I initially enjoyed the first few stories in the book, both because they were something different, as well as getting a first glimpse into mixed Indian-American culture.
But as other reviewers have noted, the stories eventually seem to all sound the same, and by the end I couldn't wait to be done with this book.
I was further disappointed because most of the characters are miserable (to various degrees), and two of the tragic endings rely on completely implausible circumstances -- the resolutions come across as lazy, since the reader can imagine plausible circumstances that could have yielded the same results.
I didn't find a compelling story here. I learned a lot about the plight of sharecroppers in the South, which was worthwhile, but it didn't sustain the whole book.
Much of the rest of the book describes one man's attempt to rationalize his wife's cancer, concluding that God wanted it that way. As other reviewers have noted, this comes across overly preachy -- I get the impression that by putting the authors' beliefs into writing, they may be subconsciously trying to convince themselves of the merits.
I can see that many people love this book, but it might be enjoyable only to those choir members to whom the book is preaching.
The book begins with promises to a baby, but by the time we get to the 30's the book becomes more of a random assortment of musings and affirmations, along with loosely-corresponding Chopra family anecdotes and fables.
Because of the hodgepodge nature of the "promises", I didn't take much away from the book, neither in terms of child rearing or life in general. By the end I was counting down as the author was counting up.
As far as the audio edition is concerned, this book illustrates why many authors should not read their own works. The narration is very flat.
This book is very long and only intermittently interesting. The first seven or so chapters are comprised largely of the humdrum history of CIA personnel, organization, and bureaucracy. The final section is a glorified appendix, and it repeats much of the information found earlier in the book.
There are intriguing stories of operations and fascinating descriptions of equipment interspersed among the dullness, but it's an exercise in patience getting from one to the next.
In the end the book illustrated to me what an incredible waste of resources have gone and continue to go into spying on our enemies and ourselves, with little (or no?) substantive results to show for it.
Even though I was already a generally happy person, I bought this book to help improve my attitude regarding the things I didn't like at work. This book has not only taught me how to get rid of those negative feelings, but also how to turn dissatisfaction into motivation to excel. I now enjoy all aspects of my job, and I'm completing more tasks with higher quality.
But the book's lessons do not only apply to the office. I have a new outlook on life, because the book made me realize the endless possibilities that are available to my family and me. It provides both motivation and principles that when followed have but no choice than to lead to success.
Different people will relate to different topics in the book, so some sections are less interesting than others, but I definitely recommend this book to everyone!
I've become quite a fan of Frum from his well reasoned commentaries on Marketplace, so I thought I'd give his book a listen.
While it's now clear to me that the author and I have many differing opinions, he has done a nice job challenging Americans to come up with better solutions to many of the problems with which we've thus far dealt unsuccessfully. His book also helps non conservatives get a better understanding of the conservative agenda.
In the end I found the author a little too trigger-happy, a little too naive that the theory marriage begets well adjusted children is causation and not simply correlation, and a little too hypocritical that the American family should be strengthened but should not include homosexuals. But even as a non conservative I value several of his other ideas.
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