Search Inside Yourself Increase Productivity, Creativity and Happiness by Chade-Meng Tan (2012-01-01) Paperback – January 1, 2012
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-There is absolutely nothing new in this book. The author has simply rehashed the work of the introduction writers Goleman, Kabat-Zinn and of several other authors.
- The meditation exercises given are standard Buddhist meditation exercises that have been in print for many years. Some appear to have been copied almost verbatim from the above mentioned authors. (I am surprised Google allows an employee to publish non original material)
- The other exercises he uses in his Google course "Search Inside Yourself" ("one on one listening", etc) are standard New Age techniques that have been in place for many years.
-The book is written in a straightforward style, easy to digest for the newcomer.
- If the book has helped anyone to find a happier life, then it is overcomes the criticisms listed above.
This was one of my first exposures to mindfulness, and it was refreshing to find something that spoke my language. Instead of all the mystical BS, Medical Jargon, or Boring long winded words that make no sense, the book explained why Mindfulness works, and how you can use it. The book is based on a course that was internally developed at Google, called Search Inside Yourself. This has now Branched into an outside organization, called Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, or SIYLI. Cheng-Meng Tan was the one that pioneered the course, and later institute. And he has serious programmer chops.
What I have found is there are two different schools of Mindfulness. They both have similarities, but they have a bit difference approach.
- Medical as a way to reduce pain. the idea being you get rid of future and past pain, by focusing only on the present pain. You have now reduced your pain by 2/3rds! Jon Kabat-Zinn is the god father of this movement, and his classic book is Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
- Buddhist, that often has a more mystical point of view. Your breath is often the focus, but there is a philosophy behind it.
I have attended a Medical type mindfulness class, as well as one by SIYLI, and a couple of meditation retreats by a Buddhist Monk Bhante Yogavacara Rahula, who has an amazing past, and a few other seminars including one by Jeremy Hunter of the Drucker School of Management. They all have had value, but the book Search Inside Yourself explained the why, which made it click. Mindfulness has been an excellent tool for reducing stress. I view it as giving your brain a mental break, which helps a tremendous amount and your mind is a muscle, and it needs exercising. Mindfulness is a great way to exercise your brain!
Given the amount of neuroscientist-level jargon needed to establish credibility, I had to continually put the book down after a 15-20 pages to digest the information. I also used that time to try the recommended activities, which were a welcomed reprieve.
Overall, it's a worthwhile read, but it's likely much easier to get certified through one of their "SIY" conference seminars. I don't get through many books if I have to muscle through them, but something kept bringing me back to Meng Tan's work.