logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Philosophy
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-22 14:25
An inspiring book that will make you reconsider what life is about
The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters - Emily Esfahani Smith

Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing for providing me with an ARC copy of this book that I voluntarily chose to read and review.

I don’t read many inspirational books so I cannot share a deep analysis of how original the book might be or where it sits in regards to the topic. The book covers a variety of subjects, and it is classed under psychology and health, philosophy and self-help, and I agree it does touch on all those.

I’m a psychiatrist and I must admit I have never studied Positive Psychology as part of my degree but this book doesn’t require an in-depth knowledge of any of the disciplines to benefit from it.

The author opens the book by introducing herself, her background, and questioning the current focus on happiness. Is happiness sufficient to lead a satisfying life? She goes on to discuss many of the studies that show that having a sense of meaning can make a big difference to the outcomes of people at a time of crisis, be it a life-threatening illness or students going through exams, and grounds the readers in the subject. She uses one of the pillars she identifies as important to creating meaning, story-telling, to hook the readers into the topic of the book. If somebody came to you and asked you to give him (her) a reason not to kill him/herself, what would you say? That’s what happened to Will Durant and what set him off asking his colleagues and trying to understand what brings meaning to people’s lives. From there, and using positive psychology, Emily Esfahani Smith, defines the four pillars that bring meaning to people’s lives: belonging, purpose, story-telling and transcendence. The author illustrates each one of these topics with individual stories that help make the points more accessible. We have a young man who was only interested in money, became a drug dealer, and when he went to prison discovered his lifestyle was literally killing him. There he changed his habits and ended up not only becoming fit but also helping others to become healthier. We have a woman who loves animals and finds her purpose in looking after the animals in the zoo, ensuring their lives can be interesting there too. I learned about dream directors who help young people find purpose and meaning; I read about projects that help people in the final stages of life to find a purpose, other projects that help individuals tell their stories and record their experiences, groups that bring people who’ve lost somebody together… The author achieves this and more, all the while providing sources for her findings and reminders of how the issues discussed relate to philosophers and historical figures past and current. We might discover belonging by joining a society that enacts battles or find transcendence walking in nature or attending a special service at church. Ultimately, this is not a prescriptive book, and the process of discovery of meaning is an individual one.

I loved the stories, which go from individual experiences to projects that have grown and become important to many people, and the theoretical reflections that underpin the concepts, which are clearly explained and will also encourage readers new to the topic to explore further. The author succeeds in preserving the unique voices of the people whose experiences she shares and her own writing is seamlessly and beautifully achieved.  The book made me think and rethink life and its priorities and I suspect it will have a similar effect on many people.

A book on an important topic, written in an easily-accessible manner, illuminating and inspiring. Although I read it quickly for the review, this is a book that can be savoured and returned to as needed, and it will provide new discoveries and insights with every new reading.

A final note: Although the book appears quite long, the notes at the end occupy a 33% of the e-book (although they are easily accessible) and it does not feel like a long read.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-04 14:11
Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy #1)
Out of the Silent Planet - C.S. Lewis

Out of the Silent Planet

 

 

 

 

On a side note, I haven't seen any hiccups here at Booklikes in the last month. No more disappearing reviews or database resets that I can tell.  That being the case, I'll start posting my full reviews here again starting with the next review.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-12 20:42
Gridlinked (Polity: Agent Cormac #1)
Gridlinked (Agent Cormac) - Neal Asher

https://bookstooge.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/gridlinked-polity-agent-cormac-1/

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-02-03 11:43
Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1)
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.
Title: Gardens of the Moon
Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #1
Author: Steven Erikson
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 688
Format: Kindle Digital edition



 

 

Synopsis: Spoilers!

 

The Malazan Empire, now ruled by Empress Laseen, is on the path of expansion through total war. The last Free City on the continent of Genabackis, Darujhistan, is the next city in the sights of the Empire. Wracked from within by politics and threatened without by armies and mages, Darujhistan doesn't stand a chance.

 

Enter Rake, Lord of Moonspawn, a floating city, sorcerer supreme. Having allied with the Crimson Guard, might mercenaries and mages, Rake allies with the lords of Darujhistan to fight the Empire, but for his own reasons.

 

To counter this threat, Laseen has set into motion several plans, one of which is to find and unleash an ancient terror, a Jahgut Tyrant, a veritable god of power. Laseen means to pit the Tyrant against Rake and then to take down the weakened winner.

 

Enter the Bridgeburners. Loyal servants to the Empire and the old Emperor, who Laseen assassinated to become Empress. The Bridgeburners are meant for extinction, as Laseen can't have anyone around who isn't loyal to her. But the survivors are crafty, powerful and full of tricks of their own. They are meant to take Darujhistan and die, but they have other plans, plans of their own.

 

Unfortunately for everyone, there is a veritable cornucopia of gods, ancient powers and beings so old and so powerful that they might as well be gods. When humans can become gods, gods can become extinct and power is all, nobody can predict what will result.

 

My Thoughts:  Spoilers!


(For clarity's sake, I read this in June 2008 and again in December 2009. That link contains both my reviews in one review as Goodreads didn't have a re-read option and when importing to Booklikes I didn't feel like going through my 2000+ reviews and fixing "little" things like that.)

 

That synopsis barely scratches the surface of this book. In the forward Erikson tells us straight out that he will not be spoon feeding his readers anything and that he purposefully wrote things so as to make the readers work for connections. There are no obvious connections or explanations, there is Unexplained History of both nations and individuals and you are forced to hold on for your life or be thrown off the ride.

 

And what a ride this is! With this 3rd read I feel like I've finally got a little bit of a handle on this world. Since I have read the whole series, now I can begin to cobble it together. It helped that this time around I wasn't expecting all the threads started here to ever be finished or to connect. I have also finally accepted that this is The Book of the Fallen, which means that this is about people dying, not people winning or overcoming insurmountable odds. And even if they do win and overcome those odds, odds are they are still going to die.

 

At just under 700 pages, I believe this is the shortest of this decalogy. In one way it is the hardest of the books, as you have to sink or swim in terms of the world. Everything is new and unfamiliar and you simply don't know what is going on. In another way I found it the easiest of the books, as the action is relatively straight forward, the plot only slightly convoluted and the scope is kept pretty focused. When reading this for the first time you simply don't know how big the world is that Erikson has created nor do you know that the various narrators are only telling you what "they" know. Semi-unreliable not because they're trying to lie to you but because they have a very limited knowledge. Everything you learn in Gardens of the Moon is not necessarily true.

 

I added the "favorite" tag because this is the 3rd time I've read this and I still enjoyed the heck out of it while reading. It was a joy to read Erikson's prose, because while he is not sparse in his writings, nor is he turgid and bloviated. He walked that razor thin line of not writing to much or to little.

 

One thing to note. The kindle edition that I read had several noticeable OCR errors. There was a character named Coll, whose name came out as Coil more than a handful of times. Same for a guy named Toc the Younger. He became Toe the Younger half the time. I checked my hardcover and those errors were not there. I also don't know if those errors exist in the current kindle edition. I bought these when they first came out and promptly de-drm'd them and stuck them in calibre, so any updates would not have touched them. A potential issue if you're buying digital copies.

 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-01-28 04:12
It is the essence of man that he must question himself.
No Rusty Swords: Letters, Lectures and Notes 1928-36: From the Collected Works, Vol 1 - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

-Deitrich Bonhoeffer

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?