Especially interesting to those already willing to make the paradigm shift to a cooperation-based world, but in need of some...

PRINCIPLES OF ABUNDANCE FOR THE COSMIC CITIZEN

ENOUGH FOR US ALL

Demonstrating a wide knowledge and understanding of hard and soft sciences, Riddle creates a road map for those ready to live a more connected, positive and bountiful existence.

Among the abundance of books focusing on, well, abundance, Riddle’s work stands out for its ability to synthesize historical, current and complex scientific and social concepts to support a beginner’s steps toward a major paradigm shift: cooperation instead of competition in world of abundance rather than scarcity. Using four underlying principles of reality (interconnectivity of energy, individual participation in creating reality, the nonlinear quality of our experience and the complex nature of reality) and three principles of coexistence (interdependence, adaptability and cooperation), Riddle weaves theory and examples together to create an organized and accessible whole. Frequent brief and illustrative exercises encourage the reader to personalize the experience; thorough notes, diverse references and an index of exercises make this text extremely easy to use. Riddle’s suggestion of the need to move beyond scientific method and a static view of reality to a world of dynamic potential, even with her application of quantum physics, won’t win over every reader. But her thoughtful guide and its emphasis on a more positive worldview will be especially appealing to those already curious about alternative theories but wishing for a scientific basis to undergird the new possibilities. With her upbeat tone and clear prose, Riddle offers a self-help book that could actually achieve its purpose; the text (the first in a series of three) supports, energizes and informs those searching for a more joyous, harmonious and meaningful way of living.

Especially interesting to those already willing to make the paradigm shift to a cooperation-based world, but in need of some handholding and a little science to take the next step.

Pub Date: March 11, 2010

ISBN: 978-1449079260

Page Count: 256

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2010

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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 very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

THE ART OF SOLITUDE

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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