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A life-changing book?...Maybe, maybe not
on March 6, 2008
Back in 2000 I read Tolle's "The Power of Now" (TPON), and thought so highly of it that I included it in the "Must Read" list at the end of my own book. As such, I figured "A New Earth" just might be as valuable to me as TPON was at that time.
I read this book over a weekend and my first impression was that it was a solid effort, and that it was essentially a hybrid of TPON, with the primary difference being that it's written in a prose as opposed to a Q&A format. The fact that it's similar to TPON isn't necessarily a negative, for that book had some very valuable content in it that's clearly worth hearing again.
Is it a life changing work? Well, the truth is it all depends on YOU. If you're considering buying it because Oprah recommends it, but you haven't read a single book in the spiritual growth/personal growth category in the past, then my sense is that you might become a bit frustrated with its esoteric nature. A better choice as a first book might be "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz, as he likewise addresses the power of the mind to overtake us if we don't learn to cultivate the ability to step back from its ramblings. A book I read recently that would also be a wonderful first title to read in the category is called "The Belief Formula" by Pete Koerner, as it talks in detail about thoughts and provides practical ways to get more in control of them. This book would be of particular benefit to anyone who would like a bridge from traditional religious training to the more mystical teachings of authors like Eckhart Tolle.
If, on the other hand, you are a person who has read a few to several books in this category, then "A New Earth" is another quality title to read as you continue to walk your path of self-discovery. If you've already read TPON by Tolle, as noted above you'll notice some obvious similarity between the two books, but this book does have some new content that is certainly worth reading.
One thing I didn't like is that the book's subheading, (i.e., Awakening to Your Life's Purpose) suggests that this topic is a major point of discussion throughout the book, but actually it's not. The whole idea of "life purpose" isn't addressed in any significant way until chapter nine of a 10 chapter book. And, when it is talked about, it's not by any means a primer on how to identify your purpose in this life from a worldly point of view (what you are to do while you are here). Note that Tolle's discussion about purpose is on a much deeper, mystical level.
As a final point, before buying this book I took the time to read a broad cross-section of reviews about it on Amazon.com (from 1 star to 5 stars). One thing I did find troubling in some of the negative reviews was the Oprah bashing that some chose to do. People who think that her sole motivation for getting behind this book so aggressively was to create yet another financial windfall, or to establish some sort of new religion are, in my view, sorely mistaken. Anyone can see that she really does care about the world, and is committed to doing something to raise global consciousness. What's so wrong with that? If you don't like what she's doing then don't buy the book.