Category Archives: Self Help

When Breath Becomes Air

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Originally published: January 12, 2016
Page count: 231 pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (January 12, 2016)
Subjects: Biography
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0812988418
ISBN-13: 978-0812988413
Product Dimensions: Kindle eBook available

100 Word Book Review:

A doleful recount of Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon’s last surviving years, the sudden transition of role from being a doctor treating the dying, to becoming the dying patient himself. As he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. In the face of death, Paul went about the preparations, reflecting on choices, goals, his infant daughter and the continuity after his departure.

Who should read:

If you are looking for a deeper meaning of life, a serious view on the perpetual continuity in the face of death, reading this book may help to align your goals and seek what your answer to your question may be. It is a very practical book exploring the last days and months of a dying patient, who happens to be a doctor too.

Overall it is a good book exploring the feelings, emotions and the process of being sick, the pratical roles of doctor and patient. It is sad, yet beautiful. Bittersweet.

Who should NOT read:

On the contrary, if you are looking for some happy ending, some ‘everything is awesome regardless so’ theme of biography, do not try this book. It is sombre and serious in general even though the author has written in light humor, looking at daily things from amusing perspectives.

Takeaway points:

Life is simple, life is short for some. Sometimes things that are fated to be. No science, religion or philosophy can alter the course of fate. If it is meant to be, it is meant to be. Regardless how science have advanced and may cure the most deadly disease, it is a little beyond what even the best doctor can do.

About the Author

PAUL KALANITHI was a neurosurgeon and writer. He graduated from Stanford with a B.A. and M.A. in English literature and a B.A. in human biology. He earned an M.Phil in the history and philosophy of science and medicine from Cambridge and graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. He returned to Stanford to complete his residency training in neurological surgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience, and received the American Academy of Neurological Surgery’s highest award for resident research. He died in March 2015. He is survived by his family, including his wife Lucy, and their daughter Elizabeth Acadia.

Chan Heart, Chan Mind

Chan Heart, Chan Mind: A Meditation on Serenity and Growth

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Originally published: 8 March 2016
Authors: Master Guojun (Author), Kenneth Wapner (Editor)
Page count: 176 pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Subjects: Philosophy, Religon
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1614292620
ISBN-13: 978-1614292623
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches

100 Word Book Review:

Master Guojun narrates his life with his ordination master, Master Songnian to Chan Master Sheng Yen, documenting the major memories and lessons from his apprenticeship to being the present abbot of Mahabodhi Temple, Singapore. Each contemporary master has his own way of teaching and sharing. Through these experiences, he shares and educates readers basic Buddhism concepts, how simple things hold great meanings. A change in perspectives unfolds insights into the basic things performed in life. In the age of technology and instant gratification, Master Gunjun illustrates how Buddhism is a life philosophy, adaptable yet unbending, applicable to any situations.

Who should read:

Readers who are keen and curious of Buddhism, or interested to know how the daily life of a monk. Master Guojun keeps the narration simple in order to deliver the clearest message. Though this book, readers realise that some things in life is so much easier than it looks. And many of the times in life, it is the mentality and perspectives that complicates things, resulting in frustrations.

Who should NOT read:

For readers who are expecting a deeper and advanced explaination of Buddhism, this book will not be the right title. The book intends to bring forth an introduction to the uninitiated.

Takeaway points:

Life is simple, fall back to basics. Unhappiness, frustrations, anger, and all the negative emotions are unnecessary. It arises from inflexible perspectives which narrows the mind resulting in complications. To see is to not to see. Many things are not be viewed as its form itself.

About the Author

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

 

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

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Originally published: 24 April 2017
Original Title: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
Author: Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant
Page count: 240 pages
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Non-fiction, Self Help, Psychology
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1524732684
Product Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 25 mm

Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2017)

100 Word Book Review:

Sheryl opens up describing the grief and isolation in the wake of her husband’s sudden death. No proper farewells, no premonition nor physical indications of an end. Abrupt as it is, life goes on. Option B illustrates that deep within us, we all have resilience and adaptation. A dynamic evolutionary process that fits us to our current circumstances. While Sheryl was certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again, her psychologist friend Adam Grant guided her. Indeed, it is a sad book to read but this will help readers to seek the recovery strength within themselves.

Who should read:

Ironically, Option B is very suitable for those who are upset, depressed or despondent. The author been through possibly the lowest point in life one could ever be.

One may argue what she been through is worse than having suicidal thoughts. But this is not the point here. If anyone is upset and depressed for prolonged period of time, he or she should seek help. Of which the author did, and she is using herself as a living example to guide those in need too.

Who should not read:

Obviously readers who are expecting a happy story, or maybe a sad-first-then-happy-ending-story, should not read it.

Option B focuses quite a bit on the author’s feelings and emotional state. Unknowly, one will eventually feel equally depressed or probably even worse after that.

Also, the positive turn comes much later towards the end of the book. So it takes a bit of patience to get to that part.

Takeaway points:

  • Life is short, unexpected, a constant struggle
  • It is natural to feel sad, but it is important to snap out of it and recover.
  • Life goes on, and there are so much more.
  • Happy and sad things happen for a reason, and at times, happen unexpectedly without a reason too. And events that happen without a reason usually will have the greatest impact.

 

Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer at Facebook, overseeing the firm’s business operations. Prior to Facebook, Sheryl was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

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Originally published: 18th Feb 2013
Original Title: Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
AuthorHéctor García (Author), Francesc Miralles (Author)
Page count: 208 pages (Hardcover)
Publisher: Penguin Books (August 29, 2017)
Genre: Self Help
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143130722
ISBN-13: 978-0143130727
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 7.4 inches

100 Word Book Review

Ikigai a Japanese word describing the art of doing something, where work becomes not work anymore but a way of life. It is the sweet intersection point between passion, mission, vocation, and profession, imbue into daily life. Work becomes second to breathing, an uninterrupted flow in the process of working, immersed and focused. It is an enjoyable journey to see one’s creation comes to fruition. With cited interviews of seniors living past a century, they remain active and work at what they enjoy. It is clear that they’ve found a real purpose in life, living and working every waking moment.

Who Should Read

Those who are stuck in life, procrastinating of things that needs to be done and have not done so in days, weeks or even months. Likewise, those who do work diligently and would like to further understand the mentality of people who worked hard. This new perspective helps them to regain new perspectives which may be helpful in their future endeavors.

Who Should Not Read

Perhaps scientists and research who are seeking quantifiable results and solutions for comparisons between different individuals. This book provides insights and perspectives, not quite numbers and facts for cold hard comparisons.

Takeaway point

Work can be dull and interesting at the same time, it is perspectives and attitude that will help in a more enjoyable working experience.

Spouse – Shobhaa Dé

 

Spouse - Shobhaa Dé
Spouse – Shobhaa Dé

 

How marriages work and why they fail… Marriage is an adventure, says Shobhaa Dé, celebrity writer, devoted wife and mother of six. It’s about trust, companionship, affection and sharing. It’s also about learning to cope with your partner’s moods and eccentricities. Not to mention the delicate balancing act between parents, children, friends and a career, and the sometimes overpowering need to get away from it all. In this delightful book on society’s most debated institution, Shobhaa Dé writes about how and why marriages work—or don’t. With her usual disregard for rules, she reinvents tradition and challenges old stereotypes, addressing all the issues that are central to most Indian marriages: the saas-bahu conundrum (how to escape the role-trap and enjoy each other), the need for honesty (aren’t some secrets better left secret?), the importance of romance (no, expressions of love are not unmanly!), and not any less important, how to recognize the warning signs in a hopeless relationship and run before it’s too late. Fun, savvy and, above all, pragmatic, this is the ultimate relationship book for all those who want to make the adventure of marriage last a lifetime.*

 

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The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler

The_Art_of_Happiness
The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler

 

Originally published: 26th 1998 by Riverhead Hardcover
Author: Howard C. Cutler
Genre: Philosophy
Page count: 336 pages (Hardcover)
Publisher: Easton Press
ISBN: 1-57322-111-2
ISBN13: 9781573221115

 

100 Word Book Review:

Dalai Lama believes in fundamental goodness in all everyone, in the value of compassion and kindness, a sense of commonality among all living creatures. Written by Howard C. Cutler, a psychiatrist, who spent one week with the Dalai Lama, and then used his interviews with the Dalai Lama as a basis for this book. Though it is not directly narrated by Dalai Lama himself, it captures the basic essences and fundamental values of happiness. A change of perspective opens up a horizon of possibilities, casting away most of the frustrations. Understanding yourself, and your enemies will result in inner peace.

 

E-book available: https://www.apnamba.com/Ebooks-pdf/Art%20of%20Hapiness.pdf

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

 The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

The priceless wisdom and insight found in the bestselling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (more than 10 million sold!) is distilled in this palm-size Running Press Miniature Edition™. It’s full of advice on taking control of your life, teamwork, self-renewal, mutual benefit, proactivity, and other paths to private and public victory. Steven R. Covey is chairman of the Covey Leadership Center and the nonprofit Institute for Principle-Centered Leadership.

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Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ - Daniel Goleman
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman

 

Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman’s brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our “two minds”—the rational and the emotional—and how they together shape our destiny.

Through vivid examples, Goleman delineates the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and even our physical well-being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart.

The best news is that “emotional literacy” is not fixed early in life. Every parent, every teacher, every business leader, and everyone interested in a more civil society, has a stake in this compelling vision of human possibility.

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