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As one would expect from Scott Peck, I found this to be a very encouraging book. Peck continues to write on suffering, and it's being the key to growth. Most people avoid suffering for their whole lives, avoid growth, avoid looking at themselves. I do that too. This book encourage me to rethink aspects of my life, and consider ways I could pursue anew a path of suffering which leads to growth.

I particularly enjoyed his treatisies on listening. I've read some of his thoughts on this before, but I needed to be reminded. About what it means to listen. About how to listen better. About how often I am thinking about what I am going to say next, and the impact I am having, and my interaction, rather than fully and completely engaging myself with the other, putting myself within the other, to bless the person I am communicating with. And so I've been trying to do that these last few days. And it's still hard work.

Much of this book is written as the final hurrah of a life of contemplation. His stories of his time with his wife are particularly beneficial, as Peck shares about what he has learned from his wife, and what they have learned together, as they have pursued a path of active growth together.

A downside though to this approach of putting in a lifetime of thoughts into a final book is that many times, it seems that Peck is simply referencing every book, quite overtly, that he's ever written. At times, it feels like he's trying to get the reader to buy more of his books. A better editor to discourage him from this approach would have been helpful.

I left this book wanting to follow Peck's suggestions. To remember that life does not conform to myself, and release any expectation that it should. To release the expectation that I can do all things for myself. I appreciated Peck's corrective from The Road Less Traveled, where he gave great support for independence. Here, Peck reminds people of a higher road of interdependence- which means a lot harder work of giving up one's "right" to do things for oneself. It's all about a process of death- for we begin dying the moment we're born. And every giving up is a form of death.
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on May 8, 2001
I enjoyed this book! I am very interested in change- why some are willing to and some resist it. Peck's views on change were insightful. I totally agree with him concerning the issue of simplistic thinking, too. I have struggled with organized religion-couldn't take the confines of it and truly knew that I could think for myself and didn't need a doctrine of an organization to guide me- I can connect directly to God. His views on the Stages of Spiritual Growth helped me. Although I had read about this topic in other books-his "way of putting it" finally helped me sort it all out. I did find he refered to his other books too frequently and it was distracting. I finally just skimmed (fast forwarded) to the parts more interesting to me. I would reccommend this book to those further along the "road less traveled".
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on February 1, 2001
Peck's attack on simplistic thinking in this book is refreshing. There are subtle hints that we are innately lazy, which coincides with Mark Twain's more light-hearted view of mankind (and my own). There are also subtle (i.e. not stated) references to the theory of Yin-Yang in this book... although he doesn't come right out and say it, a good portion of this book is about balance. I don't like the constant references to his other works, but self promotion is a minor flaw. A few passages in this book are so insightful that they should be required reading for young adults... and all of us old dogs, too!
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on July 1, 2009
Rightfully, this book has been criticized for repetitiveness. It seems like every five pages we read "As I wrote in my earlier book X ..." This is a common problem with dark-horse books that become wildly successful. Their follow-up books inadvertently follow the same pattern and ideas--all in the hopes of lighting striking twice.

This is all true, but I think we are missing the reasons why we he does this. First, learning involves repetition. We all have wrongheaded ideas that are ingrained, and it is only by constant exposure--like the steady pounding of a jackhammer--that we can dislodge this mental rubble. Second, rearrangement of the material can help. Repetition can be boring, but rearrangement can spice up the material with variety. We see new relations between the concepts, and an old idea expressed in a new way takes on a new life.

The third reason, however, is more profound. This book is not a rehash of his earlier material, but a reaffirmation of the previous principles. In effect, this book is Peck's deuteronomy, his Last Lecture and last blessing.

This book synthesizes all his other books into a seamless system. It is therefore more then repetition. It is culmination.

This, of course, raises a question--where should we begin. I recommend for most people to start with The Road Less Traveled, 25th Anniversary Edition : A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth. Even though I benefited from reading People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, for most people it is best to begin at Peck's beginning. However, after reading his blasting-cap book, it may be helpful to read this one next as an overview of Peckian thought. It is a sneak-peek at Peck's own traveled road. After that, then go trough all his other books and then reread this one as the finally assertion.
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on July 19, 1998
Initially I found the book a little slow and less exiting than "The Road Less Travelled" and this disappointed me at first. However it gets better and more confronting. I struggled to keep up my reading pace due to the implications of what the writer touched on. Its not easy to be a 'conscious thinker' as Peck puts it and this brought home the difficulties that I have experienced in my own life. Every person has their own way to avoid being true to themselves.
I think that "The Road Less Travelled" is a great book to read if you've just started on the journey to mental/spiritual health. "The Road Less Travelled and Beyond" is helpful for those who have taken up the challenge of personal growth for some time and are ready for more challenges.
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on January 5, 2013
I gave up around page 50. I couldn't take Peck's vague generalizations, pontificating, and self-promotion. The book didn't start well and didn't get any better. Peck's first line is "I am sixty years of age." From this he concludes that he needs to 'set his affairs in order' and 'tie up loose ends.' Wow. I'm his age and although I try to keep records and such up-to-date just in case I'm hit by a bus, the grim reaper does not have his hand on my shoulder.

His sense of impending doom doesn't motivate his writing. He meanders and equivocates so much that I found myself constantly asking, "Just what is your point?" Then there is the self-promotion. He can't get through more than a page without mentioning one of his other books. Additionally, I was amused by the two therapy examples I read in my 50 pages worth. Both patients came to him for a few years without progressing much--John on page 40 who saw him twice a week for four years and "went through his life savings for his sessions." Apparently, three years into therapy, Peck concludes that John is too stubborn and stupid ("reluctant") to change. Could it be that maybe Peck isn't the therapist he thinks he is?

I suspect Peck is still coasting on the reputation he gained from his first book (which I didn't read). Unfortunately, this book is pablum. Don't waste your time.
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on March 30, 2004
An irreverent look on the truth and reality that you may not "like" to hear but certainly pushes the limits of thinking more deeply... beyond the simple "easy" way seeing why we do the things we do. Challenging the reader to rise above tradition to New Schools of Thought.
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on July 16, 2004
It seems most of the reviewers missed most of Peck's points.
I've read all of Peck's books, mostly in chron order, as they were releasted.
It took great courage to write this "synopsis of my entire career." The biggest danger, of course (missed by most, it seems), is that ppl. would then read only this as a quick "cheat sheet" to all of his works -- then fail to go for the depth in each of those. No doubt Peck would, however, affirm this as a "legitimate" shortcut -- as he discourses about in the orig. TRLT.
THE POWER (w/out braggadocio -- which is likely why most readers seem to have missed this point) of Peck's continual self-referencing over HIS PAST 25 YEARS (TRLT just celebrated that anniversary as one of the most-read books this planet has ever seen; quite a feat in itself; tho, since that's only circa 10M books, it's not something our planet should be much proud of) is not: "Hey, read all the rest of my books." It's: "Hey, these TIMELESS TRUTHS I've been discussing for 25 YEARS are, indeed, STILL TRUE."
Don't miss this fact. The work holds up. Let's see if Bill Gates' software does 25 yrs. from now.
It's hugely courageous to come out AGAINST simplism, and FOR the intellect -- as it's so rare nowadays in our disgustingly 4-second-attention-span culture. It's not exactly what will endear you to life's perennial "H.S. Popularity Contest" -- that the immature masses spend their lives aspiring to.
But it's what I'd expect of a master like Peck: throw yourself on the sword of "offending the sensibilities" of the masses, as long as it's really for their own good (and not just lying that it's so), and ignoring your "relative comfort" -- and be willing to suffer for it. (Even your "fans" might be "irritated" if they misunderstand and only think "you're trying to sell more books.")
Again, more of Dr. Peck proving his own case by "walking his own talk" from the 25 yr. old TRLT.
I used to recommend other of Dr. Peck's books -- but now ALWAYS recommend this FIRST. (Apart from the other reasons I've already made apparent -- in TRLTAB continually references EVIL, something of a missing flaw in the orig. TRLT. But, of course, greatly made up for in his then quickly writing POTL.)
PRINCIPALLY B/C LIFE IS SHORT. AND THERE IS NO TIME, NOR SENSE, NOT TO SEND ALL "NEWCOMERS" TO THE TREASURE TROVE FIRST, then let them discover the depth at their leisure and own scheduling.
"LIFE IS AN EMERGENCY." -- Helen Keller
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on November 18, 2007
It's true, this book is not an "easy" read. I have been stuck at some points in the book because what he said rang so true to my life. I've had to take his ideas seriously into account and review my thinking style. Which has been quite erroneous, not due to me, but to a bad upbringing. Also, being a human soul, I need to progress. So what do I do? I need to change the way I think to a more realistic way. "Know the truth and the truth will set you free". Thinking with God is now my #1 ambition.

I like the real life case studies he presents from his practice as a shrink. I can relate to many of these people. They are like me in many ways ( neurotic). It has given me a new perspective on my past. In my opinion, that's all that therapy can do for you, e.g., give you new framework to view your life from. I've had a little therapy, but so far, the best way I've discovered is to learn a new way of thinking about everything. That's a lot of work and many will not go there.

I like the quotes he makes from the wisdom of great thinkers. He stresses that life is complex, no way around it. No easy way of thinking either. It's not black vs white. The gray area is the reality.

He delves into the world of psycho-therapy. It's hard work to face therapy and " the truth" . Often, people live like ostriches with their heads buried up to their necks in sand to escape the truths they ought to face up to.

His view of the purpose of life as a training ground for learning is very interesting. I'm also reading Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" and this ties into his thinking perfectly. We are a creation of God, we live here in His power for His purposes during our time here. The creation can't out think the creator, that's for certain. Maybe all this was covered in his earlier books, I don't know because I didn't read them.

This book has been my therapist for a few weeks. It's a good thing.
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on February 3, 2000
Having read "Further Along the Road Less Traveled", and its predecessor "The Road Less Traveled" I had great expectations for this book. I was gravely disappointed, however, to find that it was nothing more than an annotated bibliography (of sorts) of every book that Peck has written to date. It is, simply put, a long advertisement of the author's writing and practice accomplishments. I wouldn't suggest anyone flatter his ego any more by buying this book!
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