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Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage, and Transform Hardcover – 7 Jan 2013

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 299 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; First Edition edition (7 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307716104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307716101
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 618,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Elise Ballard is the host and creator of the online community and website, Epiphany Channel, and the author of Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage and Transform (Random House/Crown Publishing), a collection of over 50 interviews with amazing people from all walks of life recounting the stories of their greatest epiphanies. She started her career in entertainment working as an actress and moved into independent filmmaking and producing in Los Angeles as a partner in a production company who had films distributed by Lions Gate and Monarch Entertainment. Her directorial debut, Lord of the Wiens: A Dachumentary, a movie about the annual Wiener Dog Races in Buda, TX, became a cult hit. She is a regular contributor to Psychology Today and the wildly popular website, Positively Positive, and she recently was invited to speak at a TED event where she delivered two talks - one for middle and high school kids and one for adults. Elise also had the privilege of being invited to attend and cover the 2011 Nobel Prizes, and she serves as one of the judges for the prestigious Humanitas Prize in Los Angeles, awarding writers for emphasizing and celebrating humanistic values in their work. She has created, directed and produced numerous projects including the YOU DVDs accompanying the YOU book series by world-renowned, bestselling authors, Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen. She currently is in development on several projects, including more for the Epiphany Channel, film and television versions of the Epiphany project, and future books for the Epiphany series. Many of her interviews that are in her book were also filmed and excerpts of them can be found on the website as well as her two TED Talks. Her passion is hearing/writing/telling people's stories and she would love to hear about your epiphanies and/or feedback, too, which you can share at --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Elise Ballard, an actress and independent filmmaker and producer, interviewed people about their life-changing moments of realization and breakthroughs. "Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage and Transform" is the amazing, thought provoking, deeply intimate revelations of 60 people. Most are public figures.
Ballard begins the book with her own epiphany. She realized the miraculous power of the moment when she gained freedom while facing paralyzing fear.
She says epiphanies are not just "aha moments" but major, life-changing revelations that ultimately impact many lives.
There are six epiphany themes in the book - awakenings, new directions, healings, miracles, coming of age and callings. She learned from the interviews that it is important not only to know other's stories but also to honor and tell others your own. She invites readers to experience more stories or share their own on her website
She says the stories moved her to tears of joy and sadness, some made her laugh out loud and others rendered her speechless. I too experienced this.
The topics are many: self-compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation, healing autism, battling cancer, self-acceptance, letting go, the power of love, honoring your heritage, trusting your instincts and dealing with loss, pain, sexuality and other land mines of life.
I particularly enjoyed reading about the healing of Rupert Isaacson's son, Rowan's autism by combining traditional shamanic healing and horses. The story is told in Isaacson's best selling book "The Horse Boy" and a documentary film.
Reading the heart-warming teachings, wisdom and insights of the people in Ballard's book was life-changing for me. Each story is a window in the universal truths that connect us all.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I still cant believe how good this book made feel, I'm not the type of person to read the same book straight after finish but on this one I have no choice.
I've learned something so especial on this book that i can see the World so much more coloured and the future so much brighter. Thank u from the bottom of my heart. HValdez
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book - highly recommend
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An inspiring book that makes you pay more attention to your life and grasp the moments that can bring change!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x906e1c60) out of 5 stars 71 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x905757f8) out of 5 stars So Close ... 17 Mar. 2011
By Mike Donovan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed a lot of this book. Many of the stories are truly fascinating and helped kick-start my own thought process about certain things. An 'epiphany' also seems to mean different things to different people profiled in this book. It could have just as easily been called 'Inspiration' as many people tell their stories without any "aha" moment that most think of when they think of epiphanies. I was a little disappointed with that. But my biggest disappointment was the too big of a share the book focused on stars, famous people, celebrities, whatever. A book like this would have been just as good (better in my opinion) had it just been inspiring stories began with epiphanies from just plain regular folks. We live in such a state of celebrity-worship now that it seems sometimes like books such as these have to throw in all the celebrities to validate the book. Because, we all know it just doesn't happen unless it happens to celebrities and is chronicled by People magazine. That's my biggest gripe. With that said, as I said at the beginning of my review, much of this book was enjoyable and many of the stories were truly inspiring as they did grow out of true epiphanies and that 'aha' moment when we awaken to a new way of looking at things, doing things, etc. It wasn't a bad book by any stretch - it just could have been better with the focus back on Peoria as opposed to the glossy magazine lives of the stars.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90b32888) out of 5 stars Intriguing and Inspiring 5 Jan. 2011
By John Zmirak - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book offers something for nearly everyone. Ballard compiles epiphanies that range through all spheres of life and across all sectors of society. There are a number of famous people, especially those in the entertainment industry, which Ballard chose not because she's starstruck but because that's the world she knows. She's a film-maker based in Los Angeles. The industry people whose life-changing epiphanies she chronicles are interesting, but I was more struck by the heart-wrenching tales of people who faced life-threatening illness, disfiguring disease, the death of a child, or the collapse of lifelong dreams...and who were suddenly gifted with the insight to SEE A WAY OUT of their troubles, or find a more creative way to endure them. For me, "epiphany" will always have a religious connotation--the infant Christ and the Magi--and that sense of the word is not scanted here. A number of the people whose stories Ballard gathers had conversion experiences, or deepened their childhood faith. Others found more earthly answers to the conundra that had stumped them. Still others found the grace to forgive--such as the family who forgave the South African mob that lynched their daughter (herself a civil rights worker).
But my favorite story in the whole is that of the professional con artist who had made living robbing appliance stores and hustling other victims--whose epiphany led him to Evangelical Christianity. He now works as a professional magician, and gives seminars to well-meaning, often naive church members on how to recognize con artists and avoid them; in other words, he tells those who are "innocent as doves" how also to be "as wise as serpents." An inspiring and always entertaining read!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90575c84) out of 5 stars Very readable and enjoyable, occasionally inspiring and insightful 1 Jan. 2011
By Tracy Marks - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An epiphany, according to Elise Ballard, is "a moment of great or sudden revelation, an illuminating discovery, realization or disclosure" - one that has a great impact upon a person's life. In EPIPHANY, a collection of personal vignettes, Ballard introduces us to the awakenings of over 55 people, many of them famous (e.g. Maya Angelou, Deepak Chopra, Ali McGraw), and most of them professionally accomplished. Personally, I found this emphasis upon the stories and credentials of so many celebrities and high achievers to be somewhat irritating, particularly because the book is about moments of internal transformations - shifts in consciousness that were turning points in the lives of the interviewees, and not necessarily the gateway to notoriety.

However, many of the stories, each introduced by Ballard and told succinctly in 3-7 pages, are quite interesting, and easy to read and understand. Ballard divides them into six primary subject areas - awakenings, new directions, healings, miracles, callings. and comings of age. These epiphanies, she points out, share four important characteristics: listening to oneself and/or one's environment, belief or trust in one's experience, motivation to action, and the attraction of serendipity or synchronistic events that further confirm that one is on the right path.

I resonated in particular with Andrea Buchanan's admonition to "Share your shame", and Kristin Niff's learnings about self-compassion. I was most deeply moved by Laurian Scott's heartrending account of losing her two young children to a degenerative nervous disease, and how she regained her will to live.

Some of the epiphanies are quite unusual (a professional magician/pickpocket is arrested and gives up a life of thievery), others truly miraculous (a bicyclist passes through a young girl rather than slams into her), others inspirational (realization of one's mission to help disadvantaged children) and still others relatively ordinary - at least in regard to discovering new interests that lead to new careers. In some cases, the subjects seemed to be referring to turning points in their lives in which they discovered a new focus or direction - rather than epiphanies

Many are realizations that changed a person's self-image, attitude, behavior, relationships or philosophy of life. Examples: Only I can define myself. My marriage is more important than my work. I need compassion for myself before I can express compassion for others. God loves me. My darkest moments turned out to be my greatest gifts.

EPIPHANY is a very enjoyable and often inspiring read. But ultimately, I remain somewhat disappointed that Ballard did not uncover through her interviews more enlightening descriptions of the epiphany experiences themselves and the precise circumstances that elicited them. I would have preferred more inclusion of spiritual awakenings, more elaboration of shifts in consciousness - a wider lens and brighter light shining upon the epiphany itself rather than upon its consequences. I would have preferred to read less about epiphanies of luminaries accustomed to the limelight and more about the epiphanies of ordinary people who awaken to their own inner light or wander into moments of unexpected illumination.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9057a540) out of 5 stars Interesing but maybe skewed 7 July 2013
By Paula Vince - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the premise of this book. The author made it her project to interview several subjects on moments of epiphany in their lives, when puzzle pieces seemed to slot into place and all became clearer. They are grouped into categories such as "callings", "new directions" and "miracles".

It wasn't the sort of book where submissions were called for. Elise Ballard hand-picked all the interviewees herself, and they are all high achievers in their chosen fields and have a lot of business acumen. Many are famous. A glance at the "About the Author" blurb reveals that Ballard is just such a person herself, an actress and independent filmmaker and producer. She writes how she connected with each subject as segues into their stories, and I couldn't shake the feeling that she lives insulated in her own world of VIPs, far removed from interests and habits of the common people. I wondered if this may have skewed the book somewhat, as there might have been valuable input lacking from the more unsung-hero type of plodder who many of us may find it easier to relate to, or even the thoughtful 'arty' type of person without get-up-and-go or connections, who has plenty of insightful thoughts but wouldn't have a clue how to put a business plan together or thrust themselves into the limelight. Because of this, the book may have lacked a little balance.

However, it did contain a variety of interesting stories from the subjects. It would appear we really do have our own paths to walk which are different from those of others. Diane Warren spoke about her passion for song-writing as part of her epiphany, while Nell Newman (daughter of Paul) discussed her equally great passion for conservation and whole foods.

Oh yeah, there's one other thing. I think reading this book did help me feel more in-tune with inner promptings and able to recognise ephiphanies. It actually helped me realise that I have a lot. We may be brought up tending to think that if they're not burning bush or Damascus Road experiences, then they don't fit the bill. In actual fact, they may be zooming through our thoughts all the time, subtle enough to slip away without us even registering them if we're not careful.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9057a528) out of 5 stars Epiphany: 3.5 stars 11 Jan. 2011
By Chel Micheline - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Epiphany" consists of over fifty first-person accounts of epiphanies- those life changing "a-ha!" moments that many of us have. Each "epiphany" takes about one to three pages to describe, and most of the people who share their personal moment of epiphany are celebrated in their fields, everyone from Dr. Oz to Deepak Chopra to Maya Angelou to several scientists and researchers and celebrities.

I *love* memoirs, and I really like reading about life-changing insights, so I expected this book to be life-changing. And it *was* very interesting. However, I realized about fifthy pages in that what is defined as an epiphany for one person is not necessarily ground-breaking or inspiring for another, so there was actually very little in this book that changed my thinking, or made me want to put further thought into what was being shared. For instance, several of the doctors and scientists discussed the moment that inspired them to go into their specific field, and while some of it was very captivating, not much of it resonated deep within me.

I think one person's epiphany may just be another person's light reading. After about thirty of the epiphanies, I started feeling like I was reading a stack of magazine profiles about the beginning of people's careers. And that's fine. But I like to be challenged and I like a book to grab me and capture me and make me want to keep reading. This book felt like it was something that could be picked up from time to time for brief reading, but not something you want to set aside time to read for hours on end.

Insightful and interesting, but not very life-changing or enlightening.
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