on March 16, 2011
I enjoyed a lot of this book. Many of the stories are truly fascinating and helped kick-start my own thought process about certain things. An 'epiphany' also seems to mean different things to different people profiled in this book. It could have just as easily been called 'Inspiration' as many people tell their stories without any "aha" moment that most think of when they think of epiphanies. I was a little disappointed with that. But my biggest disappointment was the too big of a share the book focused on stars, famous people, celebrities, whatever. A book like this would have been just as good (better in my opinion) had it just been inspiring stories began with epiphanies from just plain regular folks. We live in such a state of celebrity-worship now that it seems sometimes like books such as these have to throw in all the celebrities to validate the book. Because, we all know it just doesn't happen unless it happens to celebrities and is chronicled by People magazine. That's my biggest gripe. With that said, as I said at the beginning of my review, much of this book was enjoyable and many of the stories were truly inspiring as they did grow out of true epiphanies and that 'aha' moment when we awaken to a new way of looking at things, doing things, etc. It wasn't a bad book by any stretch - it just could have been better with the focus back on Peoria as opposed to the glossy magazine lives of the stars.
on July 6, 2013
I loved the premise of this book. The author made it her project to interview several subjects on moments of epiphany in their lives, when puzzle pieces seemed to slot into place and all became clearer. They are grouped into categories such as "callings", "new directions" and "miracles".
It wasn't the sort of book where submissions were called for. Elise Ballard hand-picked all the interviewees herself, and they are all high achievers in their chosen fields and have a lot of business acumen. Many are famous. A glance at the "About the Author" blurb reveals that Ballard is just such a person herself, an actress and independent filmmaker and producer. She writes how she connected with each subject as segues into their stories, and I couldn't shake the feeling that she lives insulated in her own world of VIPs, far removed from interests and habits of the common people. I wondered if this may have skewed the book somewhat, as there might have been valuable input lacking from the more unsung-hero type of plodder who many of us may find it easier to relate to, or even the thoughtful 'arty' type of person without get-up-and-go or connections, who has plenty of insightful thoughts but wouldn't have a clue how to put a business plan together or thrust themselves into the limelight. Because of this, the book may have lacked a little balance.
However, it did contain a variety of interesting stories from the subjects. It would appear we really do have our own paths to walk which are different from those of others. Diane Warren spoke about her passion for song-writing as part of her epiphany, while Nell Newman (daughter of Paul) discussed her equally great passion for conservation and whole foods.
Oh yeah, there's one other thing. I think reading this book did help me feel more in-tune with inner promptings and able to recognise ephiphanies. It actually helped me realise that I have a lot. We may be brought up tending to think that if they're not burning bush or Damascus Road experiences, then they don't fit the bill. In actual fact, they may be zooming through our thoughts all the time, subtle enough to slip away without us even registering them if we're not careful.
on January 4, 2011
This book offers something for nearly everyone. Ballard compiles epiphanies that range through all spheres of life and across all sectors of society. There are a number of famous people, especially those in the entertainment industry, which Ballard chose not because she's starstruck but because that's the world she knows. She's a film-maker based in Los Angeles. The industry people whose life-changing epiphanies she chronicles are interesting, but I was more struck by the heart-wrenching tales of people who faced life-threatening illness, disfiguring disease, the death of a child, or the collapse of lifelong dreams...and who were suddenly gifted with the insight to SEE A WAY OUT of their troubles, or find a more creative way to endure them. For me, "epiphany" will always have a religious connotation--the infant Christ and the Magi--and that sense of the word is not scanted here. A number of the people whose stories Ballard gathers had conversion experiences, or deepened their childhood faith. Others found more earthly answers to the conundra that had stumped them. Still others found the grace to forgive--such as the family who forgave the South African mob that lynched their daughter (herself a civil rights worker).
But my favorite story in the whole is that of the professional con artist who had made living robbing appliance stores and hustling other victims--whose epiphany led him to Evangelical Christianity. He now works as a professional magician, and gives seminars to well-meaning, often naive church members on how to recognize con artists and avoid them; in other words, he tells those who are "innocent as doves" how also to be "as wise as serpents." An inspiring and always entertaining read!
An epiphany, according to Elise Ballard, is "a moment of great or sudden revelation, an illuminating discovery, realization or disclosure" - one that has a great impact upon a person's life. In EPIPHANY, a collection of personal vignettes, Ballard introduces us to the awakenings of over 55 people, many of them famous (e.g. Maya Angelou, Deepak Chopra, Ali McGraw), and most of them professionally accomplished. Personally, I found this emphasis upon the stories and credentials of so many celebrities and high achievers to be somewhat irritating, particularly because the book is about moments of internal transformations - shifts in consciousness that were turning points in the lives of the interviewees, and not necessarily the gateway to notoriety.
However, many of the stories, each introduced by Ballard and told succinctly in 3-7 pages, are quite interesting, and easy to read and understand. Ballard divides them into six primary subject areas - awakenings, new directions, healings, miracles, callings. and comings of age. These epiphanies, she points out, share four important characteristics: listening to oneself and/or one's environment, belief or trust in one's experience, motivation to action, and the attraction of serendipity or synchronistic events that further confirm that one is on the right path.
I resonated in particular with Andrea Buchanan's admonition to "Share your shame", and Kristin Niff's learnings about self-compassion. I was most deeply moved by Laurian Scott's heartrending account of losing her two young children to a degenerative nervous disease, and how she regained her will to live.
Some of the epiphanies are quite unusual (a professional magician/pickpocket is arrested and gives up a life of thievery), others truly miraculous (a bicyclist passes through a young girl rather than slams into her), others inspirational (realization of one's mission to help disadvantaged children) and still others relatively ordinary - at least in regard to discovering new interests that lead to new careers. In some cases, the subjects seemed to be referring to turning points in their lives in which they discovered a new focus or direction - rather than epiphanies
Many are realizations that changed a person's self-image, attitude, behavior, relationships or philosophy of life. Examples: Only I can define myself. My marriage is more important than my work. I need compassion for myself before I can express compassion for others. God loves me. My darkest moments turned out to be my greatest gifts.
EPIPHANY is a very enjoyable and often inspiring read. But ultimately, I remain somewhat disappointed that Ballard did not uncover through her interviews more enlightening descriptions of the epiphany experiences themselves and the precise circumstances that elicited them. I would have preferred more inclusion of spiritual awakenings, more elaboration of shifts in consciousness - a wider lens and brighter light shining upon the epiphany itself rather than upon its consequences. I would have preferred to read less about epiphanies of luminaries accustomed to the limelight and more about the epiphanies of ordinary people who awaken to their own inner light or wander into moments of unexpected illumination.
"Epiphany" consists of over fifty first-person accounts of epiphanies- those life changing "a-ha!" moments that many of us have. Each "epiphany" takes about one to three pages to describe, and most of the people who share their personal moment of epiphany are celebrated in their fields, everyone from Dr. Oz to Deepak Chopra to Maya Angelou to several scientists and researchers and celebrities.
I *love* memoirs, and I really like reading about life-changing insights, so I expected this book to be life-changing. And it *was* very interesting. However, I realized about fifthy pages in that what is defined as an epiphany for one person is not necessarily ground-breaking or inspiring for another, so there was actually very little in this book that changed my thinking, or made me want to put further thought into what was being shared. For instance, several of the doctors and scientists discussed the moment that inspired them to go into their specific field, and while some of it was very captivating, not much of it resonated deep within me.
I think one person's epiphany may just be another person's light reading. After about thirty of the epiphanies, I started feeling like I was reading a stack of magazine profiles about the beginning of people's careers. And that's fine. But I like to be challenged and I like a book to grab me and capture me and make me want to keep reading. This book felt like it was something that could be picked up from time to time for brief reading, but not something you want to set aside time to read for hours on end.
Insightful and interesting, but not very life-changing or enlightening.
A very large collection of both famous people and ordinary people that the author knows and who share their 'aha' moments. A moment when it was a turning point in their life. when you read these moments, they are ordinary events, but yet when I think a step deeper, it is also a profound learning moment for me too. Very readable collection and the author has not burden us with too much information and I felt I had many aha moments and to learn form those who have gone before us, which is an immense treasure for our own journey.
The book is broken up into various sections: awakening, new directions, healings, miracles, coming of age and callings. There are shared aha moments from Maya Angelou, Ali Macgraw, Desmond Tutu, Deepak Chopra, Barry Manilow: we are all souls experiencing the same journey and this makes us realize that our path and experiences are just as important. I love reading what is meaningful for other people as I know that there is meaning for my own journey too. Great collection.
on January 5, 2011
Epiphanies...we have all had them but how many of us actually recall them or recognize them at the time as that "a ha" moment? Elise Ballard has interviewed people, famous and next door, to find out theirs and put them together in this incredible collection. I haven't even finished the book yet and already I have laughed and cried. Anything which can pull at my heartstrings is a success. Don't miss the video interviews on the website, too: [...]
on July 5, 2016
This book promised to enlighten me and make me far more alert and interesting. It worked so well by just reading the cover that I never had to read the inside. Just think how much more clever I would be if I actually read the book.
on August 23, 2014
Good concept and well presented. Each story had a good tale to tell of individuals experiencing a life changing moment and their 'epiphany'. The set up and background of the individual as well as how the interview came about was a plus and guides the reader through the journey. Well done...I recommend and look forward to the next edition of 'epiphanies'.
This book was okay. It included some really impressive stories that are thought provoking and strike an emotional cord. These epiphanies were usually stories about people who were really making a difference in the lives of others. Prior to each narrative outlining the epiphanies, there is a brief biography about the person who is sharing their experience. The biographies were actually pretty interesting, particularly since many of the contributors in the book are likely names that you will not recognize. Since each epiphany is from a different source, there are a variety of different stories which naturally covers many different topics of varying depth. Because of this broad scope, I personally found that my interest in what was being written about was about 50/50. Fortunately, each story is short so even those that are not your cup of tea, can be skimmed through, or skipped entirely. There are some really inspirational epiphanies within this book........just don't expect each one to knock your socks off.