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The Life We Are Given (Inner Workbook) Paperback – October 20, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

George Leonard has introduced LET to more than 50,000 people in the United States and abroad. He is the author of a number of books on human possibilities and social change, including Mastery (Plume 1992), and lives in San Francisco, California.
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Product Details

  • Series: Inner Workbook
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; Revised ed. edition (October 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874777925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874777925
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
People have been writing manuals for transformation for millenia. One only needs to pick up a copy of the Dhammapada or the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali to find instructions for self-transformation that go back as far as civilized man. A trip to the bookstore can show you that this certainly hasn't changed- self-help books on the shelves today range from the practical ("Achieve Optimal Health in Eight Weeks!") to the unlikely ("Pick Winning Lotto Numbers Every Time!") to the downright wacky ("Awaken your Gerbil's Psychic Powers!"). Many of these books promise change and transformation in a short period of time... a few days or weeks. Instant enlightenment.
Michael Murphy and George Leonard have been watching and inspiring the human potential movement (the fountainhead for the "instant enlightenment" approach) for decades- in fact, they gave the movement it's name. And, in the four decades that have passed since Murphy founded his world-famous Esalen Institute, they've learned an important lesson: there is no quick fix. No instant moksha, no express nirvana, no overnight transformation. Real change takes years or decades of intensive work. To this end, they have founded a new kind of practice for a real new age: Integral Transformational Practice, or ITP- which is introduced in "The Life We Are Given".
ITP is not a seminar, it's not a weekend retreat. You have to be willing to give up, evolve, and let the chips fall where they may. Moreover, you have to be willing to engage in intensive practice over long periods of time- years, at least.
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Format: Paperback
Despite all of the respect I have for Leonard and Murphy with their theoretical work in various fields and their other books, I found "The Life We are Given" to be two things: a simple, and somewhat effective practice, and prematurely self-congratulatory.

Before reading on, if you are someone who is looking for a way to transform your life and to create new and healthy habits--if you don't already have a practice of your own--I DO recommend this book. The program is simple, logical and very encouraging. Not to mention it's simply a great place to start.

The book is basically a concoction of meditation, Yoga, fitness, affirmations, and a healthy diet. Obviously these are things you can practice on your own, seperately, but I suppose the ITP is a convenient way to combine these if you're unfamiliar with them otherwise.

Now for my problems with the book.

1) Despite having an acute interest in transpersonal practice, meditation, yoga, and other "spiritual" disciplines, my "New Age" radar goes off a few times during this book. Even though things like visualization and affirmations can be effective, they're just as effective in different mental forms...i.e., not so sugar-coated. I may be splitting hairs here, but I prefer my practice to be described to me in terms that will make sense beyond "your hand cares for your heart."

2) The other qualm is the self-congratulatory tone of the book. Murphy and Leonard are amazing men, who have contributed a lot, but they seem to stand on a pedestal here as if they've stumbled across something groundbreaking, when its not. The ITP is simply a recipe of practices that already exist on their own and that CAN be practiced on their own.
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Format: Paperback
The techniques and philosphy found in the Life We Are Given are simple, challenging and profound. After reading the book I was priviliged to join in the practice described in detail in the book with one of the authors, George Leonard at the Aikido Dojo he cofounded in Mill Valley. If you are serious about integrating spirit,mind and body while you are at work in our hyped up society, you will find this book to be invaluable.It is all about being purposeful in your personal growth. Leonard has created a video tape that makes the practice ( a combination of aikido, yoga, meditation, guided imagery)easy to learn and make your own. Now in his 70s, Leonard and his co author Murphy continue to be pioneers and leaders in helping people realize their full human potential.
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Format: Paperback
First off I'm really sorry to rain on this parade of 5-star reviews only. As with any book, I say: "buy it if you want to, you can always send it back" - don't let my review put you off getting this book if you feel you want it.
I however, will be sending this book back. Why?
Because it's full of stuff I, and most likely everyone who has done some reading in the self-help and self-improvement section, already know(s).
Let me explain:
This is what "Integral Transformative Practice" (ITP) consists of:
1 - A simple routine (called "ITP Kata") of Tai Chi or Chi-kung like exercises and stretches, to be done 5 times a week or more.
2 - Affirmations
3 - Exercise (cardiovascular and strength)
4 - Healthy diet (low fat in this book :-) ) and
5 - Meditation
Now, as you can see you can most likely create your own little routine with books you already own.
There's a bit about the importance of doing this work within a group of dedicated ITP practitioners (nay for a loner like myself), and some info about energy work (ch'i if you prefer) and such.
It was a bit dissapointing because there are no grand promises, no new and exciting revelations. It's simply "Do this stuff and you'll be healthy and happy."
So, in conclusion: Good for beginners, bad (or at least boring) for your average hardcore self-help nut.
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