An exceedingly reasonable proposal for reforming Muslim marriage.



Rida believes that he has found a sensible, lawful way to help solve the problem of divorce in Muslim cultures.

When Rida was a child, his Muslim parents fought relentlessly. Their battles were cruel and acrimonious. The author grew and eventually attended a university in the United States, where he lived with an elderly American couple, the Moores, whose marriage seemed the exact opposite of his parents’ rocky union. The difference between the Moores and his parents, Rida decided, was that the Moores had a chance to get acquainted before they chose to marry. By contrast, the Ridas were matched by their parents—poorly. Trapped in a dysfunctional relationship, they were forced either to suffer in silence or undergo the shame of divorce. But all this pain could have been avoided, had they the chance to meet and get to know each other first—to court. But there was and is a problem: Muslim tradition does not allow single men and women to meet and interact; as one hadith reads: “No man and a woman get together without Satan becoming the third.” What are couples to do? How can potential partners get acquainted without trampling on Islam? Rida believes that he has an answer, and this book is his effort to incorporate a lawful courtship period into the Muslim marriage. His solution is based on the Shia Muslim institution of mut’ah—a temporary marriage contract. In basic terms, the book establishes a set time during which future husbands and wives can get to know one another—and to discover if they are indeed compatible. Rida writes to his coreligionists; he claims that his main audience is made up of believers in non-Muslim countries, and he makes a good-faith effort at addressing the concerns of the devout. He scrupulously cites passages from the Quran and other Muslim scripture to prove that “the leap” is lawful. But his prose is smooth and conversational; he anticipates objections and explains difficult points thoroughly and confidently.

An exceedingly reasonable proposal for reforming Muslim marriage.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 978-1425908195

Page Count: 322

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2010

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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 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.


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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