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Gordon S. Livingston

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Dr. Gordon S. Livingston, USA “was born in Memphis, TN and raised in upstate New York. He attended the U.S. Military Academy and upon graduation as an infantry officer was trained as a parachutist and an Army Ranger. He served for two years in the 82nd Airborne Division before attending medical school at Johns Hopkins from which he graduated in 1967. He interned at Walter Reed General Hospital before volunteering for Vietnam where he served as the Regimental Surgeon for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor.” Dr. Gordon S. Livingston is the author of How to Love; And Never Stop Dancing: Thirty More True Things You Need to Know Now; Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now; and, Only Spring: On Mourning the Death of My Son.

Booklist said of Only Spring: On Mourning the Death of My Son, “Gordon Livingston introduces this brutally honest diary as the story of the life and death of his son. It is that, focusing on Livingston's experience of losing his six-year-old son, Lucas, to leukemia; it is also an account of a process of mourning permeated by his gradual realization that "love is not lost even in death." The book focuses almost entirely on the experience of Lucas' death, but the suicide of Livingston's oldest son, Andrew, the previous year, is never far below the surface. It is to Livingston's credit that he speaks not in terms of a triumph over death but of a confidence, gradually won, that love is not lost. This sets the book apart from much of the popular literature of hope and makes it an important contribution to the tradition of tragedy that moves us to humanity in the embrace of mortality.

 

Publishers Weekly said of Only Spring: On Mourning the Death of My Son, “Psychiatrist Livingston's earlier journals of the death from leukemia of his six-year-old son, Lucas, were first published in the San Francisco Chronicle's Image magazine, where they evoked wide and warm response. In those writings, he detailed the grueling regimen (including a bone-marrow transplant from the author) that Lucas endured, bequeathing to the family a lesson about the power of the human spirit. The current journal details the depth of Livingston's struggle with the loss of Lucas and the earlier suicide of an older son, and with his rage at the medical technology that failed his child. A poignant account of an anguishing life-changing experience.”

 

Publishers Weekly said of Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now, “The gentle, even-keeled warmth of Livingston's prose distinguishes this slim book of 30 inspirational "truths." A psychiatrist familiar with trauma from both his practice and his life (in one 13-month period, he lost one son to leukemia and another to suicide), Livingston offers the kind of wisdom that feels simultaneously commonsensical and revelatory: "We are what we do," "The perfect is the enemy of the good," "The major advantage of illness is relief from responsibility." He intersperses counsel with personal experience, and tackles topics both joyful and deeply painful. In the chapter focusing on "We are what we do," he notes that the "three components of happiness are something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to," and he reminds us that "love is demonstrated behaviorally"-that is, actions count more than words. In his discussion of "Happiness is the greatest risk," he considers how our fear of losing happiness is often a roadblock to our experiencing it. For those contemplating suicide, he writes that "it is reasonable to confront them with the selfishness and anger implied in any act of self-destruction." Livingston's words feel true, and his wisdom hard-earned. Among the many blithe and hollow self-help books available everywhere, this book stands out as a jewel.”

 

One reader of Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now said, “The minute anyone realizes good intentions just don't cut it, that it's only actions that make me "me," life is immediately more fulfilling, more challenging, more fun. The difference between a person who becomes who they want to become, and a person who doesn't, can be found in their willingness to take real steps every day. Want to be someone who speaks another language? Get a book and teach yourself. Want to be the kind of person who is appreciated and valued at work? Review your work ethic and your interactions and make positive changes. Want to be healthier? Actually exercise every day instead of just planning to do so. The world can tell who you are by how you act, and if you don't like what it's seeing you're the only one who can fix it. In addition, realizing that the people around you aren't who they say they are, but who they act like they are, is a lesson I wish I'd been exposed to and had been able to comprehend in high school.”

 

According to the book description of How to Love, “Dr. Gordon Livingston’s books have resonated with readers as universally and deeply as earlier books by M. Scott Peck, Rollo May, and Erich Fromm. Now, Gordon Livingston—a physician of the human heart, a philosopher of human psychology—offers an urgently needed meditation on who best (and who best not) to love—and how best to love. Dr. Livingston’s primary focus in this new book is on helping us to recognize in ourselves and in others constellations of character traits and what those traits imply both with regard to compatibility and future conduct. As in his previous books, here are Dr. Livingston’s trademark gifts—an unerring sense of what is important, and what Elizabeth Edwards has characterized as “his unapologetic directness and his embracing compassion”—again deployed to provide readers everywhere with a much-needed alternative to the trial-and-error learning that makes wisdom such an expensive commodity.”


And Never Stop Dancing: Thirty More True Things You Need to Know Now
Gordon Livingston  More Info

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now
Gordon Livingston  More Info
Only Spring: On Mourning the Death of My Son
Gordon Livingston  More Info

How to Love
M.D. Gordon Livingston M.D.  More Info

Publishers Weekly said of And Never Stop Dancing: Thirty More True Things You Need to Know Now, “A physician and psychiatrist, Livingston follows up on his Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now with this compendium of useful humanistic advice for getting through life with grace and a sense of joy. In "Marriage Ruins a Lot of Good Relationships," the author notes that a relationship is in trouble when it depends on scorekeeping: how much am I giving, how much am I getting? Livingston advocates instead choosing a partner to love as much as we love ourselves, one who is kind and has a willingness to extend him or herself. Livingston also believes too many psychiatrists are prescribing medication rather than helping their patients "take responsibility for [their] lives and cope with the inevitable mood changes that are a part of living." Extrapolating from his ideas about the good life to broader issues, Livingston argues that our need for "insatiable consumption" is directly related to our abuse of the environment and our need to wage war. In "You Can Change Who You Are Without Rejecting Who You Were," Livingston, a West Point graduate, discusses his love for the Point and his growing opposition to the war in Vietnam, where he served as an army doctor. His public protests against interrogation techniques ended his military career. This slender volume is full of wisdom and written with a generous spirit that will appeal even to those who don't usually read self-help books.”

 

One reader of And Never Stop Dancing: Thirty More True Things You Need to Know Now said, “Why don't people like to see themselves in the mirror? Because they don't like what they see... One true thing. Step parents and step children will both be happier if they let the birth parents be the disciplinarians...another true thing. When long married couples divorce, it's often because while they have grown and changed, they couldn't find a way to stay friends.

 

So many authors of advice want to push their ideas onto you... to convince you or persuade you that theirs are the real truths. In contrast, Dr Livingston says "based on my many years in psychiatric practice, these are what I think are truths;" then it's up to the reader to consider his thoughtful and gentle advice.  There are thirty 3-5 page chapters, each a little essay and observation. Some you will like, some you will disagree with; but at the end of the book you will probably have found at least one new truth about yourself to take to heart, and in my book that's worth the price of admission.”

 

One reader said of How to Love, “As a writer, Dr. Gordon Livingston has that rare gift of taking a complex subject and explaining it to the reader in a way that is easy to understand. Gordon makes you examine the topic from what is good for you and what you need to avoid when entering a relationship based on love. His gentle but confronting style forces you to pause and think about your good, bad and ugly relationships. Love is not easy to find or accept but Dr. Livingston gives you an opportunity to explore for yourself how you could have a healthy loving relation. This book should be read by men and women who desire to love and be loved." How to Love" is a treasure that you need to read and share with your friends and loved ones.”

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