A strange collection of biblical codes that lacks wide appeal.

READ REVIEW

Holy Revelation

I AM THE LORD

A debut book offers a key to figuring out the numerical codes embedded in the Bible.

The practice of gematria, or the discovery and decoding of meaningful numerical values embedded within nonnumerical alphabets, is an ancient discipline that was eventually adopted by more mystical strains of Judaism. In this volume, Stone provides a mathematical legend of sorts that decodes various phrases and names from the Bible along these lines. The work includes an “English end-time decryption table” and decodes alternate names for God (“The Ultimate One,” “The Deity”), religious concepts (“Our Salvation”), and a host of other seemingly random notions (“The Big Kahuna,” “Tears of a Clown”). More than once, the author presents the decryption of his own name, birthdate, and Social Security number. In the introduction, Stone writes: “The task at hand is to present Immanu-el (GOD with us), the Creator, etc., and make the specifics verifiable. The onion has many layers and subtleties as the number nine (9) suggests. But this book is a journey, and the end is the realization of God’s human/Divine identity.” The volume subdivides into 12 chapters, but what precisely distinguishes the subject matter of each of them is both unstated and generally inscrutable. This is a short book—only 64 pages—and very little commentary is included. The subject is certainly intriguing. Some sense of the historical and theological significance of such encoding would have been both edifying and interesting to the reader. As it stands, most of the chapters provide decryption without any accompanying explanation, and so this is essentially a reference guide without instructions with regard to its use. And, given the fact that the Bible was not originally composed in English, what is the religious significance of the decoding of an English alphabet translation? The author never addresses this issue. In Chapter 11, Stone inexplicably turns political: “President George Herbert Walker Bush, as Hitler, proclaimed in Japan the New World Order as Hitler had done. President Bush promptly fell on his face: Divine Intervention.” Even for the most ardent religious enthusiasts and those intensely fascinated by such codes, this volume promises little insight into the practice or even the author’s ultimate intentions. In other words, this is less a book than a catalog of puzzles.

A strange collection of biblical codes that lacks wide appeal.

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4809-6661-1

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Rosedog Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more