Author: Seth David Chernoff
It hasn’t been a good month for great book reads here at the Manor! Connection says nothing that hasn’t been said before in 5 million other self help manuals. It reminds me of wham bam – Dr. Phil advice. Write a sentence, listen carefully, and all of your negative feelings, anger, rage, emotional intolerance, bigotry and deep childhood issues will disappear down the rabbit hole with Alice (who had a few schizophrenic tendencies of her own)! Become one with the universe! Sorry, Mr. Chernoff, it just ain’t that simple. I will own that many of the thoughts and beliefs expounded in the book are useful and wise; and I enjoyed reading much of the text, and while I felt good reading it, I also know that manuals on life generally deflect the hard work that healing and recovery requires. So I have a problem with books wherein people who have had cancer (I have had cancer twice – I got into therapy fast and remained there for 18 years) feel that they are experts on life due to articulate prose and paradigms that are sensible, but look better on paper and really induce NO change in anyone, including the author. I find these authors self indulgent and self fulfilled.
I found “How to Live Your Life and Be In Harmony With the Universe” rather insane. We are humans and as such, we have lots of flaws, issues, and there is NO instant fix – EVER! If I have to hear “Live in the Moment” one more time, I will begin projective vomiting!
I believe books that tell these things and make money off of the telling are just that – books. They are not wisdom, they are not practical, and they are Instant Sell and say nothing. To seek true behavioral change takes the help of therapists, years of work, behavior modification training, and mounds of patience, diligence and courage. It offends me to find books, or public speakers who scream “Change Now!” and then call in their royalties! No way, man! It’s an illusion, and not a very good one.
I am therefore truly offended when books come out that spit out the spiritual euphemisms – “we must listen to our inner voice” (we all know this!) – or we “must avoid negative energy.” Tell that to a mom driving to the store for the umpteenth time that’s had no sleep in days and who cringes when her little one poops in the car seat and wants to choke him! She doesn’t of course, but let’s face it, she’s only human! Let’s get real, people, life is tough. We need professional help sometimes, and books don’t take me there. I agree, I like these thoughts of wisdom and say them to myself all the time and then, oops, I scream out some not nice word when the neighbor parks in my parking space. Sometimes, self help books reveal the niceties of life, and we feel inferior just being human. So, I say, get off your you know whats and DO SOMETHING, don’t just read something. That said, I loved “The Shack” and found it remarkably spiritual.
The Shack does not pander with sayings and advice. It reveals true spirituality and is touching and holding.
I won’t stay on my podium here. I will just reveal some of the sayings in Connection:
“Through hardship came strength, and as a result of pain, I found joy. Through suffering came gratitude, and by letting go, I found my path and purpose in life.”
Good for you Mr. Chernoff, but that doesn’t help me get over my issues!
“Don’t expect that someone else will step in to fulfill the purpose you neglect, the path you disregard. Life is far too short, and your life is far too important.”
Wow, one month into therapy and I was told there was no Prince Charming! Go figure!
“Find true happiness on your path, and achieve everything you believe is possible”.
This sounds like a Beatles lyric!
Do we ever really get to know another person?
That one is deep.
If you want a good book of affirmations, check out Louse Hay. Like Melody Beattie of Codependents No More, we could all use some advice. However, reading and doing are totally different arenas. If you really want happiness, go out and DO SOMETHING about it. Seek it. Get a therapist, or someone trained in teaching you how to be happier (happy is NOT something that is a continual, or even “often” state, and it’s overrated – give me struggle and growth every time). We want instant gratification, instant no pain healing, instant no pain relationships – not gonna happen from a book! So here’s the deal. Read this if you will, follow it if you will, but don’t ask this reviewer to do the same. Life is complex. I found this book superficial and shallow, although well organized and full of interesting concepts.
Manual For Living: CONNECTION, A User’s Guide to the Meaning of Life is available for pre-order at Amazon.com
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own.