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Publisher's Summary

This new book from Zen teacher, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and critical favorite, Barry Magid, inspires us to outgrow the impossible pursuit of happiness, and instead make peace with the perfection of the way things are. Including ourselves! Using wryly gentle prose, Magid invites readers to consider the notion that our certainty that we are broken may be turning our pursuit of happiness into a source of more suffering. He takes an unusual look at our secret practices (what we're really doing, when we say "practicing"), "curative fantasies," and our ideals of what spiritual practices will do for us.

In doing so, he helps us look squarely at some of the pitfalls of spiritual practice, so that we can avoid them. Along the way, Magid lays out a rich roadmap of a new psychological-minded Zen, which may be among the most important spiritual developments of the present-day.

©2008 Barry Magid (P)2013 AudioCATCHWORDS

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very fine book, very poor reading

If you could sum up Ending the Pursuit of Happiness in three words, what would they be?

A Zen primer.

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A.

Would you be willing to try another one of Joe O'Neill’s performances?

No. I found both his voice, manner of delivery, frequent stumbling over words and frequent mispronunciations most distracting. ("Shun-ree Suzuki" or "Sessions" for sesshins). Not to mention what seems to be the odd paragraph or two suddenly sounding as if it were recorded in a completely different studio. A somewhat amateurish production. Too bad, a stye book's content is useful, insightful stuff.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I was disappointed in this book. To begin with the title is misleading. A Zen critique of the popular culture's obsession with finding a happy solution to every human problem might have been interesting. But this is a very egocentric book about the author's experience working as a psychoanalyst and a Zen teacher. The stories he tells about his own special experiences fail to demonstrate that he has gained self awareness from his practice of either discipline. He is quick to point out the foibles and failures of past and present Zen teachers and practitioners but it sounds like church gossip. Far from bringing any new perspective to Zen or psychoanalysis the author supports the hierarchical structure that is common to most religions and academies. If I thought the author's views were all there was to Zen, I would want no more to do with it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very uneven narration

I enjoyed the content of this book. Barry Magid writes clearly and with humor. The narration is quite choppy and this seems the result of sloppy editing - phrases are inserted here and there which have a different tone and speed from the speech that surrounds it. The result is jarring and distracting, not the manner one for which would wish in a book on this topic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great introduction to Buddhism

So many books come from viewpoint of the monastic tradition of Buddhism that it is refreshing and quite enlightening to see the lay-Buddhist perspective. The concept of the secret practice is very thoroughly discussed, and I must confess that it is indeed a large part of what holds us back. The message of the book is well-versed and down to earth to a sufficient enough degree that it makes even more sense. A topic that is covered, though may stand to suffer further discussion is the nonmystical mysticism - the fact that Buddhism is religion just as much as not-collecting stamps is a hobby, something often remarked about Atheism. The whole fact of not relying on belief is, in my opinion, important for relaying the message of Buddhism to contemporary western people - that it is not a paradigm to conflict with Abrahamic religions, religious practice, etc. Finally, the narrator. Frankly, in the beginning the husky voice was a bit of a distraction, but with the perceived topic the age and gravitas that the narrator imbued contributed significantly to the whole experience. All in all, a must-hear book from a great author and solid narrator.

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Wish I had read this years ago

Great book, horrible narration. Not done in a studio, voice changes from sentence to sentence.