Hepker explores what it means to live the good life and how one can achieve it.
These eternal questions, which extend back to the ancient Greeks and live on to the present day, lie at the heart of Hepker’s thin treatise based on the Bright Beautiful School of Thought, a 1600-year-old philosophical tradition. Hepker, who holds a doctorate in psychology, argues that “True Health,” the telos of good living, can be achieved through exercising other truths (responsibility, effort, etc.) in our dealings with others and ourselves. For instance, personal benefit maximizes when individuals perform good deeds for their own sake without the expectation of reward or recognition. To live healthily starts with the individual, who can increase his or her well-being by taking personal responsibility to rectify bad habits, extreme types of behavior (e.g., greed and hatred) and a lack of self-awareness. Much of this would appear obvious at first glance, and in reading this book, one maintains the position; while totaling just over 100 pages, Hepker’s work becomes increasingly repetitive. Yet the most disappointing aspect of the work revolves around its lack of contextualization. Hepker includes several personal anecdotes that seem altogether out-of-place, but he doesn’t make an attempt to place the larger work in the context of modern life. Nor does he offer many real-life parallels or applications to the theories he describes. Indeed, for a book that talks about “life,” there is a significant lack of it unless it relates to the author. Hepker concludes the book by asserting that “it is difficult to fairly and scrupulously find fault with the notion” that each person is responsible for making the world a better place. As right as Hepker may be, this outlook proves easier said than done, and the laundry list of aphorisms that flood Hepker’s book do not alleviate the issues he raises.
A book with a pure heart but inadequate guidance.