Tiny Thought Guy Book Reviews: Page 9

A few points about this book review page:

1) Some of these covers have changed over the years, so they might not appear the same as the current covers.

2) All of the books that you see here have a positive review, if you want to know why this is so, please refer back to page 1 of the reviews.
3) If you click on the image of the book it will take you to Goodreads.com or Shelfari.com
Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment - Alan Cohen
ISBN13: 9781401935207

Rather than re-invent the wheel, or in this case the book summary, I will defer to the author, Alan Cohen, to give an explanation of what the book is about. The theme of “Enough Already” is,  “You can have enough because you are enough, you deserve enough, and enough is always available constitutes the core lesson, and every sentence and chapter illuminates the central principle from a unique angle. “

The End….


Just kidding. While the above summary is completely succinct and accurate, there is a great deal more about “Enough Already” that I want to share because it contains an abundance of compassionate, self-empowering wisdom. Using personal accounts, quotes from both well- known and less-familiar people throughout history and just pure insight into life itself, Alan Cohen reminds  us that while we are seeking externally for our bliss we always have the opportunity to find it within. 


During this discussion the author shares: his formula for manifestation, how obstacles are actually for our benefit, how we need to create an idea in the inner world BEFORE it can manifest in the outer world, that suffering is a result of fighting against life, the destructive nature of guilt and negative emotions, and so much more.


Actually, just as I deferred to the author for the book summary in the first paragraph of the review, I believe that it is far more transformative to defer to Alan Cohen’s direct quotes than it is for me to simply give a summary of the information. This is a very small sampling  of the comments/thoughts that I found to be extremely profound:

Knowledge helps you navigate the earth, but wisdom helps you navigate the landscape of your soul. Knowing how to get from Tucson to Los Angeles is important, but knowing how to move from fear to love is more important.”


Most technical questions can be answered within seconds by doing an Internet search. Your were more crucial need is to access the Innernet–the vast reservoir of truth embedded in your deep subconscious (or superconscious) mind.”


We all have possessions, and we want to keep them. The question is: Do you own your possessions, or do they own you?”


We reward knowledge, but overlook wisdom.”


There is no argument between science and spirit, except in minds that do not grasp the magnitude of both.”


And these examples are found in just the first 30 pages!  

 

As you can see, like the physical  arrangement of the book, which is, “…organized holographically, meaning that every chapter and section relates to the theme like spokes radiating the center of a wheel, rather than on domino falling after another. All truths are connected to each other, like facets of a diamond” we will find that any quest of self-exploration ultimately leads back to oneself. In other words, and so eloquently stated by George Moore, and quoted by Alan Cohen, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm -Thich Nhat Hanh
ISBN13: 9780062004727

When you pick up Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, ‘Fear’, you immediately get the sense that the words come from a person who is very gentle and whose aim it is to help people overcome the energy draining force known as Fear. Many people spend a great deal of life’s precious resources dwelling on the past or fretting about the future - often which never materializes - instead of living in the present moment, where our true power lies.


Indeed, staying grounded in the moment is the starting point to overcoming the debilitating effects of fear. When we are mindful of the present moment we can deal with “what is” and not get caught up on the roller coaster of negativity that leaves us powerless. From this place of mindfulness we can observe the fear, embrace it, and then allow it to dissolve. This is a process of “working with” rather than “fighting against.” This is a process of acceptance and then embracing our fear rather than trying to bury it or bully it into submission, “Invite your fear into consciousness, and smile through it; every time you smile through your fear, it will lose some of its strength. If you try to run away from your pain, there is no way out. Only by looking deeply into the nature of your fear can you find the way out.”


Perhaps this sounds a lot easier to do then it truly is in real life, and while this might indeed the case, Thich Nhat Hanh provides many lessons on mindfulness and numerous exercises, especially involving breathing, to help us along the way. As the author states, “When we practice walking meditation, when we breathe mindfully, we generate a powerful energy of mindfulness, which can recognize and embrace our suffering and fear. After doing that for a time, you will see that the fear goes back down to its former place as a seed, and to understand that the next time that it manifests, you’ll be able to do exactly the same thing. Your chronic fear and anxiety will be genuinely reduced.”


In the end, it doesn’t matter what we are fearful of, or how the fear came to exist in the first place, the root of all fear exists in the mind and is reinforced by our beliefs that some external influence is more powerful than our own divine nature. While some degree of fear might be necessary for the survival of our physical being, on a deeper, spiritual level, when we come to realize that true nature extends beyond the mere physical world we see that many, or perhaps all, of our fears are unfounded, “Birth and death, coming and going, are just concepts. When we are in touch with our no-birth, no-death nature, we have no fear.”


By giving us the benefit of his compassionate wisdom, Thich Nhat Hanh is empowering people to overcome the limitations that their fears have imposed upon them. In essence, Thich Nhat Hanh is not giving us keys to our prison cell, he is showing us that the door was never locked to begin with.
Buddha's Little Instruction Book - Jack Kornfield
ISBN13: 9780553373851
This review is from a layperson who has no formal training in Buddhism, so if you are looking for a review that speaks to the aphorisms in this book in a detailed and reductionist view you won’t find it here. Furthermore, to me it also irrelevant where these aphorisms/quotes originated from because, regardless of their origin, they provoke contemplation for personal discovery.

 

I believe the nature of all spiritual development occurs at a personal level and each individual has to find their own way and discover their own truth.

 

Jack Kornfield presents just over 100 aphorisms/quotes/thoughts that are very brief (a sentence or two in length) that will stimulate thought and encourage the reader to determine the meaning for themselves. By not clouding the reader’s mind with personal opinions, Jack Kornfield is simply sharing his light and allowing the reader to choose the path. This, I believe, is the ultimate way to self-discovery. 

 

I know there are those that want to be “given the answers” or who want ‘X’ steps to enlightenment, and perhaps that does work for some, but you won’t find the answers at the back of this book.

 

There is a proverb that says, “When the wise man points at the moon the fool looks at the finger” and this book points to the moon: it is your choice to look for your moon on these pages, or to look elsewhere to find the finger.

Going the Extra Smile - George Foreman
ISBN13: 9781404104198

Prior to reading George Foreman’s book, “Going the Extra Smile”, I knew very little about his personal journey, other than the fact that he is a world champion boxer and that he is the smile behind the late-night infomercials for a cooking grill bearing his name. This is not to say that “Going the Extra Smile” is an exhaustive autobiography outlining the boxing great’s trials and tribulations, rather it is more of a light-hearted discussion that incorporates some aspects of George’s personal history with his philosophy on life: in particular, after a profoundly transformative experience one night in Puerto Rico.

In 1977, after having lost a title match to Jimmy Young and George ‘was lying in a hospital bed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, wearing the happiest smile of <his> life.’ Definitely, not what he, or any of his entourage, would have expected because this loss meant that would be unable to challenge Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight boxing. Unbeknownst to the people around him, George had a spiritual experience after losing the match and it would prove to be the Genesis moment of an entirely new mission in life.


George’s new mission was to share his faith in God with anybody who would listen and he was so empowered and impassioned with his beliefs that he returned to his hometown of Houston where he claimed a street corner and commenced to spend many hours ministering to anyone who would lend an ear.

With the same persistence and resilience that George Foreman demonstrated in the ring, he continued to pursue his passion of street corner preaching until he eventually became an ordained minister; furthermore, during this process of personal growth, George had the opportunity to test his beliefs as numerous encounters with the people who had ‘wronged’ him–the person who bankrupted him, a former wife who had taken his children out of the country, the boxer who had defeated him in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’– came back into his life. Throughout it all, George demonstrated that he could continue to smile both inwardly and outwardly.


Incorporated into this discussion about the power of a smile, George also advocates the power of: forgiveness, ‘If you want to be healed, you have to let go of the hurt’; generosity, ‘You’ve got to give from whatever you have–your time, your talents, your personality, your heart’; resilience, ‘The people who enjoy life the most, and who succeed most often, get knocked down just as much as anyone else. The difference is that they smile and get right back up.’; gratitude, ‘If we have a grateful spirit, we begin to see a purpose in our temporary setbacks and problems’; and of course faith, ‘No trial, no matter how terrible, lasts forever. Sooner or later that problem will pass. So we might as well smile and look for the positive as it passes by!’

Of course, George doesn’t only talk about his personal thoughts about the power of a smile, he shares numerous quotes from the likes of, Emily Dickinson, Og Mandino, Phyllis Diller and Joseph Addison - who shares this belief, “What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.

The fact that a heavyweight boxing champion - a person who was one of the most capable of  knocking the smiles off of people's faces - is now advocating the power of a smile demonstrates that we all have the power to change and make the world a better place. By simply making the choice to smile our positive intentions are shared with everyone we meet and the ripples are endless.
Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination - J.K. Rowling
ISBN13: 9780316369152

This book, “Very Good Lives: the Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination” is derived from a commencement speech given by J. K. Rowling at Harvard University and it is centered on two aspects of Ms. Rowling’s journey: the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination.

Certainly, one might expect that the author of the Harry Potter series would be very familiar with the power of imagination; however, many, myself included, might be a little surprised to learn about some of the “failures”/hardships that J.K. Rowling had to endure before her rise to success: parents who did not support her vision of life, a failed marriage, being a single parent living in poverty and having no job prospects.

In addition to the hardships in her own life, the atrocities and the hardships that J.K. Rowling observed while working at Amnesty International also serve to profoundly impact her future writings. All of this personal disclosure, from someone who has been so successful in their career, really reinforces that who we are is not defined by our past. Or, as J.K. Rowling so aptly states, “Your qualifications, your C.V., are not your life…

Other profound messages that I found on the pages of, “Very Good Lives” would be:

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift…”

There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.”

Admittedly, I am not overly familiar with the Harry Potter books, I simply decided to read “Very Good Lives” because I knew that J. K. Rowling is a very successful author and I was hoping to glean some insights into how that success materialized for her. I was very pleasantly surprised that she shared so many profound insights from her journey; insights that will undoubtedly resonate with that graduating class at Harvard for many years to come, as it will for myself and perhaps anyone else who reads this book. At the very least, it may help to remember that, “We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

The Science of Successful Living - Raymond Charles Barker
 ISBN13: 9780875165363

Written in 1957, “The Science of Successful Living” is just as relevant in helping people transform their lives today as it was when it was originally written almost 60 years ago. Of course, the caveat is that the person reading the information in this book, and perhaps any book in the genre, must be truly interested in personal transformation and he/she must be willing to examine ideas with an open mind. In that regard, the author, Raymond Charles Barker, declares “This book has been written for that large section of today’s population which is spiritually liberal and psychologically aware. Those bound by traditional beliefs will cast it aside.”


I would suggest that when Dr. Raymond Charles Barker makes reference to those having ‘traditional’ beliefs, the statement would apply equally to people who possess strict scientific beliefs as well as people who possess strict religious beliefs. As an ordained Unity minister, Dr. Raymond Charles Barker uses his knowledge in that realm, blended with rational, well-grounded ideas;   very much in line with his well-known contemporary, Dr. Ernest Holmes (who penned the extremely popular book, “The Science of Mind.”)


For example, Raymond Charles Barker asserts that, “MAN IS THE enigma of the universe. Despite the sciences developed to define him, he remains only partially understood. Medicine, anatomy, physiology, and psychology only explain how he works but they cannot behold the inner man of the spirit which is why he is.


Other discussions in this book focus on:

  1. The fact that it is our thoughts that create or experience in the outer world, “The excuses of the lack of opportunity, etc., mean nothing, for today you can always change your thinking, give your subconscious new directions and thereby have a new heaven and a new earth appear as your experience.”
  2. The need to release the things in our life that are preventing us from creating a better future for ourselves, “The clutter of the present has to be streamlined to allow the future to take place.
  3. The importance of looking at what we want, rather than what is, to engage the awesome power of intention, “On the pathway of improvement, you do not keep your attention on where you are but on where you are going.”
  4. The need to eliminate blame and take personal responsibility in order to empower ourselves, “Alone on a mountaintop, cloistered in a monastery or a convent, you still will have to meet yourself, for you are always your own problem.”
  5. The importance of the roles and interactions of our conscious and subconscious minds, “Your conscious mind is the most valuable asset you have. You probably take the least care of it and do not watch the directions it is giving at every instant to your subconscious. You think anything you want to think, good, negative or unimportant. Months or years later you wonder why certain unpleasant situations happen.”

This list could go on at length, but I think this is sufficient to provide an overview of what this book offers the reader. Personally, I found this book to be a treasure trove of wisdom that does a superb job of reminding us that we ultimately receive our power from a divine source, yet that power is given form and directed through us.

WeeButterfly (The ButterflyFree Project, #1) - Jim Talentino
ISBN-13: 978-1512134711

Although the title of this book, “Wee Butterfly” might lead one to think that this is a book written FOR children, it might be more accurate to consider it a book for adults that re-acquaints them with the unfiltered view of the world that we had as children. This is to say that many of us have lost our uniqueness, our creative spark and our sense of wonder as we accepted and conformed to the wants and needs of others.  This book is a colorful, introspective journey to rediscover one's true essence. If one were interested in Zen, perhaps this would be akin to the concept of going back to the “Beginner’s Mind.”


In order to bring us through this process of discovery, the authors (Jim and Terry Talentino - a father and son team) share Jim’s profound realizations and insights in a very unique format. Rather than chapters and bullet points, this book is a collections of “short stories, prose and poetic reflections” from Jim’s life as a “hockey jock priest and a wholly coyote trickster teacher.”

As the reader will notice from his description of himself, Jim blends his unique history and storytelling with creative metaphors that exceed the bounds of standard expression. Indeed, he goes so far as to create numerous new words to describe the essence of his profound experiences. Words such as: “Joybliss”, “Thunderbark” and “Buterflyfree” will all fail your spell check; however, they convey an energy not found in traditional words alphabetically arranged and laid out in the Funk and Wangles.

And this moving outside of the standard, sterilized ‘follow the crowd’ existence, is precisely what “Wee Butterfly” encourages us to do. If the reader is willing to keep an open mind and is willing to remove their own filters, then I believe there will be some profound moments waiting on these pages.


This is not a stereotypical ‘7-steps to Enlightenment’ or ‘5 minutes to Happiness’ book, and it is not written for those seeking to give their power to some guru; rather, this book is more like a conversation with somebody who has had a wonderful adventure and who is doing everything within his power to convey the magic of that journey. There are no “shoulds” or “musts” and “have-tos” being preached here, this is simply a provocative and intimate sharing to encourage people to fully express themselves, to break free of their cocoon and spread their WeeButterfly wings as they add their special gifts to creation.
Open Your Mind to Receive - Catherine Ponder
ISBN13: 9780875165073

While I am aware of Norman Vincent Peale and the books he has written, I have to admit that I knew very little about Catherine Ponder, the author of “Open Your Mind to Receive” in spite of the fact that she has been referred to as “the Norman Vincent Peale among lady ministers” and “the pioneer of positive thinking.”

Perhaps the second accolade is a bit of a stretch; however, she has shared a message of empowerment as a Unity Church minister since 1956 and with all of her successful books, including perhaps her most popular, “The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity”   there will be a vast number of people who have undoubtedly benefited from her words.

I would be counted as one of the people that enjoyed, “Open Your Mind to Receive” and there were certainly some great reminders that will help me with life’s journey. Some of those include:

Many of our human ills are caused by our unwise binding of people and things to us, or our letting people and things unwisely bind us to them.”

By meeting and overcoming the obstacles that life presents, you are continually impelled upward.”

You must be careful what you notice, talk about, or give your attention to, because that is what you are identifying with, and that is what you will bring into your life.”

Your only obligation is to the spirit of truth within you.

As you change your words, you change your world. As you improve your words, you improve your world.”

As a progressive and growing being, you are where you are that you may learn, that you may grow.”


Overall, “Open Your Mind to Receive” makes for an uplifting read and I found the “Summary” section at the end of each chapter valuable. On the minus side, I felt that there were too many anecdotal stories – I would have preferred more of Catherine’s personal experiences--and the final chapter on ‘tithing’ wasn’t to my liking. That is, while I agree with the intention and benefits of tithing, there were some of the more specific ‘rules’ that don’t work for me.

The Strangest Secret - Earl Nightingale
ISBN13: 9781603865579
One would think that with the massive amount of content available to him, Earl Nightingale would be writing books several hundred pages in length, yet “The Strangest Secret” is a mere 42 pages, and that is actually double-counting because the first half of the book is the text from an audio presentation and the last half of the book comes from the video presentation of the same name.

As with several other notable books in this genre though, what “The Strangest Secret” lacks in quantity of content, it makes up for in the quality of content and once again proves that sometimes short and simple is actually more. 


Some of the notable bits of insight that I particularly liked were:
- “The problem with most people is that they are playing the world’s most unrewarding game, and the name of the game is: Follow the Follower.”
- “Each of us must live off the fruit of our thoughts in the future, because what you think today and tomorrow – next month and next year – will mold your life and determine your future.”
- “We’ve got to put the fuel in before we can expect heat. Likewise, we’ve got to be of service first before we can expect money.”
- “Ideas are worthless unless we act on them.”
- “…the things that cost us money are cheap and can be replaced at any time…But the things we got for nothing, we can never replace.”

As life becomes more and more complex, it is refreshing to find a book that doesn’t require hundreds of pages to make a point and although the pages in this book can be quick to read, the content can empower you for a lifetime.
Your Invisible Power - Genevieve Behrend
ISBN-13: 978-1615890170
Genevieve Behrend was the sole pupil of the famous New Thought/New Age/Law of Attraction author and pioneer, Judge Thomas Troward. Actually, Genevieve’s account of how she became aware of the Judge Troward’s work, and how she later went on to become his pupil, is one of the fascinating stories that she shares in her book, “Your Invisible Power.” Filled with suspense, good fortune and synchronicity, Genevieve’s journey is a fine example of the principles that she advocates in her teachings.


These principles, many of which are quite widely shared by others in the genre, are discussed in topics covering: where joy originates, the importance of deciding on what YOU want, the power and process of effective visualization, the fact that everything originates in the invisible realm of thought and that what we habitually think, positive or negative, is what we create for ourselves.

In Genevieve’s words, some of these aforementioned ideas are expressed as follows:

Joy is a state of consciousness, and consciousness is purely mental.”

Once you really believe that your mind is a center through which the unformed substance all there is in your world, takes involuntary form, the only reason your picture does not always materialize is because you have introduced something antagonistic to the fundamental principle. Very often this destructive element is caused by the frequency with which you change your pictures.”

Visualizing is the great secret of success.”

Everything in the whole world, from the hat on your head to the boots on your feet, has its beginning in mind and comes into existence in exactly the same manner. All are projected thoughts, solidified.”

Thought, as thought, is neither good nor bad; it is Creative Action and always takes physical form.”

 

Cementing these concepts, Genevieve provides both personal accounts and anecdotal stories of people who successfully overcame many of life’s adversities when there was no logical means to do so. By accepting the power residing within us, and our connection to the Universal Life Force, we come to realize that we have the power to be co-creators of our story: we aren’t simply automatons living pre-ordained lives; however, many of us have forgotten our birthright and it is through reading books, like “Your Invisible Power”, that we become aware of our inherent power and how to reclaim it.

While this book is quite short (perhaps the one shortcoming), Genevieve Behrend has written several other books and, if the others are similar in quality to this one, I look forward to purchasing and reading them as well.
How to Prosper in Hard Times – Napoleon Hill, James Allen, Joepsh Murphy etc.
ISBN13: 9781585427550

This book, ‘How to Prosper in Hard Times’ is a compilation of writings from many of the earliest New Age/Law of Attraction authors including: Orison Swett Marden, James Allen, George S. Clason, Russell H. Conwell, Florence Scovel Shinn, Joseph Murphy and Napoleon Hill. While some names on this list may be very familiar to the reader, and others perhaps not, they are all included in this book to share some of their wisdom pertaining to personal prosperity.

Now, in this particular context, ‘prosperity’ is discussed in both the traditional, monetary sense as well is in the context of non-physical prosperity: the latter topic being the most prolific. In other words, this book does not discuss the specific ways in which the reader can go out and make a financial fortune; rather, the majority of the information presented by the authors pertains to how we can change our thoughts and behaviors to one of prosperity consciousness, which will in turn draw more financial abundance to us.

To illustrate this point, here is a small sampling of quotes that potential readers will find on the pages of ‘How to Prosper in Hard Times:’

- 'By repeating a certain train of thought you establish definite opinions and beliefs in the deeper mind called the subconscious; then such mental acceptances, beliefs, and opinions direct and control all the outer actions.’ Joseph Murphy
- ‘You go where your vision is! Cease, therefore, looking at the obstacles, delays, and the impediments that would cause you to go off your course. Be definite and positive.’ Joseph Murphy
- ‘If we are not forced to test our strength through dire necessity, through struggle, through hardship, we seldom discover our possibilities.’ Napoleon Hill
- ‘It is an old-time axiom that ‘everything has its price.’ Everybody knows this commercially, but how few know what spiritually.’ James Allen
- ‘Preceding accomplishment must be desire. Thy desires must be strong and definite.’ George S. Clason
- It is not the fall, but the not getting up, that is defeat.’ Orison Swett Marden
- ‘The most wonderful idea is quite valueless until it is put into practical operation.’ Russell H. Conwell

As you can see from the quotes, none of them discuss specific ways to make vast sums of money, they all relate to a state of mind or to a state of being. All of the authors included in this book were born in the 1800’s and lived in a very different era, so if this book merely discussed specific ideas on how to accumulate financial riches it would have long been outdated and it would have ended up in the dump with the numerous other ‘financial advice’ books that have come and gone over the last century. Instead, these authors chose to share the wisdom and knowledge, which in several cases was synthesized from hundreds of the most financially prosperous people in Western society, so that we could learn the process of how to become prosperous and this information defies time because in the end it all comes down to self-empowerment through self-discovery. It all comes down to the fact that “Wealth is a state of consciousness.”
Buddha Laughing: A Tricycle Book of Cartoons

ISBN-13: 978-0609804094


Irresistible, one page cartoons related to personal transformation and Buddhism.


With this being a really short book, I think it is appropriate to keep the review short as well.

I received this book as a gift several years ago and I just recently picked it up again: I’m glad I did. The series of one-page cartoons have provided me with a lot of chuckles and even more belly-laughs. In addition to the cartoons being humourous, many of the cartoons can also be understood at a deeper level. If you want a little more (pun intended) humour in your life, or if you want to give somebody a lovely little gift, this book could very well be it.