- 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)
Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage, and Transform Hardcover – 7 Jan 2013
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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 EpiphanyChannel.com 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 www.epiphanychannel.com. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 EpiphanyChannel.com.
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.
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
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.
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.
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.