The author (a practicing meditater) has succeeded in generating a pop best-seller without stepping on too many toes. He presents a medical jargon-filled neurologists view of how the brain distorts reality and leads to suffering of the sort long ago described by Buddha. This happens through a built-in "negativity bias [that] fosters or intensifies other unpleasant emotions, such as anger, sorrow, depression, guilt, and shame." "it typically takes about five positive interactions to overcome the effects of a single negative one" He lists a set of cures based on "Activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System" including relaxation, Run warm water over your hands, diaphragm breathing, progressive relaxation, big exhalation, touching the lips, imagery, balancing your heartbeat and, predictably, meditation, among other things.
He talks about the illusory nature of human experience which he calls self-ing, how the brain constructs an apparent, fragmented false self. "Your brain simulates the world--each of us lives in a virtual reality that's close enough to the real thing that we don't bump into the furniture." "Just because we have a sense of self does not mean that we are a self. The brain strings together heterogeneous moments of self-ing and subjectivity into an illusion of homogenous coherence and continuity. The self is truly a fictional character. Sometimes it's useful to act as if it's real..." "The self has no independent existence whatsoever."
"In sum, from a neurological standpoint, the everyday feeling of being a unified self is an utter illusion: the apparently coherent and solid 'I' is actually built from many subsystems and sub-subsystems over the course of development, with no fixed center, and the fundamental sense that there is a subject of experience is fabricated from myriad, disparate moments of subjectivity." "No self, no problem." So, there you have it. Now that you know you are a fictional construct you can decide if you can find your genuine self through the rapture of meditation.
The author relates a story "about a Native American elder who was asked how she had become so wise, so happy, and so respected. She answered: 'In my heart, there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.'" In chapter 7 of his book he covers equanimity. "'Equanimity is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind.'" "Equanimity is neither apathy nor indifference: you are warmly engaged with the world but not troubled by it. Through its non-reactivity, it creates a great space for compassion, loving-kindness, and joy at the good fortune of others."