A thought-provoking theological work that will provide even skeptics with a compelling intellectual argument.

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Beyond Beliefs

A search for permanent meaning in a world where modernity can potentially obscure reality. 

This religious treatise begins by describing—quite elegantly—our perception of the world as being forever altered by two events: the creation of manufactured drugs (namely LSD) and the invention of nuclear weapons. Almost simultaneously, humanity entered both the Atomic Age and the psychedelic era, inviting deep skepticism, reliance upon and trust in technology, and, in the author’s opinion, disinterest in the search for a universal truth. Geib writes of his own experiences growing up in this environment, stating that he didn’t hear a convincing argument for a supreme being until he was 20. What he seeks to do in this slim, intelligent and persuasive work is counter what he sees as the solely empirical foundation of our thoughts so that readers might “experience what is beyond our current imaginations to experience, unity with God and with one another.” Denominational significance is treated with secondary importance, if at all; dogma is considered an impediment to a direct relationship with God—a relationship that Geib considers universal for all. Yet this isn’t a mere confirmation of faith or declaration concerning the ills of modern life. Instead, the book laments a thought process that, due to the exclusion of God, is crucially incomplete. Geib states that the Word of God enables us to transcend the natural, human understanding of the world by allowing us to break free from our innate limitations, thus reaching something greater than ourselves. Irreligious readers may get bogged down by continual references to biblical passages, but Geib also uses pop culture and modern history to make his points—in most cases, a refreshing change. Even casual readers will embrace the precision of Geib’s language, his salient points and the apparent soundness of his logic, which concludes that man is unable to achieve total understanding and social unity without the aid of something more. Whether readers will be convinced that Jesus Christ provides that something will, of course, vary from reader to reader, but appreciation for Geib’s taut arguments will be easier to accept.

A thought-provoking theological work that will provide even skeptics with a compelling intellectual argument. 

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-0986025006

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Oliver House Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 10, 2013

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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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