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The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living
by Dalai Lama
Edition: Hardcover
769 used & new from $0.01

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Inspiring Book, July 14, 2000
"The Art Of Happiness," is a very good book. I didn't appreciate the beauty, and genius behind the thinking of this book, until after I had finished it. While reading, I was most interested, and thought it was very good, but after I had finished the whole thing, I was in a better position to integrate all of the ideas, and see that not only was the book set on a nice premise, but fulfilled its promise - It sets out a clear, achievable, and loving way for people to attain what has become somewhat of a myth to some people: true happiness. I would recommend people read this book at least twice, because there are so many ideas that are portrayed, that they should be absorbed fully. The book has the potential to be a nice first step for many people, myself included. It presents very deep, although sometimes deceptively simple ideas, and the book itself motivates people to be the best they can be. If someone fully integrates the ideas presented into their life, I imagine they would be among a very special few.
The book's form leaves a little to be desired, however. Although mostly effective, the narrative style was sometimes tiresome, it made the flow of the book seem a bit choppy at times, and the reader is subject to some of Cutler's whims, which results in disjoined ideas, and a chapter starting on one premise, and ending on another. That said, the narrative effect is often very effective, and all in all, makes the reader feel more connected with his Holiness.
I was very surprised while reading some of the other reviews of this book. The main complaints were that the book is too simplistic for an avid Buddhist, merely rehashing concepts and ideas they already know, into a more muddled form, and that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was under-utilised, with Howard Cutler being the real writer of the book.
The first complaint, in my mind, if looked at from a slightly different angle, is a bit of a bonus for a non Buddhist, or for new Buddhists. I found that the simplification of some points, and the stripping of a lot of the classic spirituality (such as the concepts in Buddhism of reincarnation etc) to do with Buddhism, made the parts portrayed in this book more effective, more real, and more possible to the average man on the street. Books which are highly accessible, without changing the base message of the higher concepts can be shunned by the establishment, but in fact, should be embraced, as the message will be able to reach, and help, so many more people as a result. This book says itself that it is not a recourse for Buddhist spirituality, and offers a number of books by his Holiness, that are purely on the Buddhist Spiritual practise. If looked at from this way, as a guide for living a happy life, for everybody, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, I think a lot of the disappointments that people have voiced about this book, especially those complaining about its simplicity and lack of attention payed to spiritual matters (although there is a quite large section at the end on how spirituality - any, not just Buddhist spirituality - is more beneficial to ones overall happiness) will dissolve.
The second complaint is a valid Point. This is undeniably Cutler's book, however, that is not in itself negative. I personally found that Cutler's comments, and back up evidence to be invaluable, and persuasive, a very effective way of explaining how some of the Buddhist-type principles His Holiness stated could be stripped to their essentials, and effectively used to help every day people lead a happy life. I think naming His Holiness as the author of this book was misleading, but I was never disappointed. I think the mix of Cutler's Western medical knowledge, and His Holiness' principles of compassion, love and respect was most effective, and all together a lot more self contained than a book on the same subject by each separately. I bought this book for the Dalai Lama's ideas, not specifically because I thought he was the sole writer. Although for the many who may have bought it because they wanted a solid Dalai Lama written book, these pre-conceived expectations would be let down. But I do believe, if they perhaps take the book for what it is, a concise, straight, `how-to' manual for lack of a better word, they wont be so disappointed, and the fact that the Dalai Lama didn't write it fully won't be such a disappointment.
In all, I would highly recommend this book, just so everyone can make up their own mind, and also, I do believe everyone who reads it will pick up something of value from it.


Alanis Morissette: MTV Unplugged
Alanis Morissette: MTV Unplugged
Price: $3.99
243 used & new from $0.01

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly A religious Experience, January 8, 2000
Alanis Morissette has an unique ability that I have seldom ever seen before. There are three aspects of her all over style that must be addressed. Firstly, her voice. Yes, some say she is a screamer, and granted, she has been known to scream alittle in her earlier work on Jagged Little Pill, although whenever she would screech, it was mirroring the emotions the song was written about. She would wail when she was singing about lost love, sexism and pain. In this album, as in Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, she doesnt scream at all. In Unplugged especially, she has a much mellower version of all her songs. Her voice flows easilly, and she has a relaxed way of approaching them all.
Secondally, the lyrics. Alanis is a truely wonderful writer. She has insight and perceptiveness about everything she writes about. Of all the twelve songs on Unplugged, only one is not her own, "King Of Pain" written and composed by "Sting" but she brings a fresh depth and exhuberance to it. The other eleven are a mixture of classics, and three exciting 'new' tracks. All of her classics are revamped, in a delicate, precise way that shows a braveness on her part, because she is so going against what made her famous in the first place, yet brilliantly suceeding, even with a very different style. Noteably, her rendition of "Ironic" and "Joining You" are particually wonderful in thier total difference from the origional versions. The three 'new' tracks are wonderful too. "No Pressure Over cappuccino" is especailly Lyrically rich, with lyrics that are not only catchy, but deep and rich in meaning, both hidden and obvious.
And lastly, the music. Alanis herself plays the harmonica, the guitar and the flute, and probably a few more that she doesnt flaunt as of yet. She has supreme control on all her instruments, so much so that in the flute melody at the end of "That I Would Be Good" I am always drawn to tears by the somewhat eerie meaning that transends her flute playing. Her general music style is always wonderful, mirroring what she is singing about.
All in all, this CD is an absolute marvel. I will not be putting this away for some time. She is so talented, she can sing, write and compose better than anyone I have ever come across. If you want to be immersed by the talent that is alanis, buy this CD.


Spirit
Spirit
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $11.08
603 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jewel Sparkles, January 8, 2000
This review is from: Spirit (Audio CD)
People often criticise Jewel for being to "soft" and "folksey." I am not saying she isnt, because if you listen to her songs, you can tell she really is, but there is reasons why she does this. Her topics are rather dark and disturbing, mainly focusing on the dregs of society and how mean people can be. But that isn't all her songs portray. They have a sence of hope about them. Every last one does. The most popular one off this album would be "Hands" and in it, she is singing about humanities battle with social evils, like homelessness and racism. The music doesnt mirror that aspect of the song. But that isnt what the song TRUELY is about. The song is about how humans can fight these horrible symptoms of somethign bigger and bring HOPE to peoples lives. That is what the music mirrors, not the meaness of why they have to change anything in the first place. Jewel isn't the best singer around, nor is she the most independant by any strech of the imagination. She is too pop orientated at the moment, thast why I quffaw at any attempt made to compare herself to Bob Dylan, but none the less, she is a very good, entertaining, sweet singer who deserves praise for what she does right and not critisism for the small things she could change.


Alanis Morissette: MTV Unplugged
Alanis Morissette: MTV Unplugged
Price: $3.99
243 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly a Religious Experience!, January 1, 2000
Alanis Morissette has an unique ability that I have seldom ever seen before. There are three aspects of her all over style that must be addressed. Firstly, her voice. Yes, some say she is a screamer, and granted, she has been known to scream alittle in her earlier work on Jagged Little Pill, although whenever she would screech, it was mirroring the emotions the song was written about. She would wail when she was singing about lost love, sexism and pain. In this album, as in Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, she doesnt scream at all. In Unplugged especially, she has a much mellower version of all her songs. Her voice flows easilly, and she has a relaxed way of approaching them all.
Secondally, the lyrics. Alanis is a truely wonderful writer. She has insight and perceptiveness about everything she writes about. Of all the twelve songs on Unplugged, only one is not her own, "King Of Pain" written and composed by "Sting" but she brings a fresh depth and exhuberance to it. The other eleven are a mixture of classics, and three exciting 'new' tracks. All of her classics are revamped, in a delicate, precise way that shows a braveness on her part, because she is so going against what made her famous in the first place, yet brilliantly suceeding, even with a very different style. Noteably, her rendition of "Ironic" and "Joining You" are particually wonderful in thier total difference from the origional versions. The three 'new' tracks are wonderful too. "No Pressure Over cappuccino" is especailly Lyrically rich, with lyrics that are not only catchy, but deep and rich in meaning, both hidden and obvious.
And lastly, the music. Alanis herself plays the harmonica, the guitar and the flute, and probably a few more that she doesnt flaunt as of yet. She has supreme control on all her instruments, so much so that in the flute melody at the end of "That I Would Be Good" I am always drawn to tears by the somewhat eerie meaning that transends her flute playing. Her general music style is always wonderful, mirroring what she is singing about.
All in all, this CD is an absolute marvel. I will not be putting this away for some time. She is so talented, she can sing, write and compose better than anyone I have ever come across. If you want to be immersed by the talent that is alanis, buy this CD.


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