a very simple level and is mainly an autobiography, with only very basic principles of the mind-body connection offered. This principles are collected in 4 sections titled “Ruth’s Tricks”, each of which is only 1 ½ to 2 ½ pages long.

If that was all the criticism I had, I would suggest that this would be a good book for a struggling teen who could use some inspiration. But, as I got further into the book, I saw that this was not a good option. Even those with poor reading skills can find better books on the mind-body connection.

About half way into the book, the author tells us about when he learned that visualization, by itself, can bring material things into your life. He doesn’t present visualization as something that can help motivate you in your pursuit of something; rather he says that if you visualize something in enough detail and often enough (one of his examples is about wanting a Rolex watch), it will be yours.

This isn’t a valid mind-body connection component. Yes, visualization can be very, very, helpful in influencing your mind, mood, and health. It can motivate you to achieve. It can’t, however, make a watch, the rent money, or a million dollars (all of these are his examples) pop into your life. IMHO. If your opinion differs, then you may like this book. If you agree with me, then you will probably be best off passing on this book.
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