The Middle Way: Finding Happiness in a World of Extremes

Lou Marinoff, Author
Lou Marinoff, Author . Sterling $24.95 (626p) ISBN 978-1-4027-4344-3
Reviewed on: 08/20/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Paperback - 731 pages - 978-84-666-2810-5
Ebook - 640 pages - 978-1-4549-0440-3
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Buddha preached the “Middle Way,” advising individuals to avoid the extremes of behavior and thought: if one engages with tolerance and moderation, one will find enlightenment. Marinoff, a “philosophical counselor” and Buddhist practitioner, teaches that the “ABCs” of Aristotle, Buddha and Confucius can pave the way not just to happiness but to finding balance in an increasingly globalized world. The book starts strong, with five chapters relating these ABCs to the individual. But the second part, which extends the conceit to dealing with drugs, poverty, terrorism and other global problems, is less successful. Marinoff's inclination toward rant over reason may polarize readers rather than driving them toward the prescribed balance and thoughtfulness. For example, he writes, “Whenever some inane American billboard or subway advertisement asks me, 'Is your child on drugs?' I sometimes think, 'I sure as hell hope so.' Good drugs may be his best chance of getting off all the bad drugs... the Ritalin... the televangelism... and the Starbucks coffee.” Though Marinoff says, “I too have finally been driven to an extreme—the extreme center. It's peaceful here, and quiet,” his book is anything but quiet. Readers may wish for more solutions, indeed more of the Middle Way. (Oct.)

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