An intensive primer to a complex aspect of a sophisticated philosophy.

The Paths of Destiny

INTRODUCTION TO AN ANCIENT TOOL FOR SELF-UNDERSTANDING

A passionate introduction to the practice of Jyotish, an ancient form of astrology rooted in Hinduism that fosters self-exploration while offering guidance and predictions.

The ancient tradition of Jyotish, which means “Light of God,” is also called Vedic astrology, and it uses the teachings of Hindu philosophy to try to help people answer life’s nagging questions about identity, purpose, and the divine. Nirupa (Lizla, The Daughter of Isis, 2014, etc.), who says that she was personally affected by a Jyotish reading, introduces the Eastern practice to those for whom it may not be as familiar as its sister traditions of meditation and yoga. She also illustrates the differences between it and modern astrology, which shares similar signs. The book breaks down Jyotish’s zodiac and its various houses, star signs, and more, focusing on the importance of planetary paths and placemen, and how readings of Vedic charts may be used to interpret their numerous intersections. The final results, she says, provide a breakdown of one’s emotional and intellectual behavior. A skilled reader, called a Jyotishian, can use this to decipher the future, she says. The author also explores modern uses for this area of study, noting its scientific credentials in some parts of the East and its use in matchmaking for arranged marriages. The book charts numerous “outstanding examples” to illustrate what she sees as the predictive capability of Jyotish methodology, matching the accomplishments and personalities of actors, world leaders, and historical figures to their readings. Skeptics, however, will see this as interpretive hindsight. During these analyses, the author also explores Vedic terms and history while introducing elements of Hindu philosophy and Jyotish study. It’s a roundabout but effective teaching process, although the author actively discourages readers from attempting to divine things from their own charts. The book highlights parallels between Hinduism and Christianity, effectively showing that one may believe or explore Jyotish without it overwriting other belief systems. Although the book first presents Vedic astrology as a prognosticative tool, it primarily advocates its use for developing an understanding of oneself, so even doubters might find it engaging and useful.

An intensive primer to a complex aspect of a sophisticated philosophy.

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5049-7091-4

Page Count: 214

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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