Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting for Jack – Kristen Moeller

©2010 Morgan James Publishing, Garden City, New York

This little book (subtitled Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie: How to Stop Waiting & start Living Your Life) is almost a paradox. The author, now a life coach and radio personality, draws on her experience that sometimes immersed her in the self-help aisles of local bookstores, seems to want to help others out of that cycle of looking for the next-best self-help scheme. In so doing, she’s created her own self-help book.

The book is very readable—slow readers like me could finish it in a couple of days, and has lots of usable ideas and memorable life examples in it. Through the pages, a reader can find much to relate with the writer about. Some of the darker moments of her life helped to shape who she was, and so it seems to be with all of us. And she still seems to be on the journey (which is the point of her book in the first place).

Another great aspect of the book is the publisher—Morgan James who donates 1% of book proceeds to Habitat for Humanity (a worthy cause). And the basic idea is to stop waiting for others and start living your life.

Initially, I thought I would like the book for the above reasons, but as I read more and more of the pages, I became more and more disconcerted. On final assessment, the author produces less of a self-help book and more of a philosophical treatise. The divisions of the book—Body, Mind, Spirit—could be the first clue. My greatest difficulty with the book is the conclusions hashed out in the final chapters.

While not attempting to espouse any religion (religion: bad; spirituality: good), she entrenches herself deeply in Buddhist teachings. Her main piece of advice—Let go. It sounds good, but proclaims a truth that is diametrically opposed to the Truth. (But you didn’t log on to hear a sermon.) I can stand with her in some of her arguments against judging and letting oneself be ruled by fear, but have to take issue with her conclusion that hope is a bad thing. Perhaps it isn’t that she thinks hope is bad, but that her definition of hope is less than what hope really is (when she discusses hope, she does like many Americans and equates it with wishes).

I see the book as a good step in her journey, but can’t recommend her conclusions nor advise you to take her advice wholeheartedly. (one/half reading glasses)

Benjamin Potter, July 28, 2010

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