Into the Magic Shop
A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
Extraordinary things 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, living 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 at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. But back then his life was at a dead end—until at the age of twelve when he wandered into a magic shop looking for a plastic thumb. There 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. Ruth gave Doty his first glimpse of the unique relationship between the brain and the heart.Doty would go on to put Ruth's techniques to work, bringing power and wealth that he could only imagine as a twelve-year-old. 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.