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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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you...

YEAR OF YES

HOW TO DANCE IT OUT, STAND IN THE SUN AND BE YOUR OWN PERSON

The queen of Thursday night TV delivers a sincere and inspiring account of saying yes to life.

Rhimes, the brain behind hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. She describes herself as a young girl, playing alone in the pantry, making up soap-opera script stories to act out with the canned goods. Speaking in public terrified her; going to events exhausted her. She was always busy, and she didn’t have enough time for her daughters. One Thanksgiving changed it all: when her sister observed that she never said “yes” to anything, Rhimes took it as a challenge. She started, among other things, accepting invitations, facing unpleasant conversations, and playing with her children whenever they asked. The result was a year of challenges and self-discovery that led to a fundamental shift in how she lives her life. Rhimes tells us all about it in the speedy, smart style of her much-loved TV shows. She’s warm, eminently relatable, and funny. We get an idea of what it’s like to be a successful TV writer and producer, to be the ruler of Shondaland, but the focus is squarely on the lessons one can learn from saying yes rather than shying away. Saying no was easy, Rhimes writes. It was comfortable, “a way to disappear.” But after her year, no matter how tempting it is, “I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary.” The book is a fast read—readers could finish it in the time it takes to watch a full lineup of her Thursday night programing—but it’s not insubstantial. Like a cashmere shawl you pack just in case, Year of Yes is well worth the purse space, and it would make an equally great gift.

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

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