This is a wonderfully subversive book written by a man who many would view as a model of achievement in our society. I'm surprised there isn't a special Guantanamo Bay style camp for writers who quietly and unobtrusively plot the downfall of the established order. Make no mistake, if everyone followed his suggestions our society would be utterly transformed and the game would be up for the souless, manipulators that run this world.
He simply suggests that we step back, examine our lives and stop being a cog in the machine. Stop putting our faith in others (even self-help gurus!) and become the person we were destined to become. Sounds easy in theory but in practice it requires us to address the brainwashing that we've all received from our parents, our tribe and our culture. In a memorable passage he points out that we either live life reflexively or reflectively and if you don't learn to reflect you'll always be dancing to someone else's tune.
But don't expect him to tell you how to go about all of this. This is a true self-help book that demands that you help yourself. It poses the questions but refuses to provide neat one-size fits all answers. Essentially it's a book for middle-aged people who've hit the buffers and feel their life has become devoid of meaning. His message for the young is go out and conquer the world because your personality can only be forged in the fires of living. The time to read Hollis will come when those fires no longer warm you but begin to consume you.