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The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger | [Leonard Scheff, Susan Edmiston]

The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger

Imagine you're circling a crowded parking lot. Just as you spot a space, another driver races ahead and takes it. In a world of road rage, domestic violence, and professionally angry TV and radio commentators, your likely response is anger, even fury. Now imagine that instead of another driver, a cow has lumbered into that parking space and settled down. Your anger dissolves into bemusement. What has changed? Not just the occupant of the space but your perspective on the situation.
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Publisher's Summary

Imagine you're circling a crowded parking lot. Just as you spot a space, another driver races ahead and takes it. In a world of road rage, domestic violence, and professionally angry TV and radio commentators, your likely response is anger, even fury. Now imagine that instead of another driver, a cow has lumbered into that parking space and settled down. Your anger dissolves into bemusement. What has changed? Not just the occupant of the space but your perspective on the situation.

We're a society swimming in anger, always about to snap. Using simple, understandable Buddhist principles, Scheff and Edmiston explain how to replace anger with happiness. They introduce the four most common types of anger (Important and Reasonable, Reasonable but Unimportant, Irrational, and Impossible), then show how to identify our real unmet demands, dissolve our anger, and change what happens when our buttons are pushed. We learn to laugh at ourselves, a powerful early step, and realize that others don't make us angry. Only we can make ourselves angry.

©2010 Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston (P)2010 HighBridge Company

What Members Say

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3.6 (111 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Van Miami, FL, USA 07-05-10
    Van Miami, FL, USA 07-05-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great advise for those troubled by anger"

    I recently admitted to myself that I have an anger problem and not liking how this made me feel I vowed to change. This audiobook gave me several insights into the source of my anger and how to deal with it properly. I have listened to this book a couple times now and find it very useful to go back to when I find myself getting angry. It's a great listen and I highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves struggling with anger.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marian APO AP, Japan 11-01-10
    Marian APO AP, Japan 11-01-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Simply Amazing"

    There is a lot of anger out there - some of it justifiable but this book actually nails the problem by boiling it down to unmet needs. Common sense so it seems but after listening to it and thinking about `unmet needs` amazing things happen - what is really bothering you becomes obvious. And it isn`t that complicated but not obvious when you try to figure it out yourself. At least it wasn`t obvious for me. Definitely a great audible selection and plan to listen to it a couple of times. The anger Scheff discusses gave me a perspective on even the anger we see in society and politics at large. The clearer the unmet needs become, the more obvious the resolution so anger fades. That the author had his own anger issues makes his points even more convincing. A great book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas C. Bates Boston, MA 10-17-10
    Douglas C. Bates Boston, MA 10-17-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Good, but drags on. Annoying narration"

    Good content, but the points are made so repetitively the book gets boring. The narrator most annoyingly put on strange voices and accents when quoting Buddhist teachers, and often mispronounces their names.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve San Francisco, CA, USA 07-17-10
    Steve San Francisco, CA, USA 07-17-10 Member Since 2002
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    "Worthwhile but..."

    My son and wife both questioned why I was reading this book. I'm easy going and not many things make me angry to the point where I consider it a problem.
    I wanted a few exercises to deal with the few things that push my buttons and this book helped me. The reader became one of those things. He was so bad at dealing with the quotations I felt compelled to warn people. He affects accents and tones of voice that seem to have been learned by listening to poorly dubbed martial arts movies. I kept hoping to hear the word "grahshoppah".

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Pataskala, OH, United States 07-03-13
    Ryan Pataskala, OH, United States 07-03-13
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    "Mostly a compilation of others teachings."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, unless they had zero knowledge and had no intent in further studying Zen Buddhism.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting was the authors approach to breaking down the fallacies behind the way we justify our anger and choose to be angry at certain situations.

    The least interesting was the authors attempts at humor that I found to be first, not funny, and second somewhat disruptive to the flow of the book.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator used corny accents while reading quotes in the book. It sounded almost comical. I imagine this was a sort of cue to the reader that he was reading a quotation. But it just came across as needless.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No. But that doesn't take away from my opinion of the book. It's not that type of book.


    Any additional comments?

    If you know anything about Zen Buddhism and the practice of realizing the nature of your anger through self-contemplation and clearing out your wrong perceptions and mental formations - then this book is going to be a rehash of other material you've already encountered. The best information in this book is information taken and quoted from Zen masters and other authors.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PASCAL Jerusalem, Israel 12-26-11
    PASCAL Jerusalem, Israel 12-26-11
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    "Annoying reader"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Different reader.


    What didn’t you like about Bill Mendieta’s performance?

    Funnily enough, I got angry on the reader.
    He puts an accent wherever he can and it really started to annoy me up to the point that I didn't feel like continuing to listen to this book, sorry to say so.
    It might be personal. Also this is my second experience with an audio book. The first one was read by the author itself (Marianne Williamson) who is a great speaker. That book felt like being at Marianne's lecture while the book read by Bill was such a contrast to this, unfortunately a negative one...


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States 08-20-12
    Chris SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Narration is Fine"

    The message of the book is excellent and useful and entirely realistic. But I'd like to make a note about the narration. He sounds fine. He reads slowly but it is easy to get used to his pace. He also does adopt different accents if he is playing a character in one of the many parables. However, most readers do this and his voices are no worse than anyone else's. Please don't let the negative reviews about the narration sway you from trying this book. The content has unexpectedly changed my life for the better.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alberta Girl Canada 05-07-14
    Alberta Girl Canada 05-07-14 Member Since 2011

    Here and now

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    "It talks about Zen.. But"
    Any additional comments?

    He doesn't get to the heart of it. Anger is just an emotion, you need to be the witness and the book lacks that teaching. I don't think it should be labeled Zen. That said its a good starter book, but honestly not one I would recommend as a self help or spiritual guide.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett Charlotte, NC, United States 04-08-14
    Brett Charlotte, NC, United States 04-08-14 Member Since 2007

    “Be awesome! Be a book nut!” — Dr. Seuss

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    "Good lessons for anyone to learn."

    When I first read the title of this book, images of angry people with bulging forehead veins came to mind, but really this book is for everyone. Anger and frustration are part of the human condition - to ignore it is wrong and to indulge it is wrong too - so what can we do? This book attempts to tell you.

    Overall this book was pretty good but obvious - lacking philosophical depth. I liked the parables and quotes from Buddhist teachers, but I didn't find the author's own experiences very compelling. The chapter on how to handle angry people was, I thought, the weakest in this regard. e.g., see things from their perspective - don't jump to conclusions - try not to get angry back. Not bad messages but really - who doesn't know these things? I would have appreciated more Buddhist philosophy and less weekend-seminar style anger management.

    The narrator talked slowly and sometimes his accents sounded funny but he was not terrible.

    Overall not bad. Helpful to an extent - especially if you are prone to anger or frustration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelley CA, United States 07-21-12
    Kelley CA, United States 07-21-12 Member Since 2006

    Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Helpful!"

    I thought the book had great content, flow, pace - everything you could ask for. If, like me, you occasionally lose your cool and live to regret it, this should be a good book for you.

    As for the narration, here's a trick I learned: If you have a player that allows it (iphone, newer ipods do) speed the narration up to 1.5. The book's still fine to understand, and the narrator-itis disappears completely. Try it!

    (If you can't, you may wanna think twice, because that poor, sweet guy did try a little too hard and it is pretty annoying.)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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