A debut manual seeks to help readers enhance their awareness of what’s really important in their lives.
Gorain begins his sweeping, comprehensive book with a familiar observation: Despite the explosion of social media technology designed to keep everyone connected at all times, increasing numbers of people describe themselves as suffering from loneliness. “We have now accepted stress and its consequences as normal byproducts of modern living,” the author writes, “which is, in my opinion, a silent minefield threatening the carnage of our inner self.” But he refuses to see the situation as permanent and offers a program of seven key ingredients created to counter the fragmenting of attention spans and encourage the greater cohesion that leads to a feeling of well-being and purpose. Some of these essentials are simple and straightforward, such as breathing deeply and staying fully hydrated. Others are more complicated reflections on thorny problems, like the electromagnetic fields being emitted by all the tech devices filling modern life. (For instance, the author advises only working on laptops that are disconnected from power sources, maintaining that the amount of electromagnetic fields is a hundred times greater when the computers are plugged in.) These observations are balanced by advice about diet, exercise, and the proper amount of sleep. Each of the book’s sections is accompanied not only by useful discussion questions, but also by “time for action” calls for pro-active changes toward healthier living. Gorain writes all of this in a plain, forceful, conversational style that comes across much more like a friendly family doctor than an ideological self-help guru. Allowing for variations in technological gadgets, many of the life lessons dispensed in these pages wouldn’t have been out of place in a manual written a century ago: Remember to give yourself quiet time, center your concentration on what matters, try to eat right and exercise, and so on. It was all good advice then, and it’s still good advice now.
A clearsighted, back-to-basics guide to liberating yourself from daily distractions.