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review 2016-10-30 23:11
The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree is a favorite among many. I really love the story that it tells and the overall message it leaves to it's readers: be content with what you have. There is always going to be something better, but it is important to be content in where you are and what you have in life. This is a good story to read to second graders. After a read aloud, students could write letters to the tree sharing their feelings.

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review 2015-02-09 00:00
Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment
Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment - Alan Cohen Rather than re-invent the wheel, or in this case the book summary, I will defer to the author, Alan Cohen, to give an explanation of what the book is about. The theme of “Enough Already” is, “You can have enough because you are enough, you deserve enough, and enough is always available constitutes the core lesson, and every sentence and chapter illuminates the central principle from a unique angle. “
The End….

Just kidding. While above summary is completely succinct and accurate, there is a great deal more about “Enough Already” that I want to share because it contains an abundance of compassionate, self-empowering wisdom. Using personal accounts, quotes from both well- known and less-familiar people throughout history and just pure insight into life itself, Alan Cohen reminds us that while we are seeking externally for our bliss we always have the opportunity to find it within.

During this discussion the author shares: his formula for manifestation, how obstacles are actually for our benefit, how we need to create an idea in the inner world BEFORE it can manifest in the outer world, that suffering is a result of fighting against life, the destructive nature of guilt and negative emotions, and so much more.

Actually, just as I deferred to the author for the book summary in the first paragraph of the review, I believe that it is far more transformative to defer to Alan Cohen’s direct quotes that it is for me to simply give a summary of the information. This is a very small sampling of the comments/thoughts that I found to be extremely profound:

“Knowledge helps you navigate the earth, but wisdom helps you navigate the landscape of your soul. Knowing how to get from Tucson to Los Angeles is important, but knowing how to move from fear to love is more important.”

“Most technical questions can be answered within seconds by doing an Internet search. We were more crucial need is to access the Innernet–the vast reservoir of truth embedded in your deep subconscious (or superconscious) mind.”

“We all have possessions, and we want to keep them. The question is: Do you own your possessions, or do they own you?”

“We reward knowledge, but overlook wisdom.”

“There is no argument between science and spirit, except in minds that do not grasp the magnitude of both.”

And these examples are found in just the first 30 pages!

As you can see, like the physical arrangement of the book, which is, “…organized holographically, meaning that every chapter and section relates to the theme like spokes radiating the center of a wheel, rather than on domino falling after another. All truths are connected to each other, like facets of a diamond” we will find that any quest of self-exploration ultimately leads back to oneself. In other words, and so eloquently stated by George Moore, and quoted by Alan Cohen, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
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review 2014-08-12 00:00
The Effortless Life: A Manual for Contentment, Mindfulness, & Flow
The Effortless Life: A Manual for Contentment, Mindfulness, & Flow - Leo Babauta Not much, if you have a high school-level knowledge of buddhism and are prone to reflection every now and then. Also, repetitive (if you know Leo's blog) and virtually impossible to implement if you live in a less clement climate of have a job that you like which requires having contact with people on a regular basis. I liked the bit on giving equal weight to every action, though.
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review 2012-05-17 00:00
Contentment: A Way to True Happiness
Contentment: A Way to True Happiness - Robert A. Johnson,Jerry M. Ruhl Although there is considerable charm to this noirest of noir crime books, and the furious pace and stylistic dialogue notwithstanding, the problem I have with it is that the protagonist is written as a psychopath. I quite like anti-heroes, and have a soft spot for hard men (you'll pardon the pun), but I like my anti-heroes with a modicum of morality, a soupcon of sentiment, a hint of humor and heart. Parker's indifference to the women in the book is unsettling, to say the least, including the woman he "accidentally" kills. Vengeance is all well and good, I suppose, and retribution has its place, but not to be even slightly ambivalent about the suicide of his wife (even if she did shoot him and leave him for dead) leaves this reader with no choice but to conclude he has no emotions whatsoever, and such a soul-dead protagonist is of limited interest. Anti-heros are at their best when they are complicated, conflicted and are capable of deep feeling. A quick afternoon read. No more.
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