Power is one of the central issues in our lives. From work to personal relationships, the struggle for power plays a pivotal role and, more often than not, prevents us from attaining freedom and happiness. The bottom-line mentality in our culture seeps unnoticed into every other part of our lives. Thich Nhat Hanh illustrates how our current understanding of power leads us on a never-ending search for external markers like job title or salary. This me-first approach to life may have originated in the business world, but the stress, fear, and anxiety it causes are being felt by all of us every day.
Turning the conventional understanding on its head, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that true power comes from within and that what we seek we already have. With colorful anecdotes, precise language, and concrete practices, this book will have an important and lasting legacy on how we understand our culture and choose to live our lives.
(P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy man, for he is humble and devout." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
"[Thich Nhat Hanh] shows us the connection between personal inner peace, and peace on earth." (the Dalai Lama)
This was my second TNH book and the message (while still amazing) was really a rehashing of the first book. Still, its an incredibly important message and if this would be your first TNH book its probably a great choice. The book has a western narrator, which is both good (definately easier to understand) and bad (lack's TNH's incredible charm). I highly recommend this book - but if it's a second TNH book, be prepared for lots of overlap.
This book is aimed at CEOs, politicians and other powerful people about how real power is not dominating others with your wealth or power, but the power to be happy in the present moment and free from addiction, despair and anger. As sometimes happens when I read his books, the advice seems almost too simplistic to work in the real word in hard situations: breathe to get in sync with your body, the present moment is a wonderful moment, realize there is no self and that others are really you too, and practice compassion toward yourself and others. But then Nhat Hanh tells of being exiled from his home country of Vietnam because the government’s thought he was a danger for teaching peace. They banned his books and kept him out for 40 years. He’s finally allowed back and the communist government tries to thwart his lectures — and he uses the techniques in this book and creates a crack in the state apparatus aligned against him, until by the end of his visit, government officials are packing his lectures to hear him speak about peace and loving kindness. Now that’s power. (It's a very small part of the book.) An anecdote stuck with me: His book “Being Peace” sold a million copies just in South Korea while his book “Touching Peace” only had 10,000 copies printed — if you’re happy with what you accomplished, then what happens afterward is inconsequential. There’s a long appendix where the creator of Patagonia tells about his business philosophy, which fits perfectly with Nhat Hanh’s advice, and how these principles made Patagonia such a power house today. Quote: "Protesting is a kind of help, but it should be done skillfully, so people see it as an act of love and not an attack." Grade: A-
The narration is solid.
How highly should you recommend a book that is the distilled wisdom and insight of a 90-year old monk who has lived nearly his entire life in the service of others and while having no wife, children or money and while owning nothing and representing the complete antithesis of what our society holds up as successful, is happy down to the core of his being?
Excellent book. It was so good I listened to it twice, back to back. Thich captures the true essence of Buddhism and synthesizes it for you. He makes difficult concepts easy to understand and you can easily internalize them, make them your own. It's a must read or audio book to listen to.
This book inspired both the gracious and gentle practice of mindfulness and an activist approach to bring peace through daily decisions of beneficial choices and living.
I'm sure that in person Hanh is impressive. I just don't think his ideas were worth a book this long. It sounds like the essays I used to write in high school when I didn't have much to say, but did have a required length. Eckart Tolle's books are close to this in philosophy, but for me are far superior in depth and content.
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