A densely packed celebration of the resilience in some questioning souls.



A guidebook explores avid seekers and their vision quests.

“Why does everyone else seem to be content with their answers, while I continue to have questions?”—this and similar queries open up the wide-ranging discussions in Dunion’s (Dare to Grow Up, 2016, etc.) latest book. It deals with the special challenges and fulfillments faced by people he calls “threshold dwellers,” individuals who are “familiar with the gateway from the familiar to the unknown.” These seekers are characterized by their restless search for self-identification and the vision quests they undertake to answer a range of basic questions—What do I want? Where am I going? Who’s coming with me on the way?—that most people spend little or no time pondering. Dunion analyzes the dangers that lurk on such quests and the potential pitfalls seekers face, including the risks of cynicism or self-righteousness. He spends a corresponding amount of time looking at the personal reasons that might create inertia and inhibit the questing that should come naturally to seekers. The ultimate goal of all such questing is to find home, and when Dunion examines the multifaceted nature of that concept, his book is at its strongest. The underlying contradiction—a group of people seeking home but identified by their never quite finding it—is not lost on the author. “The paradox for us seekers,” he writes, “is that we are called to be at home and to pursue a larger vision of home.” Dunion’s writing is fast-paced and invitingly intellectual—literary and philosophical references abound in these pages—and this greatly compensates for the book’s keen supply of fortune-cookie pseudo-profundities (“the willingness to feel vulnerable allows us to be penetrated by love, which can be given and taken away,” etc.). Introverts—part of Dunion’s target audience—will likely be fascinated by his concept of expanded presence, and all readers feeling a vague lack in their lives should find something thought-provoking in the author’s ruminations.

A densely packed celebration of the resilience in some questioning souls.

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4808-3153-7

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2016

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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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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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