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A Beginner's Guide to Changing the World: A True Life Adventure Story Hardcover – May 31, 2005
From Publishers Weekly
Losada, an English actress, singer and TV producer, detailed her New Age search for happiness in her previous book, The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment. Now she turns away from the "tummy-button" of her search for personal happiness to take on social action on behalf of Tibet, harshly occupied by China, and its leader in exile, the Dalai Lama. Losada is disappointed by British organizations working in support of an autonomous Tibet, because they don't necessarily embrace the Dalai Lama ("the sanest voice on the planet"). To ease her frustration, Losada makes some contacts, develops a Web site and dreams up some publicity schemes, including "tits for Tibet," involving topless women in a van. Cooler heads prevail, and the author settles for a parachutist jumping from Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square while unfurling a picture of the Dalai Lama, a stunt that attracts international news coverage. Losada also travels to Tibet and falls in love with a monk. An audience she has with the Dalai Lama is recounted in glowing terms. She seems unfamiliar with political, historical and religious complexities, but there's no doubt that Losada is a good-humored, hard-working activist for Tibet. Her heart is in the right place, but much of the time her head doesn't follow. Illus. not seen by PW. Agents, Jonathan Lloyd and Christy Fletcher. (On sale June 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
To Londoner Losada, it was all so illogical. By fighting the war on terror with even more violence, world governments were showing terrorists that such destructive tactics were effective because they had succeeded in gaining international attention. Conversely, the world's leading advocate for peace, the Dalai Lama, was being universally ignored. The message: violence works; peace doesn't. Having already written about achieving personal enlightenment, Losada decided it was time to put her ideas into practice to determine how, or even if, one person could change world opinion. With indefatigable energy, infectious enthusiasm, and indomitable belief in her quest, Losada embraced her mission to protest Chinese domination of Tibet as an opportunity for personal growth as well as for international welfare. Whether traveling to Kathmandu, gaining audiences with Chinese officials, or staging consciousness--raising PR stunts, Losada's courageous, audacious, and frequently humorous journey from mildly interested observer to fully committed activist is an inspirational and illuminating study in the power and possibility of one person's faith and determination. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
It's humorous, but heartfelt, and along the way, while you're amused and entertained at Isabel's adventures, you find yourself understanding the intricate and often heartbreaking story of the Tibetan cause, and the people who suffer for that cause. But the book is infused with hope -- the hope that every one of us can do something to make a difference to any cause that we care about, and hope for the future of Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
You're going to love this book. I did!!!!
Moreover, this book was enjoyable. I learned a lot from what the author had to say -- especially about Tibet -- but its tone was more like a novel than a textbook, so it was fun to read.
Making use of the famed serenity prayer, Losada divides her text into three main sections. Part One: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." Recognizing that she has never done much besides navel-gazing, Losada decides to invest some time in protesting outside the Chinese Embassy, a not particularly auspicious beginning. Next, the author starts investigating, interviewing, and finally traveling to Tibet. Waking up in Kathmandu, Losada details in comical fashion the advice passed along to her from a girl in the know from Tibet: Never squat down in the bushes on the Nepalese side of the Himalayas. Leeches have a way of attaching themselves. Before you know it, you're pouring with blood.
Sounds enchanting. Not to be daunted, Losada repeatedly hears the warning of altitude sickness, which can kill you. More seriously, though, were the injunctions to take extreme care in how one speaks to the Tibetan people regarding their loyalty to the Dalai Lama. And never, ever, hand out photos of the Dalai Lama as they're illegal. Losada does indeed travel and immerse herself in Tibetan culture where she sees both beauty and evil side by side, incongruously thriving together. Hard to accept.
"The courage to change the things I can..." comprises the second part of Losada's tale as she begins making advances in practical activism without much initial success. From approaching the Free Tibet Campaign organization to requesting and receiving an interview with a member of Parliament, from setting up a company, a website, to delving into the nitty-gritty of fundraising via parachuting for donations, Losada makes even the most dreary activities both humorous and sobering.
Finally, in Part Three, "And the wisdom to the know the difference..." Losada's journey becomes at once more introspective and profound as she receives an invitation to meet with the Dalai Lama. It is this portion of the text alone that will likely bring the most fascination to readers. Losada takes her time to carefully unfold the details of this once in a lifetime encounter and the results are most satisfying.
While Losada communicates with regular dashes of humor and wit, she likewise is serious about making a difference in the world. Even the most socially complacent readers will glean tips on how vital doing "one's bit" is to a better, safer, more peaceful world. As the Dalai Lama so succinctly states, "If the individual acts, society is changed."
--- Reviewed by Michele Howe
Ostensibly a book about a woman (author Isabel Losada) who decides to do something to help the people of Tibet (the Chinese should be ashamed of themselves for what they've done to that peaceful country!), A Beginner's Guide is a book for anyone who longs to LIVE life to its fullest. It's a book for people who yearn for adventures, yet never take the first step toward making them happen.
It isn't just for people interested in Buddhism, either. It's a fun-to-read, inspiring book that anyone, of any religious faith, could embrace and enjoy.
Written in a breezy conversational style, A Beginner's Guide is a tale told wonderfully and joyfully. It recounts Ms. Losada's adventures in Tibet, revealing a side to that country's people the Chinese don't usually let people see. If you'd like to see Tibet, but don't have the time or money (or government permission) to go there, A Beginner's Guide to Changing the World is the next best thing.
I wholeheartedly embrace Ms. Losada's desire to help the people of Tibet. I think what happened (and is happening) in that country is just as terrible as anything that happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany. A Beginner's Guide to Changing the World is one woman's attempt to come to grips with the enormity of the situation and to do something about it. (And you'll never believe what kind of things she dreams up to do about it!)
But, again, this book is not heavy-handed or dire. This is one of the most joyful and positive books I've come across in a long time.
I strongly recommend Isabel Losada's book A Beginner's Guide to Changing the World.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was browsing through a bookshop in Cavan, Ireland one day last year when i picked up this book. I almost felt drawn towards it.Read more