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on 19 April 2017
Such an easy read. It is a real self help book with clear and interesting insights and suggestions. Love it.
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on 13 April 2017
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on 31 August 2000
As scott peck realises he is reaching old age he becomes more reflective. More reflective of himself and what he has done in his life, and also of his previous work. This book starts and ends very powerfully with some excellent thoughts and amendments of some of his previous thoughts. He goes deeper into some topics already discussed in previous books but during the middle I couldnt help but feel that it was a bit of an advertisment for some of his earlier work. Not as gripping or motivating as some of his other books but it does have the definitive section on spirituality. This is very good, but he has already said most of it some where else.
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on 3 January 1999
It's a summary but also a mild extension of Peck's previous works (although I have only read two others). I very much like his notion of 'paradox' being central to life and the system of which we are part. His words on the reality of death I found confronting but very sensible and challenging, and felt that this was an important part of the book for me. I found other parts of the book fairly self-indulgent, for example his constant references to his marriage and the mistakes he had made, his descriptions of his foundation (FCE) having to learn about business and the realities of retrenchment etc, and also his poetry. It takes effort to read this book. I would not recommend it to any of my friends, but am glad I pushed on and finished it myself.
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on 23 October 1997
If you like the book The Road Less Traveled, you could be disappointed by this one. This book is just a synopsis of a number of the author's views on various topics like life and organisation without having examined and discussed each topic in detail. However those who like to have a concise guide to some of the Peck's view might find this interesting.
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on 24 August 2010
I really enjoy the road less travelled, a book worthy of re reading to approach an understanding.
This book starts off with an excellent first chapter....incisive, logical, all that I would have hoped for. Then the book, along with it's 'sister' 'Further along.....' dives into a mire of poor argument, contradiction and obsession. I am again upset that he has gone this way since writing 'The Road.....' I will keep and re read the original (and best) and in principle I will tear out and keep Chapter 1 of this book, but the rest, along with 'Further...' will be consigned to the metaphorical bin.
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on 19 July 1998
Initially I found the book a little slow and less exiting than "The Road Less Travelled" and this disappointed me at first. However it gets better and more confronting. I struggled to keep up my reading pace due to the implications of what the writer touched on. Its not easy to be a 'conscious thinker' as Peck puts it and this brought home the difficulties that I have experienced in my own life. Every person has their own way to avoid being true to themselves.
I think that "The Road Less Travelled" is a great book to read if you've just started on the journey to mental/spiritual health. "The Road Less Travelled and Beyond" is helpful for those who have taken up the challenge of personal growth for some time and are ready for more challenges.
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on 26 March 2010
An intersting read. Not as insightful or gripping as the first, but a valid follow up.
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on 17 July 2016
You might expect a book written by a qualified psychiatrist with many years of professional experience to offer the reader some interesting and thought provoking insights into the nature of the human condition. To an extent the book does indeed offer some thought provoking insights. If you are concerned about the extent to which psychology, and psychiatry, appear to have increasingly led people in free societies to believe that anti-social, criminal, or even psychopathic behaviours can all be explained by environmentally deterministic theories, leaving little or no room for the concept of personal responsibility, or individual moral choice, then you might well be motivated to read this book which has been reported as claiming that some people are just evil. This is indeed what Peck claims, but he then also claims that evil is not some kind of force from outside of a person, it is just the result of lack of self awareness, which leaves you wondering why he chooses to use such a loaded word as "evil" if he believes that destructive behaviours simply result from lack of self awareness. (In other writings, however, Peck claims not only to believe in demonic possession, but to have witnessed demonic exorcisms personally, further claiming that he has personally come face to face with Satan during these exorcisms). As you progress further through this book what becomes increasingly clear is that this is essentially a religious polemic masquerading as a piece of serious writing about psychiatry because Peck claims that the kind of self awareness required to avoid engaging in evil behaviours can only be acquired by knowing God through prayer (in his own case for several hours every day, he claims), but even more disturbingly by listening to that "still, small voice inside you" which is God telling you what decision to make, or how to behave. The problem with this is that history is littered with horrifying examples of the most unutterably vile behaviours being justified on the basis that those doing it were carrying out what they believed to be God's will. Four hundred years of torture and burnings during the Inquisition carried out by devout Catholics, executions of supposed witches in Europe and America by devout Puritans, not to mention the relentless slaughter of millions in so many wars over the centuries, have all been justified by a belief that God had either told the perpetrators to do such things or that God was on their side. We certainly should never forget that the mass murder in New York on 11th September, 2001 was enacted by those who believed they were carrying out the will of Allah. If the author of this book was a recognised religious leader one might not be entirely surprised by the line of argument. What is mind boggling is that this not only comes from a qualified psychiatrist, but that he was actually encouraging people to believe such things in his professional practice according to his own accounts in the book. How the regulatory professional bodies in America allowed this to go on in the name of psychiatry is beyond comprehension. Just as boggling is Peck's admission towards the end of the book that he has read very little of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and that he does not understand much of the New Testament either. As a Harvard graduate himself, one has to ask where all his Christian theology comes from if not from the Bible. In the last few chapters he makes claims about what he thinks God is like that really do cause one to wonder about his theological sanity. For instance, he thinks that God can be "sexy", and that God does controlled experiments on us to see what works, and what doesn't, because God learns through experience, just as humans do. He claims this solves the eternal theological problem that a totally omnipotent God must, if He is totally omnipotent, have always been allowing the appalling suffering, evil and destruction that human history has been littered with. Peck believes that God doesn't "allow" evil or suffering, it is merely the outcomes of some of his controlled experiments producing unexpected results from time to time. Peck fails to address the obvious contradiction: either God is omnipotent and has total control, and therefore responsibility, for what happens in the world or He doesn't. He claims that his wife, and subsequently God, helped him over the years to become more and more aware of his strong narcissism and yet it is hard to imagine how the contents of this lengthy book could be more narcissistic, given the relentless references to his personal "spiritual" experiences and the references on virtually every page to all the other books he has written, including novels. He is very keen in all of these references to explain how each of his books provided the world with a valuable new insight into the human condition. According to Wikipedia his books have sold in their millions worldwide. One has to wonder what the consequences are for those who read Peck's books without critically reflecting on the claims he makes, particularly the most disturbing claims. It is difficult not to conclude that this book would be as likely to boggle the mind of a devout Christian as it would to boggle the mind of anybody with professional training in psychology or psychiatry, or indeed any other member of the public. Whether you are religious or not, if you enjoy having your perceptions and credulity shaken to the core, and you enjoy having to put a book down from time to time in sheer disbelief, then this is a book not to be missed.
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on 24 April 2010
WOW - Mind Opening - Permission to be yourself at last.
This is the first time I have ever read anything by M.Scott Peck. Initially I wondered if I would be able to read this book. The beginning of chapter one and I was still wondering but by the end of the chapter I was hooked. What a book. Ever page I turned seemed to give me permission to live. All be it different to societies definition of normal. I found this book so therapeutic. I am however left wondering why he refers to God as a `She', and why his definitions of diabolic and symbolic are so different from those in the dictionary. Or have I missed something?
Maybe if more people were to learn psychology in schools then we would have a more understanding and tolerant world. Maybe it should be compulsory. Certainly more useful than many of the subjects we are being taught.
Mind you I am not sure I would have understood this book had I not been 51 years old. I am however grateful to have discovered it and sorry to learn of the authors death. What a loss to society.
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