Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient WisdomThe Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the best book I've read so far on happiness, love, and mindfulness, morality, and life purpose specifically because unlike the other books that I've been reading on the topic it combines science and philosophy on all of these topics instead of taking them individually. The author is not afraid to tackle some controversial topics, necessary because of the discussion of how an innate disgust system relates to our sense of morality. The author is honest about his own "bias" as he is not religious, but he maintains a professional respect towards world religions and seeks to understand what they can contribute to an understanding of psychology, happiness, and even societal well-being.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Waking Up by Sam Harris

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without ReligionWaking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this book was really interesting. I think his negative view of religion hurt how broadly available this book will be to others. However, I thought his interpretation of some of the science and his unique descriptions of his experiences with and understanding of mindfulness and meditation is invaluable to someone trying to understand consciousness and mindfulness.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller

48 Days to the Work You Love48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some of the advice is very valuable, but it drags out the advice more than necessary. For all of the unnecessary length it lacks detail in a lot of the chapters about how to do the things he recommends. Instead h tells personal stories about people who failed or succeeded.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Codex by Lev Grossman

CodexCodex by Lev Grossman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the beginning and middle of the book, but the ending left me cold. The book appeared to be building to something bigger and left some open questions about the main character Edward's employer (and friends?) that left me unsatisfied.

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Love 2.0 by Barbara L. Fredrickson

Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and BecomeLove 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become by Barbara L. Fredrickson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book explains the scientific underpinnings of "positivity resonance," mindfulness, and meditation. Frederickson's book is more all encompassing than the the Sharon Salzberg book I read recently, "Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation" but supports the usefulness of the practices described in that book.

Also, unlike "Waking Up" by Sam Harris, which I'm currently reading, there is no positive or negative discussion of religion which I think makes it more widely accessible.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Lila (Gilead, #3)Lila by Marilynne Robinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read and loved Gilead, and this is book is also wonderful in the ways Gilead was wonderful. This book was also very romantic and full of love. It's hard to review the novels you love more than ordinary novels. I don't feel up to the task of reviewing what is clearly the work of a genius. There's not much to be said about it other than it approaches perfection. It allows us to inhabit a person a time that is not our own. It also allows us to try to grasp what Marilyn Robinson understands and believes about religion which is ... a lot. Beautiful novel. Please read it.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Matilda by Roald Dahl

MatildaMatilda by Roald Dahl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very strange book if you're reading it for the first time as an adult. Even though Maltilda is 5 in the book, it's probably for slightly older kids, 8-10. Charming book.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this is a great book, the meditation exercises make almost an immediate difference. I left off a star because it was a bit boring to get through the beginning and I almost decided to stop reading it. But it actually gets progressively more interesting- both the reading and the practice.

It talks about different types of meditation: 1- Following the breath, 2- Body Scan, 3- Body Sensations 4- Walking Meditation, 5- Meditation of Thoughts or Emotions, 6- Calling up difficult emotions, 7- Lovingkindness. The latter was my favorite and I found it to be the most interesting and helpful so I'm glad I stuck with the book to the end.

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