Customer Review

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the indispensible guide to spiritual matters..., 25 Mar 2005
This review is from: 50 Spiritual Classics: Timeless Wisdom From 50 Great Books of Inner Discovery, Enlightenment and Purpose (Paperback)
I first discovered Tom Butler-Bowden's books following a recommendation by a course leader on a programme called Personal Effectiveness For Men. I've been hooked ever since. I'm interested in self-development, but often find the sheer volume of material daunting. Butler-Bowden's books work as stepping-stones to greater learning. No longer do I waste my hard-earned money and time on books that do not interest or inspire me. I recommend you let him be your guide in all self-help, success and spiritual matters.
50 Spiritual Classics adopts the format of Butler-Bowden's previous 50 Self Help Classics and 50 Success Classics. In a clear and concise style he examines 50 texts ranging from ancient to modern, taking in many different forms of spiritual experience. The short chapters allow the reader to learn a lot with just a little effort.
It's not just how Butler-Bowden summarizes the books that makes 50 Spiritual Classics special. What he does is arrange the information to help the reader digest the sometimes complex ideas easily. You can read 50 Spiritual Classics from start to finish, or if you find a particular stream of spiritual thinking more to your taste, follow that path by referring to the In A Similar Vein section. Butler-Bowden also gives a one-sentence In A Nutshell summary of each book. Perhaps even more importantly he organises the classics into different categories, such as great spiritual lives, practical spirituality, opening the doors of perception and divine relationship and life purpose.
50 Spiritual Classics is by its very nature less practical than Butler-Bowden's previous books. There is still much to inspire here, though spiritual revelation seems much more personal in nature and difficult to reproduce.
There are various books that 50 Spiritual Classics has inspired me to investigate more fully. I had never considered Toltec wisdom as an avenue for exploration before, but now Butler-Bowden has introduced Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. What I find interesting is the similarities between Ruiz's ideas and those of US motivational speaker Anthony Robbins. These are two figures that you might not immediately think have much in common. But it seems as if they have come to similar conclusions by different routes. According to Butler-Bowden, Ruiz and Robbins agree that how we use words and how we communicate with ourselves and others, determines the person we are and the world we live in. To find out if the similarities are more than superficial I shall have to do some further reading.
There are some books covered by Butler-Bowden which I have previously read, but found little in which to inspire me. I'm thinking particularly of Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. Butler-Bowden has helped me appreciate these books a little more, even if he hasn't persuaded me to actually re-read them.
I recommend this book to everyone who wishes to learn more about inner discovery, enlightenment and purpose, whether they consider themselves spiritual or not.
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