Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Superficial and patronising
on 5 December 2013
I really wanted to like this book as the Tony Buzan works I have come across before usually have interesting things to say but there are a number of things about it that I found very off-putting. One is the patronising tone, for example being told that I am going to be 'introduced' to John Donne before Buzan quotes one of the most famous pieces of writing in literary history. Someone could argue that not everyone would know this quote but while this may be true this over-simplification and dumbing down pervades the whole book. It has the feeling of being cobbled together and gimmicky. The multiple choice questions on whether or not you're likely to have a heart attack are ridiculous too. Apparently if a waiter drops ice cold water in your lap you are supposed to laugh heartily and that makes you better person? You could be drunk and just not give a monkeys - which is the only situation I could imagine laughing heartily being the initial response in most people - even really caring ones.
The crux of it is that the emphasis seems to be on 'doing things' that spiritual people do and that is how you become spiritual, but if those actions aren't prompted by an initial understanding which comes from within they are just 'tricks'. Buzan describes compassion as a feeling of sympathy and concern for others, but the whole point of compassion is not (even in my meagre understanding of it) that you feel sorry 'for' others you feel their suffering as though it were your own. A subtle distinction but an important one because it is an act of unity.
If you want some genuine insight into these matters you can't go far wrong with either: "Ancient Wisdom Modern World" by the Dalai Lama or "Everyday Enlightenment" by His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa. Both clear,accessible and practical but also profound and beautiful.