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Publisher's Summary

"Most people will never find a great psychiatrist or a great Buddhist teacher, but Mark Epstein is both, and the wisdom he imparts in Advice Not Given is an act of generosity and compassion. The book is a tonic for the ailments of our time." (Ann Patchett, New York Times best-selling author of Commonwealth)

Our ego, and its accompanying sense of nagging self-doubt as we work to be bigger, better, smarter, and more in control, is one affliction we all share. And while our ego claims to have our best interests at heart, in its never-ending pursuit of attention and power, it sabotages the very goals it sets to achieve. In Advice Not Given, renowned psychiatrist and author Dr. Mark Epstein presents a how-to guide rooted in two traditions, Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, devoted to maximizing the human potential for living a better life. 

Our ego, and its accompanying sense of nagging self-doubt as we work to be bigger, better, smarter, and more in control, is one affliction we all share. And, while our ego claims to have our best interests at heart, in its never-ending pursuit of attention and power, it sabotages the very goals it sets to achieve. In Advice Not Given, Dr. Mark Epstein reveals how Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, two traditions that developed in entirely different times and places and, until recently, had nothing to do with each other, both identify the ego as the limiting factor in our well-being, and both come to the same conclusion: When we give the ego free reign, we suffer; but when it learns to let go, we are free. 

With great insight, and in a deeply personal style, Epstein offers listeners a how-to guide that refuses a quick fix, grounded in two traditions devoted to maximizing the human potential for living a better life. Using the Eightfold Path, eight areas of self-reflection that Buddhists believe necessary for enlightenment, as his scaffolding, Epstein looks back productively on his own experience and that of his patients. While the ideas of the Eightfold Path are as old as Buddhism itself, when informed by the sensibility of Western psychotherapy, they become something more: a road map for spiritual and psychological growth, a way of dealing with the intractable problem of the ego. Breaking down the wall between East and West, Epstein brings a Buddhist sensibility to therapy and a therapist's practicality to Buddhism. Speaking clearly and directly, he offers a rethinking of mindfulness that encourages people to be more watchful of their ego, an idea with a strong foothold in Buddhism but now for the first time applied in the context of psychotherapy. 

Our ego is at once our biggest obstacle and our greatest hope. We can be at its mercy or we can learn to mold it. Completely unique and practical, Epstein's advice can be used by all - each in his or her own way - and will provide wise counsel in a confusing world. After all, as he says, "Our egos can use all the help they can get." 

©2018 Mark Epstein (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Most people will never find a great psychiatrist or a great Buddhist teacher, but Mark Epstein is both, and the wisdom he imparts in Advice Not Given is an act of generosity and compassion. The book is a tonic for the ailments of our time.” (Ann Patchett, New York Times best-selling author of Commonwealth)

“Mark Epstein’s Advice Not Given continues his important, fascinating work in exceptionally lucid language. It also offers its readers a collection of fables, vignettes, and personal revelations with the true capacity to rearrange one’s perspective, even change one’s life. I suspect many of these offerings will stay with me for the long haul, for which I’m very grateful.” (Maggie Nelson, New York Times best-selling author of The Argonauts)

“Epstein’s book of practical suggestions will leave readers educated, inspired, and equipped with new tools for psychological health.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 

What listeners say about Advice Not Given

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

This book can actually change your view

Mark Epstein's view of eight fold path and his translation of the word "sama" as being "equal, just, or balanced" as opposed to "correct" can actually change the outlook of the eight fold path and Buddhism for the beginner. His use of personal experiences to explain each aspect really help to drive things home. There are a lot of things you can miss if you only half listen to this book or start listening with pre conceived notions.

8 people found this helpful

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Insight

Mark gives solid life advice in this book. Advice or perspective that allowed me to break free from my own expectations of what meditation is and is not. Reading it, I feel I am becoming a better brother, uncle, lover, son, and much more.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

An author's personal reflections

I started the book hoping that it would talk more specifically about the relationship / integration between Buddhist practices and Western psychology in practical ways. There are some very good nuggets here and there, but they are scattered among a lot of the author's personal reflections, journey, etc., which, given what I was hoping to hear, was too high an investment for the return. In terms of the narration, the author reads his own book here. While I don't doubt that his voice and manner are excellent in a counseling setting, I found it difficult at times to stay engaged.

13 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Not a good as I hoped

I got this book because I had done 10% Happier and loved the informal tone. I wanted to continue what I had discovered from that book here and Epstein was recomend. However, I found this book too cerebral for a beginner, I think. I was also disappointed to not find any real practical tips for meditation. Seemed to be more centered on Buddhist beliefs in general. i did get something out the journey though...

3 people found this helpful

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Like a good fríend

That brings about truth, a sense of quiet comfort you want to meet again and again.

3 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

Accessible and brilliant. Highly recommended. Offering clear guidance for how to better relate to our own ego, to each other, and to life itself.

3 people found this helpful

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Easy to follow and insightful

I listened to this straight through while busy with other tasks and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was easy to follow and offered much insight.

3 people found this helpful

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So What Next?

This book's main theme seemed to be finding yourself using Buddhist principles . The author talked too much about himself. Yes, there were case histories of different people but nothing that I feel the average joe blow could relate to. Left me with feeling ... so after all that now what?

2 people found this helpful

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excellent read

definitely going to listen to this a few more times, gave me much needed insights.

2 people found this helpful

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Insightful

I enjoyed this insightful book immensely. I plan to listen again. The reading for me was soothing.

2 people found this helpful