Sunday, March 28, 2010

WOW, A Handbook for Living, Zen Ohashi and Zono Kurazono

A Handbook for Living....

Normally I don't use this blog to review self-help books, but I found this book especially unique and useful.  Not your typical "how to live better" guide.

The format is the first unique element.  It's not written out in lengthy or wordy chapters, filled with anecdotal stories.  Instead, the pages have alot of white space, with quotes, simple suggestions, and questions to reflect upon. Rather than telling you, the reader, what to do, it creates a process in which you find your own solutions.  Meditation is key, and each section gives you points to ponder and apply.

For example, when trying to solve a problem, one question is "What state of conditions do you want to create?"  This way the suggestions and solutions are applicable to just about any circumstance.  Interesting graphics, all in black and white, accent the ideas.  Again, to use this book you will not be sitting down to read chapter after chapter.  Ideally, you would use one section, consider the questions, then put it down and meditate on what course applies to you.  Then it suggests you write down ideas to cement them in your mind. 

A few caveats: some of the suggestions and questions seem oversimplified at first, but really aren't to be dismissed.  Many pages have sections to add your own notes and comments.  Another thing I noticed was that many of the suggestions required the assistance of a friend or confidante in achieving.  That may work for someone with a good support system, but I couldn't help but think there are some things that we may not want to divulge.  After all, many of our stressors are deeply personal.

I think this would be helpful to anyone, from a parent to a businessperson, as the thoughts are open ended and the solutions are not keyed towards any one answer.  An especially good idea in it was to be a better listener, and listen to what others say, but even more to listen to what they don't say.  Their silence can be revealing.  It's unlikely that the ideas in this book will ever be out of date, because the simplicity of the text and ideas is universal.

Thanks to Rebecca at The Cadence Group for providing this ARC edition.


  1. Sounds like fun! Thanks for sharing!

    Bill ;-)

    billsmith2003 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Hope you'll check out my book giveaway:

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