Please join me in thinking critically and creatively about self-help books and spiritual practices.
Most of us are not psychologists or spiritual teachers. But we are intelligent non-experts.
And we’re all mortal human beings who want to be free of suffering.
The problem is that we’re inundated with advice about how to get healthy, happy, and enlightened. How do we know what works?
Many people who dispense ideas about the good life are qualified experts and ethical teachers. Others are well-meaning but misinformed, inept, or both. And some are outright hucksters.
Who can we trust?
Let’s find valid information from credible sources.
Let’s take a deep dive into specific books and teachers.
Let’s capture big insights, connect ideas, and clarify how to change our thinking and behavior.
We’ll distill the essence, discard the disingenuous, and discover what makes a difference in daily life.
This website is a curated collection of insights — the best of what I’ve learned about applied psychology and spiritual practices. I write to keep these ideas up front and active in my heart and mind.
If you also benefit from what you find here, then I will be even more grateful.
I write about ideas and practices that fascinate me, benefit me, or alarm me. However, please do not take anything on this website as advice.
Advice turns me off. I find it condescending and simplistic. I respect individual differences and never assume that what works for me will work for you.
In addition, I am not a psychotherapist or other professional who’s qualified to provide treatment. I cannot guarantee that any idea or technique recommended on this website will work for you.
I urge you to rigorously test anything you read here — or elsewhere — and proceed with appropriate caution when experimenting with any behavior change.
Like they say in Alcoholics Anonymous: Take what works and leave the rest.
Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters and priests. After examination, believe what you yourself have tested and found to be reasonable and conform your conduct thereto. — BUDDHA
Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own. — BRUCE LEE
More about me
I’ve been a professional copywriter and editor since 1979. Over the years I’ve freelanced for Cengage Learning, Houghton Mifflin Company, Hazelden Publishing, Mayo Clinic, UnitedHealthcare, and other organizations and individuals.
Since 1989 I’ve been the contributing editor for the Master Student Series of books published by Cengage Learning. Becoming a Master Student by Dave Ellis is America’s best-selling college textbook, now in its 16th edition. I’ve edited dozens of books for other publishers as well.
My own books include:
- Career Planning Supplement to Becoming a Master Student by Dave Ellis, Stan Lankowitz, Ed Stupka, and Doug Toft, Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
- Helping Chronically Addicted Adolescents: Problems, Perspectives, and Strategies for Recovery by Cardwell C. Nuckols, A.G. Porcher III, and Doug Toft, McGraw-Hill, 1994.
- The Caregiver’s Journey: When You Love Someone with AIDS by Mel Pohl, Deniston Kay, and Doug Toft, Harper San Francisco, 1991.
- The Disease Concept of Alcoholism and Other Drug Addiction by Norman Miller and Doug Toft, Hazelden, 1990.
- HIV: What You Need to Know by Dorothy Flynn and Doug Toft, Hazelden, 1989.
I invite you to subscribe to my blog. Your feedback is always welcome. In the meantime, may you be happy, peaceful, and at ease.