I found this book profoundly disappointing. Take any self help book focused on "ancient wisdom of the east" and you will have the meat of this book. Next place it in the context of a story that is so completely hackneyed that it distracts from the message. Finally, add a narrator that uses a voice of "breathless wonder". The result is painful.
Nothing in the book is actually wrong. It is just that Sharma could have actually written an enjoyable simple story with real characters and then illustrated his points by having the characters try (and perhaps sometimes fail) to pursue the goals using the techniques he touts. The patent unbelievability of the story; a man who is grossly overweight running at 17,000 feet to catch up to a mystic monk who no one can find but somehow he finds in a week, the friend who has a family that is only mentioned in passing and is conveniently gone during the all night training session, the mixing of meditation techniques with modern neural theories and social shaming and presentation of this as ancient wisdom. I found myself gritting my teeth. Perhaps the worst part is the idea that this miraculous change is somehow easy to accomplish.
This is brain candy - but really tasty sophisticated brain candy. While the setting is fantasy, the characters are real enough to care about. Furthermore, Butcher always comes up with a complicated and interesting twist to the motivations driving the plot. James Marsters is an inspired choice for the narrator. His voice for Harry Dresden is suitably hard boiled while his voice for Toot-toot (the fairy) is indescribable. This is a thoroughly enjoyable ride.
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