Customer Reviews: It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
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on November 1, 2000
My wife and I both read this and found it very worthwhile. I have read a great deal of "heavier" Buddhist material and almost think the word "Buddhist" in the title is unfortunate because it may drive away some readers who would profit from this book. It is really more "common sense" than "Buddhist," and even a Bible-thumping fundamentalist would enjoy it. The author's points are very similar to those of another American Buddhist sage, Charlotte Joko Beck (check out her books as well). The beauty of this book is it's brevity and simplicity. The author basically takes you through her life experiences in short chapters that flow quickly and make their points without preaching. My wife, who has approximately zero interest in the teachings of Buddha, nevertheless found this to be one of the most enjoyable and practical books she has read in a long time. I can't imagine anyone thinking that the couple of hours it takes to read this was time wasted.
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on December 12, 1997
This is a great book, it explains Buddhism concepts in everyday language and in ways that can be incorporated into daily life easily. Buddhism is not just a religion but a philosophy of life. One need not be a buddhist to learn and be enriched by the sound spiritual concepts in this book. I found life to be a bit more of astruggle than I could handle at times in the past until I found this concise, reader friendly book that teaches you that most of life's struggles come from over-attachment to people, places, things, beliefs, etc.Once we realize that life is by it's very nature an ever changing journey and that nothing ever stays the same, we can then find happiness when we let go of our attachments to beliefs, expectations, things, etc. You will find yourself much more receptive to what life has to dish out when you give up the belief that it should be a certain way.
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on June 30, 1999
Sylvia Boorstein is a teacher of meditation with at least 30 years experience. She is regularly invited all over the world to lead retreats and to give seminars. It's Easier Than You Think is a collection of brief essays in which she shows, using examples from her own life experiences, how to apply Buddhist techniques and principles. This little book is clear, down to earth and amusing. It will, above all, be appreciated by those who have been overwhelmed by Buddhist terminology. Here they will find
the essence of Buddhism presented in a way that anyone can understand, appreciate and apply.
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on February 17, 2007
This book was given to me in 1999 by a friend. I was going through a particularly rough period at the time and she thought I might take something away from this book.

What I found was not only a book, but a whole new way of thinking, perceiving the world, and living. This book was my introduction to Buddhism and from there I have expanded in every way possible. I love the way Ms. Boorstein uses personal stories to illustrate the Buddha's teachings. I think this is what makes this book so's down to earth and a common sense approach to sometimes difficult topics to explain in a way that people really understand. This book never fails to bring a smile to my face and like others who have commented, if I am having a rough day I can open this book to any page and find a single sentence that resonates and stays with me.

I've also purchased numerous copies of this book and given them away to friends who are interested in my beliefs. They always come back to me and say, "Wow.....that book was really good!" While they may not experience the dramatic life change that I did they do come away with an understanding and appreciation of my beliefs.
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on November 29, 2003
I'm not "into" Buddhism, per se, but what I've read about the
subject has piqued my interest . . . so did IT'S EASIER THAN YOU
THINK by Slyvia Boorstein, subtitled "The
Buddhist Way to Happiness."
It presents a very readable introduction to the basic tenets of
Buddhism . . . the author's use of stories from everyday
experience greatly help to demystify basic teachings and
make them easily comprehensible.
Boorstein--also a practicing psychotherapist--has done a
masterful job of putting together a guide that is full of
humor, memorable insight and perhaps most importantly, love.
There were several memorable passages; among them:
Going through changes was what Alta was very good at, and, in that
ability, she was my role model. We became good friends and spent
many rainy winter days in her sewing room making clothing, usually
for me. I would talk about my family, and she would talk about
hers-the kind of conversations women have when they sew together.
I was often relieved to see that what I was fretting over as a problem
didn't appear to her to be a big deal, and I noticed she could tell me
about a difficulty in her family that seemed to me to be huge while
she kept right on sewing, not missing a stitch. I knew she was sad, but
she appeared at ease. "Aren't you upset?" I would ask. "I've done
all I could about it," she would say, "so there is no point in being upset."
Here is an exercise in advance Right Speech. Starting tomorrow when you
wake up, don't gossip. See what happens if you just give up making
comments about anyone not present. Listen carefully to the voice in your
mind as it is getting ready to make a comment, and think to yourself, "Why
am I saying this?" Awareness of intention is the best clue for knowing
whether the remark you are about to make is Right Speech. Is your
intention wholesome, a desire to help? Or to show off? Or to denigrate?
I have become more passionate, not less. When I am delighted, which
is often, I am ecstatic. When I am sad, I cry easily. Nothing is a big deal.
It's whatever it is, and then it's something else.
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on June 17, 2011
"It's Easier Than You Think" wasn't the first book I read about Buddhism, but it would have been great if it had. I was interested in Buddhism after reading Jack Kornfeld's "After The Ecstasy, The Laundry" because it described in great detail several experiences I've had in non-Buddhist contexts, so I turned to Boorstein's book to find out more of the basics of Buddhist philosophy.

This book is not deep and mystical. It doesn't delve into the life of Buddha. It doesn't emphasize the esoteric or the difficult-to-understand. And that was why I loved it. I don't think I'm the only one whose first question about a new school of thought is not "tell me all about the history of this philosophy and describe in detail the verbatim teachings of its founder" but "so, what do Buddhists DO?" And this book told me.

I am an atheist. I don't want to convert to a religion. I don't want to study in a Buddhist monastery or take silent retreats. I don't want to dedicate my life to conscientiously following all of Buddha's teachings. I want to learn ways of thinking that will make my life, my everyday life, better and richer. By illustrating basic Buddhist concepts with examples from her own life -- not examples from the mountains of Tibet or traveling from guru to guru, but examples most people can identify with -- Boorstein makes this possible. It's easy to understand how Buddhist ideas affect ordinary situations in my life, and easy to understand how I can begin to consciously employ them to be calmer and more aware. Boorstein is cheerful, humble, touching and personable; she uses simple, everyday language, not religious jargon.

If the goal is proselytizing Buddhism as a religion in which it's crucial to accept, entire, a set of esoteric ideals and concepts, then maybe "It's Easier Than You Think" fails. But if the goal is teaching people a way of thinking that will make life better, than it succeeds roaringly.
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Sylvia Boorstein's "It's Easier Than You Think" is a lovely little book about a Western approach to Buddhism -- an examination of the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path to Happiness through the lens of an American new to the belief system. The chapters are just a few pages, and the language is simple and graceful. Like Natalie Goldberg and Jack Kornfield, Boorstein writes about her own journey to Buddhism, and has many anecdotes about how it has made her perspective more peaceful and loving. All three writers have a lovely light touch -- the spirituality has clearly affected their writing style. I enjoyed the book, and will read her other books.
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on March 22, 2000
I have had this little book for several years. I am on my 3rd or 4th reading of it. Highly recommended. Not "religious", just good sound advice for anyone.
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on September 23, 2004
Fortunately, this book was my introduction to Buddhism. Ms. Boorstein has a wonderful way of using simple, personal stories to illustrate Buddhist principles. I actually have bought several copies since, and the audio tape, to give to interested friends. Many times I've experienced something in life and remember what I learned from the book... and isn't that what makes a book a success? That it stays with you?
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on March 8, 2004
If you are interested in exploring the primary teachings of Buddhism, and you don't want to get scared away, then this is the book for you! It's easy to imagine Ms. Boorstein, going about her day, and thinking about life in the spiritual context. She is very approachable, very "real", and in a series of short chapters, she is able to impart some of the truths that makes the study of Buddhism so wonderful. I chose 4 instead of 5 stars, because there is a bit of the "self-help" stuff going on here, that just wasn't particularly what I was looking for. The writing is right on though, and it is an easy read extraordinaire. This was my first Boorstein book, and I will definitely look for another. So that's the final verdict, don't you think?
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