An ambitious spiritual manual that remains unconvincing as science.



A book argues that a proper understanding of electromagnetic energy bridges the gap between the human and the divine.

According to the authors, the whole cosmos is made up of matter and energy. Electromagnetic energy, the consequence of electricity passing through a magnetic field, is the lever by which God governs all things. (God also communicates with the human world through billions of neutrinos that radiate from the sun, though the precise mechanics of their operation remains unknown.) Within the human brain, electromagnetic energy generates a soul, and the crucial atom of life resides in the medulla oblongata. And just as there is a God particle that corresponds to the soul—the Higgs Boson particle—there are two that relate to the human gene: a “sene” and a “mene.” The moral implications of this interpretation of electromagnetic energy are wide-ranging; the authors contend that prayer, meditation, and worship can increase individuals’ connections to God and ultimately improve their lives. For example, “prayer creates a vacuum state of mind” that allows for a greater receptivity to God’s energy. The authors’ ardent wish is that the popular promulgations of their views will alleviate the moral turpitude that plagues the world, creating the possibility not only for world peace, but the establishment of heaven on Earth as well. The philosophical aims of the writing team—Tapan K. Chaudhuri (Physics of God, Universe, Humankind, and Peace in Family, 2015) and debut authors Tushar K. Chowdhury, Tandra R. Chaudhuri, Sree Taposh K. Chowdhury, and Srimati Bulu Rani Chowdhury—are impressive. (The first three collaborators are scientists.) The authors aim to construct a “theo-science” that empirically grounds human spirituality. But very little of their argument is based on scientific experimentation—the role of science in this study seems to be as a source of metaphors. For example, they describe the way a family is like an atom—comprising three parts working in stable harmony—but that has nothing to do with atoms themselves. Similarly, parents are compared to solar cells, children to television receivers, and human minds to smartphones. However clever these analogies are, they’re not the result of scientific inquiry and they are often presented in frustratingly vague but confidently self-assured prose.

An ambitious spiritual manual that remains unconvincing as science.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5450-9046-6

Page Count: 109

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2018

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.


A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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