Let me say at the outset that I am a qualified teacher of Transcendental Meditation and in the UK TM is taught on behalf of a registered educational charity by teachers trained by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It's easy, effortless and very effective and course fees are variable depending on income.
In some countries where it is taught it costs very little, and in wealthier countries it costs more thus subsidising the teaching of TM elsewhere.
People with a hangup about the cost of learning are really not understanding the value of this practise and the careful, and delicate method of instructing someone to really practise it properly and quickly get the benefits.
I have often subsidised people myself who are hard up, so they can learn. The course fee is paid to the charity and I get a 50% fee for teaching.
This book by Peter Russell is not a rehash of previous books on the subject and was in fact written very early on at the emergence of Transcendental Meditation in the West. There were no other authoritative books at the time and I used to recommend this book in the 70's.
No attempt is made to try to teach someone to practice TM in this book for very good reason. Experience is necessary along with appropriate guidance while you are learning so that no error takes root and becomes habitual, and only so much information is given to the student as accords with his experience. So the teacher starts off by enabling the first experience of the practise and then pointing out the content of it and the meaning and value of each experience. Each day of the course more information can be given based on growing experience of doing it at home a couple of times. The student is offered a 6 month follow up programme of checking of meditation and further instructions as his experience continues to grow. All this is covered by the initial course fee.
The idea that you can learn something as important and valuable as this from a book could only come from someone who's knowledge of the subject is very limited. The idea is frankly ludicrous and no one should be led by such glib pronouncements.
Other techniques of meditation all have their own value and I would not criticise anyone practicing any of them. I simply recommend this book about TM, and Transcendental Meditation as probably the best and most widely practised by people of all religions or none, and of all races, educational background, and profession. And I'm speaking from the experience of teaching thousands.
As to the value of other cheaper or free meditation techniques that say they are the same as TM. Such a claim is not backed up by the published research, and it's better to stick to the facts and not get caught up in emotional ranting or we will miss the importance of getting a good result rather than winning an argument. One study compared about 124 types of meditation and relaxation technique, with Transcendental Meditation using exactly the same means of measurement of anxiety. TM reduced trait anxiety twice as much as any other technique for which there was reliable research published in reputable scientific journals.
More recent research has found that meditation techniques vary both in their methods of practice as well as their results just as medicines do. Lumping them all together as the same is simply a mistake and very unhelpful to people looking for personal growth or release from stress and anxiety.
Peter Russell's book on Transcendental Meditation is authoritative and illuminating for anyone wishing to understand what meditation is for and what Transcendental Meditation in particular does. I would still recommend it strongly to anyone sincerely looking for something effective and wanting a good introduction before embarking on a course.
Books inform and every book has a message. This is a good one. Well written by someone with long experience. Congratulations to Peter Russell for taking the time to produce it and keep it up to date.