Review by James Dykeman
In Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart, author Jim Doty tells the story of his challenging childhood spent living in poverty with parents struggling with addiction and mental health issues. At 12 years old, Doty meets a woman in a magic shop who offers wisdom and advice that changes the trajectory of his life in profound and unexpected ways.
Guided by the ‘magic’ of practices that center on the importance of keeping an open heart guided by the mind while helping others, Doty grows into a wealthy and successful surgeon, far removed from the struggles of his youth. While following the trajectory of Doty’s life, the book explores the link between the complexities of the mind and the emotional power of the heart while discussing the importance of being mindful with guidance on tackling internal challenges to build a brighter future. The road becomes rocky later in the memoir when Doty shares tumultuous repercussions when success and comfort take precedence over the importance of human connection and understanding.
Along this incredible journey, readers will encounter lessons that emphasize living with empathy and compassion, opening hearts to connect with others, the importance of mindfulness and mediation, and the science that suggests the link between our heart and mind is central to overcoming trauma and living with intention and humility.
For mediators and conflict resolution professionals, Into the Magic Shop provides insight into the importance of kindness, compassion, and empathy, not only as a means to understand better the parties we work to bring together but as a path toward becoming better human beings ourselves. By looking within, we find the insight and guidance needed to help and care for the people we serve while facing our internal challenges and traumas to foster a more meaningful connection with others.