Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Reviews on a Music Blog

Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better LifeResilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The question is not whether you have a philosophy. Everyone has a philosophy. ... The question is, are you aware of the philosophy you have – the assumptions, beliefs, and ideas that drive your actions? Are you aware of the way those assumptions, beliefs, and ideas add up to shape your life? Can they stand exposure to the light of day?"

A book about philosophy and worldview written by a former Navy SEAL? Yep, this one is right up my alley.

The good news is that this book delivers. In everything from its structure (letters exchanged between the author and another former SEAL friend of his), to the topical ground it covers, to its accessibility, this book provokes thought, challenges, and inspires without the usual hand-holding that usually seems to accompany most contemporary books written about worldview and purpose (RE: 'self-help').

This is not a self-help book. This is not a book interested in communicating to each of us just how special of a snowflake we all are. This book does its level best to convey the wisdom of the centuries in light of the reality of how the world works and how difficult life is. Greitens is interested in the time-tested, the ancient, and the bonafide, not in the flavor of the month or the flash in the pan.

As I so often like to say, stop trying to reinvent the wheel - give me the old stuff.

There are some things here I disagree with. For instance, I like much of Stoic philosophy (of which Greitens seems to be a big fan), but I find it incomplete. That's ok. It's good to think through why you disagree with something - especially when you're reading a philosophical work. This is the one and only reason for my lack of a perfect 5-star review. Not quite everything in this book can be completely imbibed, but maybe that's good, after all.

Nevertheless, despite my lack of complete, 100% endorsement of every point and conclusion reached in this book, I can't imagine anyone to whom I wouldn't recommend it. We are all going to go through seasons of life in which we will find this kind of wisdom and philosophy invaluable. Getting our minds right on why we think what we think in the midst of the chaos and noise of modern life is an important venture for everyone.

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

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