BOOK REVIEW | James Doty, “Into the Magic Shop.”

Most readers heard about it from someone (my case), read the summary on the cover, or know who the author is. Doctor James Doty is a renowned neurosurgeon, investor, and researcher. People who expected a book about medicine were slightly disappointed. It opens with the description of brain surgery, but it moves quickly to the author’s personal story.


While this title may be seen as a metaphor for the story in the book, well, no. The whole story starts in a magic shop. Literarily.


One may feel compelled to do some fact-checking because this man’s life was a roller coaster, an extraordinary journey with so many unexpected changes. You could easily binge watching if it was adapted for the screen. Throughout his life, he overcame poverty and personal difficulties to attend medical school, survives a car crash, loses most of his fortune when the .com bubble crushed, and so on.


James Doty’s journey from poverty to success starts in the ’60s, as the title points out, in a magic shop. A woman named Ruth will teach the young James meditation, visualization, and manifestation. Not that they called them like that in those times.


A young boy was facing constant stress due to his family situation (alcoholic father, depressive mother, and frequent eviction threats).
Day by day, he learns how to manage stress, to relax, to silence voices in his head, and manifest everything he wants to achieve in life. It was uncommon for those times, and maybe that makes it a great story to tell.


James Doty’s journey sees so many ups and downs by the point when (way later in his life), he dedicates his efforts to research compassion’s impact on our physical and mental well-being and is joined in this endeavor by the likes of Dalai Lama.


Yes, this book may and will be labeled as “motivational” by many. Rightfully so. But we can hardly dismiss the significant role meditation, visualization, and manifestation play in achieving a less stressful life and attaining success, whatever that means for each of us. The author exemplifies this by talking about his life…


For all the others, it is a darn thrilling story.