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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Art of Possibility

This weekend I finished the last few pages of The Art of Possibility. My one-phrase review: inspiring, but patchy. Ben Zander's narratives are, alone, worth the small time investment the book requires. But this is not, principally, a book of stories. The pejorative label for it would be "self-help book". And, as such, it's more salsa than burrito.

The book tries to present a framework of insights. It is on this framework that Zander's stories hang. And the framework, itself, is somewhat unfulfilling. Not quite a complete meal. That's not much of a criticism, though. The book isn't intended as a recipe. It's got a modest premise: a few ideas that might, if used well, be tools for the self to become more of what it wants to be, or to allow expansiveness into one's life -- expansiveness that promises a different existence than the zero-sum game so many of us are lulled into believing is the natural condition of life.

Closing the book after its last sentence, I recalled why I had picked it up in the first place. Though I can't remember who made the recommendation, I was turned on to Zander as a great speaker. Googling him, I found some great video online. Seriously inspiring. From there, links to his book, and great reviews, and I was awaiting my shipment from Amazon.

Looking back, I reckon Zander's more powerful as a speaker than as an author. Compared to his effervescent speaking style, the book lies a little flat, even though some of its stories soar. That said, some of its messsages -- some of the more challenging ones, in fact -- will stay with me. And that's not such a bad review, after all.


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