Since the purpose of this book is teaching how to achieve enlightenment, it doesn't cover things like...moreThis was my first real introduction to Buddhism.
Since the purpose of this book is teaching how to achieve enlightenment, it doesn't cover things like Buddhist history or explanations of the basic concepts and so I realize I have a lot to learn to understand this religion.
There are essentially 3 steps to enlightenment: Practicing Morality, Concentrated Meditation and Practicing Wisdom. These are the steps to totally enlightenment and becoming a Buddha, as such they go beyond the layperson. My goal is not to become a Buddha (I'm not even a Buddhist!) but to find peace of mind and be a more compassionate person. So, I found much of this to be beyond my willingness to practice.
The Practicing Morality section interested me the most and there are things here that I really took away. While I can respect and strive for nearly every aspect of the Dalai Lama's teaching here, some parts have me thinking more than others. The meditation section of the book was a bit over my head. I'm going to go back to it, or find another resource. The wisdom chapters were where things got totally out of my grasp. He says that it takes lifetimes to fully master morality and meditation enough to fully start to understand wisdom, so I don't feel too bad about not getting it. (less)
There wasn't much new here. Anyone who has spent any time in the corporate culture of leadership workshops and communication seminars has heard most o...moreThere wasn't much new here. Anyone who has spent any time in the corporate culture of leadership workshops and communication seminars has heard most of these over-simplified tips.
Overall it was a nice refresher on basics but not really helpful.
I should also admit that I skipped a couple chapters that weren't relevant to the issue I'm trying to deal with and skimmed a lot of the chapters that I did read.(less)
I requested this book by accident, while searching for another book on the topic of simplicity. It wasn't quite what I was looking for, which made me...moreI requested this book by accident, while searching for another book on the topic of simplicity. It wasn't quite what I was looking for, which made me tempted to give it a poor review. But I can't really blame the book for my own expectation. So, in all objectiveness, setting aside starting out on the wrong foot: I give it 2 stars.
There are different definitions of living simply and each person has to figure out what that means to them. For the most part, St James sticks with a stress reduction motivation and largely succeeds. But every so often she steers into sustainable living. I'm all for sustainable living, but to equate it with stress-free is naive. Seriously, anyone who could possibly suggest that houseplants are a huge stresser cannot also suggest planting a vegetable garden. I've tried growing vegetables and I can safely say that the 3 weeks of tomatoes and zucchinis did not make up for daily watering, bi-weekly weeding and all around panic about everything dying. And don't even bother to ask if it saved me any money!
In all the advice give is largely unoriginal and dated. Maybe decluttering your closets was a revolutionary thought in 1994, but now we have entire TV channels dedicated to the topic. Also, the writer's focus on the wealthy was distracting and felt superior. I was glad to see her be a little self-deprecating and even funny in the food section where she finally came back down to human from wealthy-yuppy-extraordinaire.
The only suggestion in the book that I'm going to actually start (aside from the many that don't apply or I'm already doing) is going to bed at 9pm one day a week. Doesn't that sound awesome? (less)
Total quackary. The introduction, basics and conclusion are pure garbage. Astrology? Seriously?
But that said, I do like the idea of paying attention t...moreTotal quackary. The introduction, basics and conclusion are pure garbage. Astrology? Seriously?
But that said, I do like the idea of paying attention to the seasons and how our body and mind need different things at different times of the year. So I will continue to keep it around and read each season as it comes.
I didn't really find this helpful as a study guide. It's more of a referance manual/encyclopedia. I did find that I used it much more during the test...moreI didn't really find this helpful as a study guide. It's more of a referance manual/encyclopedia. I did find that I used it much more during the test than I expected.
Edited to add: I passed! I wasn't sure if I'd passed or not (the test was HARD), and so I believe I probably only passed by a small margin. There were a handful of problems I wouldn't have been able to solve without this reference. Therefore, I would have failed without this referance. So it gets my full recommendation!(less)
Malcolm Gladwell books are incredibly easy to spoil. They hint at a point, or a thesis, but really, we read them because he uses great stories as exam...moreMalcolm Gladwell books are incredibly easy to spoil. They hint at a point, or a thesis, but really, we read them because he uses great stories as examples. And these stories are so great we can't resist the urge to repeat them to our friends. Before you know it, we've all become like previews for a comedy movie, the kind of previews that show all the jokes so there is nothing fresh in the film, the kind of previews that make you want to see a film, and then get bored 1/2 way through. Blink and Tipping Point were spoiled for me in this way.
Outliers is the first Gladwell book I've read without that kind of preview and I found it to be much more enjoyable. And I find myself tempted to start telling these stories. But I'm resisting the urge. And when Gladwell comes out with another book I'll refuse to listen to people rave about it or to read reviews.
In short: Don't read reviews of this book! And don't let your friends tell you about it.
Now that makes it hard to review doesn't it? I'll try to only discuss the theses rather than the examples.
I absolutely buy the premise that much of success is being in the right circumstances at the right time. I think there is no disputing that, I struggle to see how that isn't at least partially common sense.
I'm not really clear on how the two halves of the book work together. The second half, seemed less about outliers, more about cultures. I was left feeling suspicious. I wonder how much Gladwell conflates correlation with causation. That's not to say that I wasn't interested in the second half, I actually thought it was much more interesting, if a bit uncomfortable. (less)
I think I would have had a different experience with this if I'd read the book instead of listening to it. Listening in 3 hour chunks on a roadtrip di...moreI think I would have had a different experience with this if I'd read the book instead of listening to it. Listening in 3 hour chunks on a roadtrip didn't give me a chance to digest the content. And I really really would have liked a table of contents. I'm sure there must have been some structure, but without defined breaks and chapter/section headings I often felt confused about what the topic was.
While I feel like it was only 2 stars the way I heard it, I still want to get the actual book and try again. And I'm re-inspired to start a meditation practice, this time in ultra-small sessions.
Also, while I totally dig the connections between Buddhism (as a method for happiness) and neuroscience, I'm more and more convinced that the correlations to quantum mechanics (also seen in the Dali Lama's The Universe in a Single Atom) is BS. If you're going to be science-y, leave the woo out of it.(less)
I was tempted to give Thinking Fast and Slow 3 stars. But then I realized that that was my remembering self's evaluation, based on my extreme feeling...moreI was tempted to give Thinking Fast and Slow 3 stars. But then I realized that that was my remembering self's evaluation, based on my extreme feeling (2 stars) and my ending feeling (4 stars). On a per page average, I think 2 is the correct rating to convey how I experienced the book.
Section 5, was by far the most interesting. It's given me quite a lot of food for thought.(less)
The Happiness Hypothesis is an excellent discussion book. I read it in an informal, impromptu book club. We met every few weeks and discussed a just 1...moreThe Happiness Hypothesis is an excellent discussion book. I read it in an informal, impromptu book club. We met every few weeks and discussed a just 1-2 chapters at a time and had amazing AMAZING discussions.
The most important thing to know about this book is that Haidt uses a completely different definition of "divinity" and "divine" than the rest of the world. After being really into this book, the sudden inclusion of those words upset me and turned me off and made me hate it for a while. My book club had to talk me down and convince me that divine means "super special" instead of "super natural". I reread the last few chapters with that substitution and all was well. Or, mostly well. I still take a lot of issue with those chapters for other reasons, but I was able to take what I needed from those parts as well.
I have a hell of a lot more to say, but I can't even organize that many thoughts into something coherent. (less)