More eclectic advice on how to release the boundless resources that lie within, from the prolific Dyer. According to Dyer (Real Magic, 1992, etc.), each of us possesses a higher, invisible self in addition to the more familiar (but false) ego. Our essential task is to discover and act from the higher self, which is untouched by the fears, prejudices, and insecurities that normally control our existence and cause us so much unhappiness. Dyer suggests that we can do this in four steps: banishing fears and doubts; observing and distancing ourselves from our body and surroundings; shutting down the inner dialogues of our frenzied thoughts; and consciously following the guidance of our higher self instead of the ego with its illusions of separateness. He goes on to discuss the conflicts that arise as we move into the higher self, and he concludes with a vision of a transformed world as an egoless collective of sacred selves. Dyer draws on many sources, and his favorites include Carlos Castaneda, Emerson, the Course in Miracles, Transcendental Meditation, and Krishnamurti. He blends the Hindu doctrine of non-dualism and the higher self with stock American themes, such as how he has passed from a sinful past to a happy (and prosperous!) present and the need to keep saying to ourselves, ``I know I can do it.'' Dyer has some good things to say on his basic theme of distancing oneself from the ego, but he repeats himself and often lapses into Stoic bromides (``Only the person you imagine yourself to be suffers''). In New Age fashion, Dyer draws on the wisdom of different religions without reference to their unique spiritual and metaphysical assumptions, as if they were all the same or the distinctions irrelevant, and he fails to defend and explain his main assertion that the higher self is somehow God. Practical, though unoriginal, insights for seekers. ($150,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-017786-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1995

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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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