The Deal: A Guide to Radical and Complete Forgiveness

Richard Smoley. Tarcher, $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-399-17213-7
Taking a brief detour from his usual writing on esoteric spiritual topics, Smoley (Inner Christianity) offers a more psychological perspective in this short, superficial look at the power of forgiveness. Smoley’s proposed key to happiness is succinct enough that he explains the whole concept in his second chapter. This is the Deal: a nine-step process for forgiving all others and accepting forgiveness for yourself, which Smoley says will change you for the better. Instead of offering contemporary examples of ordinary people who have been helped by this exercise, or significant evidence that this sort of cognitive restructuring has proven effects, though, Smoley offers notes about karma, A Course in Miracles, and fairly mundane acts that are not difficult to forgive: examples include a broken pair of glasses and neighbors who play loud music. He saves more convincing historical examples, including Christ and Lincoln, for the second half of the book, where he also entertains questions in an engaging q&a format. Always provocative, Smoley asks important questions but offers an inadequate foundation for his answers. Agent: Laurie Fox, Linda Chester Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 01/08/2015
Genre: Religion
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