... but this book has come up in my daily life again and again as I've begun reading it. (NB: I am reviewing as a graduate student studying Painting)
Given to me by a friend (doing his history PhD. at UVA) a couple weeks ago, we recently had a conversation that went something to the effect of "yeah, it's like Hyde takes these things I've given thought to before, but pushes them about 10 steps beyond anywhere I'd have gotten without INTENSIVE research." Like all great cultural artifacts, this book does a ton of legwork to give your thoughts on giving, creativity, and the social purpose of "what we do" a huge push, and really has nudged my brain into a valuable understanding of myself.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not touting this as "self-help" or an "answer" in any way, as it poses as many questions as it does offer possible solutions or reasons for things. And I truly loathe all forms of self-help. But like a film or conversation or piece of artwork, it re-frames and problematizes issues with market economies, the struggle of a creative person in a modern (capitalist) world, and more personally, self-confidence and a faith in what you're doing.
It may help you find ways to be a better person, it may just re-arrange some puzzle pieces, and maybe you're already a savant and will have gotten already out of your life experience what Hyde offers you here, to which I'd simply say "well done." But I don't think the book is a waste of time. The first 80 or so pages are a bit direct, and drag a bit, but as painful as a historical backdrop COULD be, at least he tells a number of interesting stories and fables to keep the need for immediate gratification satiated.
I think the negative reviews I've read here are either from readers unwilling to take the time to properly unpack Hyde's work, or too impatient to relax into it. Further, Hyde is not just a 'quack,' he spends decades researching his material and is a well-respected historian.
It's the first book I've been excited about reading in a long time.