Author: Dr. Augusto Cury
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Length: 224 pages
Synopsis: In this book, Dr. Augusto Cury gives twelve principles which, if used, will promote a peaceful, healthy existence in one’s thought life. According to Cury, the thought life should be the defining reality in a person’s existence, but due to modern society’s dismissal of the importance of thinking correctly, many people suffer psychologically. This book is his manifesto on how to think correctly. Each chapter begins with a discussion of the principle. After the discussion, Cury explains how Jesus Christ is the model of correct thinking by looking at each principle and how it was used in Jesus’ life. Cury ends each chapter with an anecdote about another person, usually one who suferred psychologically, who was helped by that chapter’s principle.
My Thoughts: I have really mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, because it is published by a Christian publisher, I expected it to be wholly Christian. It is not. In fact, Cury makes this statement in his introduction:
Of all the accounts of individual men and women we have from history, it is my professional psychiatric opinion that no person has modeled the kind of rich life we need better than [Jesus]. Unfortunately, history has focused almost exclusively on Jesus’ divinity to the exclusion of his humanity. However, from my scientific standpoint, Jesus the man had a spectacular ability to think correctly [. . .] Let me emphasize that I am not talking about him from a religious perspective but from a psychological, psychiatric, philosophical, and pedagogical context. This book respects all people, including atheists. However, I believe no one has influenced history more than Jesus. This book will use the way he “thought correctly” as a model for all of us. (xv)
Really, the part about Jesus sort of escaped me. I get everything Cury says about Jesus–that he thought perfectly, coped with all the stress in his life, etc. However, it was hard for me to be on the same wavelength as Cury because while I do believe in Christ’s humanity, I also believe in his divinity. I do not believe that Jesus lived a peaceful life just for the sake of being peaceful and having a healthy psyche. I believe Jesus came to earth for a purpose: mankind’s redemption. As a Christian, I could not fully grasp what Cury says about Jesus because in the back of my mind I kept thinking to myself, “Yes, but Jesus is God and he had a purpose in doing that.”
On the other hand, as a person who has suffered from depression, I do think some of the principles in this book are useful. Let me preface all of this by stating that I know nothing about psychiatry. Much of what Cury writes went over my head because it is quite technical. I did grasp his gist, though: that people, even mentally ill people, have an amazing ability to recover and live productive lives if they learn to think correctly. I can see that with help, a person might apply the principles and make progress toward health and wholeness. The principle that I find the most helpful is the second one, “Direct Your Thoughts.” Cury introduces the idea of DCD: Doubt, Criticize, and Determine. He encourages those who have disturbing, stressful, anxious thoughts to doubt those thoughts, criticize (or judge) those thoughts, and then make a personal determination to not be ruled by them.
Overall, I was very glad to finish this book, mainly because I did not get all of the psychiatric terminology, etc. I am a little puzzled by the glowing recommendation by Max Lucado on the back cover of the book which states that this book ” ‘sheds new light on why no one has influenced history more than Jesus.’ ” I find that a little confusing because I cannot look at Jesus simply as a man, even when I consider his humanity. However, I do think this would be a worthwhile book for someone who suffers in his or her thought life to read because it could help empower such a person to realize that he or she is not helpless or hopeless.
I reviewed this book for the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program.