reviews

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    Book Reviews Paid Member

    The SoloistMark SalzmanRandom House: New York, 1994.284 pp. $19.00 (cloth). Amy Hollowell This could have been a helluva book, a marvel, a veritable gem glistening in the dull, plastic body of contemporary American fiction. Or could it? Gould a novel that mixes so many genres—thriller, courtroom drama, love story, spiritual awakening—do justice to any of them, much less to the artful telling of a tale? And could any of the subjects in which the author dabbles here—Zen, classical music, Asian culture, immigrants in America, the U.S. legal system—be given much more than a monochromatic rendering? More »
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    Books in Brief Summer 2013 Paid Member

    Known as the Zen Master in basketball circles, Phil Jackson parlayed his unorthodox coaching methods inspired by Eastern philosophy into a record-breaking 11 NBA championship titles (6 with the Chicago Bulls; 5 with the LA Lakers), plus 2 more he won as a forward for the NY Knicks. Now retired, Jackson takes an all-encompassing look at his 19-year coaching career in Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success (Penguin Press, May 2013, $27.95, paper, 368 pp.). With its play-by-plays of games and locker-room talks on selflessness, mindfulness, and the Noble Eightfold Path, this is the sort of beach read that Buddhist sports fans will devour. More »
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    Cheerleading for Capitalism (and Consciousness Too!) Paid Member

    Conscious Capitalism By John Mackey and Raj Sisodia Harvard Business Review Press, 2013 368 pp.; $27 cloth I don’t think Max Weber could have predicted the appearance of Conscious Capitalism. Weber was busy working to demystify capitalism and the origins of our current ideology of work when he wrote The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905). What horrified Weber most about the cultural forms that capitalism produced were the dehumanizing results that came along with the benefits of efficiency, division of labor, innovation, enterprise, and technology. More »
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    Meditation in the Modern World Paid Member

    buddhify The buddhify app takes the usual formula of meditating while sitting still, with minimal distractions, and flips it on its head. Instead of practice with no distractions, the focus of buddhify is meditation on the go. The app includes several contexts you can choose from, whether commuting, walking, or working out at the gym, and then serves up a selection of bit-sized guided audio practices tailored to those particular environments. This app is great for urban dwellers and for folks who are newer to meditation, or for those who would like to experiment with meditating in new environments. I also hear that kids love it—which probably has something to do with its funky orange design. buddhify.com Available for iPhone and Android More »
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    Over the Wall Paid Member

    In case you haven’t noticed, the English-language Buddhist mediasphere has become vast. It encompasses countless books in various genres, magazines for practitioners, blogs and websites, various forms of social media, academic journals, podcasts, films and television programs, and more. It isn’t possible to stay abreast of all these sources, and so of course choices have to be made. Often people select sources based on their particular orientations toward Buddhism: Perhaps the reader is a casual practitioner interested in meditation for better health and well-being, or a full-time monk training in a traditional lineage, or a professor of Buddhist studies trying to teach iPhone-addicted undergraduates about emptiness and dependent co-origination. The result, naturally enough, is that communities of conversation form around different concerns and approaches, which are stimulating but also limiting. More »
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    So the Darkness Shall Be the Light Paid Member

    The thing that most made my internship at a preeminent Harvard community hospital seem like a descent into what Buddhists call the hungry ghost realm was coming face to face with the limits in our modern medical approach to the natural process of aging and dying. A disturbing experience with a dying patient one night when I was on call left an indelible impression that will forever remind me of those limits. More »