A practical, novel approach to the concept of self-help.




Debut author Obeidat provides a brief, Islam-influenced guide to increasing personal awareness and making changes to one’s life.

“Being a small object means that you are drawn to the gravitational forces of life,” this book says at its outset. It then goes on to explore ways that readers can combat the notion of a “false personality” and instead establish a state of being that’s “not affected by external and internal considerations.” Obeidat’s advice in this self-help work is centered on changing habits, expressing gratitude, and otherwise becoming mindful. To that end, it incorporates meditation techniques by author Jon Kabat-Zinn, a “stop” exercise by spiritual leader George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, and a later chapter on the practical tenets of Islam. As complicated as it all may sound, the author’s advice tends to be very simple, such as an admonishment to “Be thankful. Show appreciation.” He establishes at the outset that, for many problems in life, there are “huge numbers of books and so-called solutions!” Why add one more book to that number? Overall, this work manages to differentiate itself on two fronts. First, at less than 80 pages, it’s concise. Second, its portion devoted to Islam grounds it in a tradition that extends beyond the latest mindfulness fads. For example, the author explains that “Patience in Islam has an important dimension that is correlated with praying.” Other, more New-Age-leaning texts are unlikely to mention items such as the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and the resulting mixture of ideas proves intriguing. That said, it can be dry at times, as when explaining Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation (“any two bodies in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them”), and this creates opportunities for readers’ interest to waver. However, the book will appeal to those eager to read about modern living techniques and their embodiment in established religion.

A practical, novel approach to the concept of self-help. 

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5187-2312-4

Page Count: 102

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 24, 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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