An accessible look at 2012 as an apocalypse of the mind.

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2012 THE WHEEL OF DESTINY

A spiritual take on the 2012 craze.

Co-authors Almaida and ArahatBosnia present a book running counter to the prevailing New Age message that the year 2012 may bring with it a violent end to the world. Nevertheless, the pair does believe that year, and especially the date of December 21, holds a special significance. They see this significance in a spiritual context, however, and have written their book as an attempt to reach out to the public with a positive message about 2012. As they point out, “We are not here to wait for the outcome of December 21, 2012, but to be active participants in the transformation of ourselves and humanity.” Indeed, they have created something of a self-help book—a guide to personal enlightenment and transformation. Almaida and ArahatBosnia blend a wide-ranging panoply of religious traditions together as they weave a message of human re-creation. Though mainly based in Islam, with copious references to the Quran throughout, the authors also draw heavily on other world religions and traditions as well as New Age terminology and thought. The authors assert that December 2012 will bring about a jump in humanity’s collective consciousness, though how or why this date is significant remains unclear. They do provide a lengthy exposition on how an individual can attain a higher level of self-consciousness. Specifically, they urge readers to “clone” themselves into the form of a “humanoid,” or a human changed through a higher level of consciousness. Almaida and ArahatBosnia provide nine steps toward this end. A great deal of the authors’ teaching relies on a belief that our thoughts help to create our circumstances, and in turn the thoughts of others affect our circumstances as well. Through positive thoughts, self-awareness and a greater understanding of the invisible and spiritual world, people can move ahead to a new level of being. Cogently written, the text is rather accessible for a New Age work. Tying the authors’ theories to the year 2012, however, still seems a contentious problem.

An accessible look at 2012 as an apocalypse of the mind.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456385330

Page Count: 87

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2011

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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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