From Publishers Weekly
In his third book, American icon Nelson mingles stories, jokes and adages with a collection of "lessons" he has learned "in this life." Loosely basing his book on the philosophical text of the Tao Te Ching, Nelson advocates incorporating into one's life many of the teachings of that ancient work, such as meditation and the belief that all things are interconnected. But while the Tao may inspire this book, Nelson's charming, often humorous tales of his Texas childhood, cowboy lifestyle, and famous and interesting friends make the "mysteries of life" not all that mysterious. Indeed, with chapter titles like "The Golden Rule" and "Don't Think No Negative Thoughts," the book is rooted as much in down-home common sense as it is in mystical philosophy. Nelson also shares his liberal views on subjects like marijuana ("I'll support a war on drugs, but not a war on flowers or herbs"), the environment ("Biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions up to eighty percent") and war ("I believe in peace"). Whatever his message, the "Red-Headed Stranger" conveys his thoughts in the same friendly, endearing manner that has made his songs part of the fabric of American life. (On sale May 9)
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Novelist, golf writer, and longtime Nelson compadre Pipkin mounts this collection of the grizzled singer's bromides, aphorisms, and observations in an upbeat, warm-and-fuzzy manner designed to comfort as much as to guide readers through life's prickly situations. Recurring snippets of "The Willie Way" alternate with Nelson's views on "The Golden Rule," "The Time of the Preacher," and similar timeless topics. No doubt these are heartfelt expressions of Nelson's worldview, but as advice, they are less provocative than those delivered in, say, Hell's Angel Sonny Barger's similar set of musings, Freedom (2005). Likely to comfort those already in Willie's thrall, and likely useless to others, the little collection still has high circulation potential, given Nelson's standing with the boomer music-lover demographic. Such maxims as "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results" can do no harm, and god knows Willie, avuncular and far removed from his "outlaw" days, can't, either. Mike Tribby
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