This book delivered on the title. I'm a "busy person" from the U.S.A...I was looking for a distillation of the key concepts of Buddhism for a Westerner, and that's what I found here. I could relate to his stories about achieving what he thought would make him happy, but finding he was still the same person, regardless of his success or failures on those achievements. Much of what he discusses is related to tried-and-true Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which he acknowledges to his credit. However, he completely lost me when he started talking about past-lives regression and, no kidding, even mentioned "ghosts". While this may be legitimate Buddhism, to a modern intellect, this just sounds plain silly, and (I claim) is totally unnecessary to the understanding and practice.
On the plus side: stories I could relate about the propensity to believe the Next Big Thing (promotion, raise, romantic partner) will make you happy, understanding why it consistently doesn't, then offering a solution.
I felt that the reader captured the author's voice very well.
I would love to see someone make a good film about meditation, but I can't imagine how that would work out.
To my Humanist friends: This is worth a listen for a practical messages and information. Just mentally edit out the past-lives silliness ;)
Great place to start for beginning Buddhism practices and meditation methods. Enjoyed it very much.
The author is not knowledgable of practices has mentions and attempts to guide listeners through. The meditation tonglen is done quite the opposite way than what this author says. I've head this meditation instruction given by many authorized teachers and in the book it is just done incorrectly. Since this is done incorrectly it gave me trouble listening to anything else he had to teach. There are better books out there.
Introduction to the need for mindfulness and briefly, introduction to Tibet buddhism. I was looking for more information and instruction on meditation and achieving mindfulness. Only a few examples were provided.
Explain some basics and help to preview the benefits.But still far to help your enlightening or transcendence.
Thank you Nicholas. Just my humble opinion.
I found that this was a good intro to the principles of Buddhism. I listened to it on audio, and the narration was good as well.
I liked that in addition to presenting the Buddhist principles, the author illustrated how he applied those principles to his own life. There were also instructions on how to meditate; I thought it was a fairly easy and straightforward process, but apparently there is a lot more to it than I had initially thought.
I found some "gems" of wisdom that I think may be useful. Some of the concepts I thought were important to me were: you don't have to change the world, but rather, how you perceived the world; that action is more important than belief, as it only matters what we do; and the explanation of the "self" and "other" divide. I imagine that others will find other concepts interesting to them, but I think most people could get something out of this.
I was particularly struck by his discussion of past lives. While I personally don't believe in that, his explanation made me think. He states that many people don't believe in past lives because you can't remember them; however, you also don't remember your birth, but that happened. For some reason, this really struck a chord with me and made perfect sense. I haven't changed my views on past lives, but I believe I am more open minded about it and other things now.
For once, here is an author who can do a good job reading his own book.
Much of the content was predictable, but I still learned -- or reaffirmed -- the main lesson.
Practical Buddhist wisdom interspersed with interesting life stories. I've listened to and read a number of other Buddhism books. This one is tied for #1. The cadence of the book for me was neither rushed or slow. The author's points are clear and well made. The content is well structured.
The narration was well done. Intonation was dynamic without being overly dramatic. I can honestly say that this is the first audiobook I've heard where I've not been annoyed at some point by the narration.
The story underlying the book- that of the author's journey from a stressed PR guy through self-employment to published author was interesting IMHO. The story didn't focus on the achievements themselves but were used to educate in the same way as his older friend with cancer and a poor career choice was: illustrating alternate perspectives and responses. I had no sense of a 'look what I did! how awesome am I!?'. That is somewhat surprising in retrospect, given the achievements themselves.
The moderation was also nice. The author didn't drop all of his material wealth (and actually argues against it) nor celebrating achievements. Believing instead that more good can be done from positions of relative wealth and power than those of a penniless man without influence. The middle road seems far more achievable to me than a more spartan existence and sounds like a still worthwhile goal for those starting out. To me this is one of the key strengths of this book. Your life doesn't have to be taken over or radically change to begin.
All in all, definitely worth the buy.