Colin Smith asked me to read his book "Negative Thinking: How To Transform Negative Thoughts And Self Talk Into Positive Thinking". I decided previously to branch out a little into non-fiction so I took him up on it. The nutshell of this book is the importance of balanced optimism and provides a couple methods of developing such an attitude. Since this is non-fiction, I can't use my normal reviewing structure but I will still assign a grade at the end.
As I was reading this book, I thought the term "Secular Zen" was appropriate. There's a lot of stuff about creating a peaceful state of mind and controlling one's perception of the world and the stuff that happens. Mr. Smith even shares a Buddhist maxim, "You become what you resist", suggesting tranquility in the face of problems. This is in the chapter called, "The Power of Accepting Reality".
About a week or so ago, I read a book similar to this one that was written by a Buddhist monk. It covered much of the same ground (peaceful mind, optimism, gratitude for simple things, daily practices for developing these traits etc.) but at times I got the feeling that the author forgot that his audience wasn't clergy or Buddhist, and so they don't have time to meditate five times a day (and then again at night). This book, in contrast, is written for busy lay people. It is short, quick and provides a couple pointers in the right direction.
It's not a high energy, super ambitious, go-getter thing. It's a low energy, peaceful and content thing. The logic goes that if you have a clear and positive mind, then you will be better able to achieve what you want to achieve, and be content with what you ultimately gain.
Overall, I'm satisfied with this book, but there are a couple snags.
At times, Mr.Smith will use weasel words like "studies show" without mentioning which studies. As an English major, this sort of thing bothers me, but on the other hand, it was for simple stuff that could be called common knowledge. Citing it would be like saying "studies show that dirt turns to mud in the rain". It would be silly.
Also, Mr.Smith leans heavily on Zivorad Slavinski's "Return to Oneness". Other than the Buddha, this is the only person that he references and quotes. It happens so often that Mr. Smith's book sounds like it's, in part, a commentary on Slavinski's. The citations are flawless and there's plenty of original thought here so it's a minor thing.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Negative Thinking: How To Transform Negative Thoughts And Self Talk Into Positive Thinking" a B+
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