A detailed, didactic guide to Scripture for daily study and devotion, sidestepping sanctimony in favor of thoughtful tips...

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Biblical Solutions for Daily Living

DEVELOPING A VITAL AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

Approaching religion with an academic sensibility, this autobiographical guide advocates the Bible as a text for intensive study, one to be regularly revisited by the faithful.

With a background in traditional Western philosophy, You develops her spiritual guide as a supplement to the postdoctoral academics that left her hungry for true wisdom. She builds the book by establishing principles that progress from macro concepts lifted from specific passages of the Bible to everyday manifestations of faith, such as her explanation of the Holy Spirit as it reveals itself in people’s free will to be “born again” as a Christian and even in some believers’ abilities to speak in tongues. You demonstrates the breadth of her biblical knowledge by referencing numerous, often lesser-known stories from the Bible, including Asa as proof that God protects loyal followers and Abigail to show the benefits of trusting God completely. Chapters often begin with an anecdote from You’s spiritual journey—for instance, a harrowing evening when her car was shot by a crossbow on a dark back road in New Jersey—that segues into a Christian tenet; in this case, relying on spiritual strength in the face of the devil. Though her chapter on the devil and confronting evil comes off as dogma, You generally elucidates the significance of “what a person chooses to believe” over the mere fact of whether a person has faith. For the most part, her emphasis on positive belief reconciles born-again Christianity with what can be seen as the retributive aspects of organized religion. Each chapter ends with enumerated points for daily practice, with related Scripture cataloged in book-ending indexes. You’s friendly tone evokes small-group study, more personable than a pastor preaching from the pulpit. With an erudite approach to religion, You encourages regular, in-depth study of the Bible, keeping with her professorial perspective on spirituality.

A detailed, didactic guide to Scripture for daily study and devotion, sidestepping sanctimony in favor of thoughtful tips and reader-friendly resources.

Pub Date: June 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-1490303697

Page Count: 220

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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