A provocative and well-researched stand for intelligent design, weakened somewhat by overconfident conclusions.

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GOD IS A PARTICLE?

WAKE UP, THIS IS YOUR LIFE!

A debut book argues that recent discoveries in science confirm the existence of God and a transcendently purposeful life. 

According to Peterson, readers are confronted with two mutually exclusive options for understanding the universe: either it is the inadvertent result of random physical forces and human life is shiftlessly arbitrary, or the cosmos was thoughtfully designed by a supreme intellect and individuals are guided by a profound spiritual destiny. The scientific community, he contends, has been far too dismissive of the argument for intelligent design, assuming that a very narrow conception of physical causation commandeers a monopoly on the market of reason. But all that changed in 2012 when scientists discovered the long sought-after Higgs boson particle, commonly referred to as the “God Particle,” because of the extraordinary scope of its causal and explanatory power. Really a field rather than a particle, the Higgs boson is the ultimate building block, both the cause of all matter and the source of its rational organization. Everything that exists is essentially energy, and the Higgs boson provides the DNA-like instructions for all energy particles, which are the core constituents of the atoms that make up molecules. This level of order and perfection, Peterson avers, repudiates the view that the world is an accident, a cosmic fluke. The author considers other recent scientific revelations as well, including a new understanding of infinity, black holes, gravity, and magnetism to further cast a pall of suspicion on the rejection of intelligent design. Peterson is a lawyer, not a scientist, but his grasp of the most recent advancements in physics and cosmology is impressive, and he’s skilled at marshaling a persuasive argument. He also knowledgably highlights the empirical gaps in evolutionary theory, especially with respect to human life and the emergence of consciousness. But despite his commitment to epistemological openness, Peterson’s tendency is to convert thousands of years of philosophical disputes into an open-and-shut case, declaring the outright victory of intelligent design. He’s at his best when, instead of intellectual stridency, he acknowledges the irresolvable mystery of the universe. 

A provocative and well-researched stand for intelligent design, weakened somewhat by overconfident conclusions. 

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-5731-6

Page Count: 166

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2017

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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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