Customer Reviews


21 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Training the Mind for Kindness
Choosing the three mind training steps of the Eightfold Path as the focus for her book, meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein mixes The Buddha's advice with her personal experiences to explain how to restore the mind to balance after disruptive events start a story that spirals us into a state of dissatisfaction with life or others. Consistent with Boorstein's view that the...
Published on March 13, 2008 by Dennis DeWilde

versus
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yin & Yang!
I actually already had this book and I've found it to be life-saving, enlightening and extremely helpful to me! I refer to it on a regular basis, when I'm feeling stuck and am in need of an encouraging and truthful perspective. I ordered the audio version, so that I would be able to listen to it when I'm driving. This is purely my personal perception, but I found...
Published on March 22, 2009 by Norma Plume


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Training the Mind for Kindness, March 13, 2008
This review is from: Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life (Hardcover)
Choosing the three mind training steps of the Eightfold Path as the focus for her book, meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein mixes The Buddha's advice with her personal experiences to explain how to restore the mind to balance after disruptive events start a story that spirals us into a state of dissatisfaction with life or others. Consistent with Boorstein's view that the responses of a balanced mind are friendliness, compassion, appreciation; she offers a simple test for this state of unbalance or confusion, "In this moment, am I able to care?" And, for her it is this ability to restore the mind to kindness that is happiness.

As do most meditative teachers, Boorstein advises that suffering results from struggling with what is beyond our control. What is past is past; let it go, "that's life." Relief comes when: The mind says, "I want something different, but this is what I have." And, when: We restore our ability to rejoice with other people. If I understand her, this is a form of wisdom that we all possess - the steps she offers are a path to finding it after the moment of unbalance.

The first of these mind training's three steps is Wise Effort, the moment-to-moment discrimination practice meant to direct the attention in its choice of focus - this is the awareness "wake-up call". Step two, Wise Mindfulness is described as then taking the "I" out of the situation, or it is that moment of seeing the situation within a larger context - rather than seeing it within our emotional frame. The last, step three, is Wise Concentration - it is composure as an antidote to the energies of; desire, anger, fatigue, worry, and doubt - the `how to' is a meditative act.

While I enjoyed reading the book, which gave me the feeling of having a wise master speak with me, I must confess it was a bit difficult to process the wisdom being given. While her stories helped me understand how the practice works, they did little to help me really distinguish the steps for daily applications. But, as I write this, I am still thinking about what she said, and maybe that is the point.

Dennis DeWilde, author of "The Performance Connection"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Striking the Right Balance, March 16, 2008
By 
This review is from: Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life (Hardcover)
Dr. Boorstein books and essays are like a franchise. You know what to expect before you even open the cover. However, like individual franchise locations, some are better than others. Her current book should win the franchise of the month award.

Dr. Boornstein strikes just the right balance between conveying several fundamental Buddhist principles from original or near sources, then describes them very well in her own words. Finally she illustrates them with her trademark story telling drawn from her day to day experiences - which are really no different from our own.

She also reminds us, in what I feel is a culturally Jewish framework, that an awakened life includes profound sorry. Shut that off and you have become numb not happy.

I would recommend this book for those just wading into the water of Buddhist thought and practice, as well as for those who want to take a break from rigorous Buddhist study and concentrated meditation to immerse themselves in the cool spring water of everyday experience reflected on so gently by Dr. Boornstein.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not another inane self help book, October 25, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is awesome! I wish they had found a better title for it because, "Happiness Is An Inside Job" sounds like just another inane self help book, which this is certainly NOT. My copy is so highlighted that the pages are wrinkly. Sylvia has a gift for communicating calmness and inspiring the willingness to walk through difficult times, rather than fighting, avoiding or trying to fix them. Words can't describe how much this book has helped me deal with my Dad's Alzheimer's and his slow disintegration into a vegetative state and ultimately death. Thank you, Sylvia, and for heaven's sake, keep on writing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yin & Yang!, March 22, 2009
By 
I actually already had this book and I've found it to be life-saving, enlightening and extremely helpful to me! I refer to it on a regular basis, when I'm feeling stuck and am in need of an encouraging and truthful perspective. I ordered the audio version, so that I would be able to listen to it when I'm driving. This is purely my personal perception, but I found myself annoyed with the narrator's reading style early on and have not listened to it since. :( HOWEVER, I HIGHLY recommend this book ... and not everyone will have the reaction that I had to this particular reader.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Both Committed Buddhists and Non-Buddhists, January 19, 2009
In this book Ms. Boorstein explores the three meditative steps on the Buddha's Eightfold Path - wise effort, wise mindfulness, and wise concentration. She begins this book with a story of being interrupted from her writing one day by a phone call from a friend, who has just learned her brother's cancer has worsened. After comforting her friend, she returns to work and discovers she has forgotten an idea she had, and notes the momentary annoyed reaction that arises in her mind towards her friend's brother. In response, she stops working, lights a candle, and thinks about her friend's brother, until she has restored her own caring connection to him, and everyone in her life.

This story introduces Ms. Boorstein's thesis and reason for writing the book. Often Buddhist practice is expressed in terms of finding some kind of permanent clarity, of reaching a state in which the mind is no longer confused or deluded, whether that is called enlightenment, nirvana, or something else. But, as she tells us in her introduction, that is not the way it has been for her, in over thirty years of practice, and I expect, most people. So this book is "not about avoiding confusion, because we can't - but about becoming unconfused and restoring [caring] connection, because [that] really is the best way to live."

To do this, she explores caring connection through the lens of Buddhist psychology and practice, within a variety of life-situations that anyone can relate to. For example, she explores the four Buddhist Brahma-Viharas of metta (friendliness), karuna (compassion), mudita (empathic joy), and upekka (equanimity) through three different experiences traveling on an airplane. She explores wisdom through an encounter she has with a store clerk, who has charged her much more than she expected for a mattress. Every chapter section includes a story that illustrates Buddhist practice in action in this way.

What is unique in her approach is the emphasis on metta, or lovingkindness, practice as intimately connected to mindfulness. As Ms. Boorstein notes, often metta and mindfulness are introduced as two separate practices, different in both "technique and goal." Her point is that these two are integral to each other - that when we restore caring connection, we return to mindfulness, and this is the essence of Buddha's path out of suffering. As she puts it, "restoring caring connection when it is disrupted, and maintaining it when it is present, is happiness. Not even, leads to happiness. Equals happiness."

Overall, this is an engaging book for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, that want to really bring the idea of metta into their daily lives.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content, annoying narrator, December 7, 2010
I agree with a previous reviewer that the narrator is annoying and does not at all do justice to the content. Anyone who has heard Sylvia Boorstein speak knows that her voice is unique. If you want to read the book, I recommend a print copy. If you want to hear Sylvia, this is a poor substitute.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happiness seekers: apply within, August 2, 2012
By 
Deb (Palo Alto, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life (Hardcover)
Buddhism for the rest of us. That's how I'd describe this little gem. The author does an impressive job in presenting an overview of Buddhist principles, and then making salient some of the core nuggets. In particular, she conveys how the trio of effort, concentration, and mindfulness can be used to help us move from internal confusion and struggle to inner wisdom and happiness. With clear and concise explanations of otherwise hefty concepts--and personal experiences to bring it all home--she shows how happiness really is an inside job.

The gist of the book is that:
"The mind tends to clarify itself, just as the physical body tends to health, and that effort and mindfulness and concentration--all inherent qualities of consciousness--can be cultivated to the point of being self-activating when the mind is confused by challenge...The unconfused mind tends naturally to benevolence and being able to feel warmly and compassionately connected to oneself, to others, and to life itself is the antidote to suffering and the cause of happiness." (p. 159)

And, unconfusing the mind is the essential performance goal for the inside job of happiness. Throughout the book, the author offers some simple, yet profound, insights for getting this job done. Here are some of my favorites:

*** "Suffering arises with the imperative in the mind to have things be different from what they are." (p. 138)
*** "The moment in which the mind acknowledges `This isn't what I wanted, but it's what I got' is the point at which suffering disappears.'" (p. 29)
*** "And here is the eternal wisdom: There are always challenges. You plan for one thing, and something else often happens. The long view--is this a desirable thing or an undesirable thing?--is rarely immediately apparent. Immediate emotional responses are just that. Noticing them, and reflecting is always a good idea. And the cause of suffering--always--is struggling with challenge rather than responding with sound judgment and kindness." (p. 115)
*** "Change and loss and sadness and grief are the shared lot of all human beings, and we are all making our way from one end of life to the other hoping--for whatever intervals of time we can manage it--to feel safe and content and strong and at ease." (p. 40)
***"You never really know what the next minute is going to bring, so living fully in this moment is the only constantly reappearing option for happiness." (p. 65)
*** "Tense minds think in terms of `always' and `never' as a quick summary option. Minds with equanimity in them think, `This' and `Also, this.' (p. 68)
*** "Restoring caring connection when it is disrupted, and maintaining it when it is present, is happiness." (p. 97)
*** "Just take one breath and another and another, with as much attention in every way as you can. The confusion will sort itself out. Inclined in the right direction, the mind takes care of itself." (p. 155)

Happiness really is an inside job. Apply within.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great points, but tricky to navigate at times, July 9, 2012
It's easy to like Sylvia Boorstein. She's positive, compassionate, and encourages you to be likewise. She tells stories and describes various Buddhist processes for cultivating happiness in your life.

The only caveat: this book is a clunky read. Boorstein frequently breaks up her sentences with side notes that are tricky to follow. Also, and this may just be a testament to my knowledge, I had to keep a dictionary on hand to navigate some of her more obscure word choices. I felt motivated by her ideas and her refreshing lack of commercialism. If not for that, I would not have finished the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very engaging, August 8, 2009
This is the first Sylvia Boorstein book I've read, and I'll definitely be reading her others, as well. Her writing style is a dynamic mix of presenting information (especially about Buddhism, lovingkindness, mindfulness and meditation), sharing stories and anecdotes of all types to make her points, and revealing personal vulnerability. About herself and her own path, she states: "I continue to suffer, stumbling around in stories of discontent...then my own good heart, out of compassion, takes care of me." Very engaging and generous writing--highly recommended. Mary Lee Moser, author, There and Back: A Journal Companion for Special Needs Parents
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, May 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Beautiful, clear, penetrates the heart and uplifts the spirit. My daughter recently died. Happiness seems an impossible dream. Sylvia's words sustain a peaceful hope beneath the sorrow.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life by Sylvia Boorstein (Hardcover - December 4, 2007)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.