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Geoscientist Online

The Psychologist's Just Been

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It is unusual to find a title of this type in a book review section of a geological magazine.  However, the essence of the book is essentially a semi-autobiography of a mineral exploration geologist.

The book does not even attempt to discuss the psychology of the field geologist's mind, which is probably a good thing!  It does, however, give an excellent insight into the life of a field geologist over a period of almost 40 years. Each chapter is essentially an anecdotal story that indirectly maps the author's career and it makes a fascinating and interesting read. Because each chapter focuses on a different aspect of his career, it is an easy book to dip into from time to time without losing track of the overall story.

The author's search for diamonds and gold has taken place predominantly in Africa, Australia and China.  Often set in remote and isolated wilderness, attempts to interpret the local geology in the search for minerals frequently become secondary to avoiding snakes and explaining to the local cook that macaroni cheese is not usually served as a frozen dessert. 

Even when not working in the wilderness, the author is to be found crawling around one of the deepest gold mines in the world in a setting that would drive most modern health and safety officers to distraction, or dealing with extraordinary levels of bureaucracy in communist China. The anecdotes are witty and enlightening, giving the reader a fascinating insight into the career of a mineral exploration geologist.

One of the most interesting things to emerge is that the author's career has taken him to locations well away from well-trodden tourist trails and takes place during periods of significant social change. Scenarios and situations throughout the book are recorded with insight and wit and the author is always sensitive and respectful of all the cultures and traditions he encounters. It is, in fact, a valuable record of social and political change throughout this period.

The book does tend to jump from continent to continent rather abruptly; but once the reader gets used to this style of writing, it is an excellent read and one that can also be recommended to those without any knowledge of or expertise in geology.

However, if you are hoping for an in-depth psychological analysis of the mind of such a geologist, you should maybe head for a different section of the library.

Reviewed by Tim Tubby

THE PSYCHOLOGIST'S JUST BEEN by TOM LINDSAY.  2015 Mirador Publishing. 210pp, Pbk. ISBN-10: 1911044427 ISBN-13: 978-1911044420.  List Price: £8.99.  Kindle edition £3.99.