A treatise on the virtue of marching to the beat of one’s own drummer.
“Where did we lose our sense of joy and childhood wonderment?” That’s the question that opens Dickerson’s (Religions Fail, 2013) self-help book, an in-depth look at overcoming “Dark-Side Demons” and living a mindful life. The author makes no bones about his opinions on a number of controversial topics, including Christianity and most other religions, which he believes “survive on blind faith without wisdom,” as well as race and politics (“Obama…perpetuated racism and discrimination by implying inferiority,” he says). The book’s initial sections cover Dickerson’s philosophy, largely inspired by Eastern traditions such as Buddhism and the ideas of ancient thinkers such as Hermes Trismegistus. Later, he offers his thoughts on relationships, offering prescriptions for breaking away from abusive people. Here, he takes a tough-love approach by refusing to condone bad behavior in others but also declaring that “if you are experiencing serial negative relationships, the problem is you. You must understand that recurring problems originate in your choices.” The author also shows no patience for people who try to shift blame and refuse to take responsibility for their own lives, and he doesn’t hesitate to call out acquaintances for what he sees as their mistakes. This negative tone is at odds with the ostensibly positive message he preaches—that it’s possible to take charge of one’s life and live an independent, fulfilled existence. If he produced examples of people doing just that, instead of simply criticizing failures, it might have made the book more powerful. Although there are gems of wisdom to be found here, they’re too often obscured by confusing, repetitive writing. Far more helpful, though, are his checklists for dealing with conflict and his guidelines on how to meditate, in which he urges people to discover a practice that works for them.
A mixed bag of practical self-help tips and essays on all that’s wrong with the world.