An often engaging, if sometimes overly complex, remembrance.

SPIRITUAL AUDACITY

SIX DISCIPLINES OF HUMAN FLOURISHING

A debut spiritual memoir by a prominent businessman and Unitarian Universalist minister.

Sherblom grew up in the little town of Tiverton, Rhode Island. His father, a Baptist minister, struggled to provide for his large family, and they lived in depressing squalor. An ambitious boy, the author set out on a lifelong quest to make something of himself, and he possessed an unusual, complex mixture of business acumen and spiritual hunger. In this detailed accounting, the author effectively uses his own personal story to highlight six guiding spiritual disciplines that have served him well, and which offer a model of personal development. Sherblom has good reason to use his own life as a case study, as he succeeded in ways that most people can only dream of. He attended Yale University, where he found the free-wheeling student libertarian Party of the Right appealing and also campaigned for presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in New Haven’s first ward in 1976. After meeting his wife-to-be, Loretta, the author attended Harvard Business School. “I received highest honors,” Sherblom writes. “This was an inflection point in my life. I would never be poor again.” Much of the book centers on the outstanding business career that the author had in the biotechnology industry, and business-book aficionados may find his detailed, strategic entrepreneurial moves to be of interest. However, the story sometimes gets bogged down in financial minutiae. Each section of this autobiographical chronology deals with a different spiritual discipline: “Resilience,” “Surrender,” “Gratitude,” “Generosity,” Mystery,” and “Awakening.” Along the way, the focus gradually shifts from the business world to the author’s second career as a prominent Unitarian Universalist minister, whose fascination with transcendentalism suits his life in Concord, Massachusetts, near Walden Pond. Indeed, the last two chapters are an intriguing departure from the concrete details of high finance; he shows how he deepened his potential for mystical experience, leading him to multiple spiritual awakenings. Each chapter ends with a set of guided questions to stimulate thinking and discussion.

An often engaging, if sometimes overly complex, remembrance. 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63489-076-2

Page Count: 294

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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