A worthwhile and readable introduction to Sikhi and a strong testament to peaceful living.

THE LIGHT WE GIVE

HOW SIKH WISDOM CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE

Lessons from the Sikh faith.

Singh provides an accessible work that combines personal testimony of a fascinating and little-understood ethnic and religious minority in America and an introduction to the teachings of Sikhi (the author uses the Punjabi noun as opposed to the colonialized Sikhism). Singh’s life story—and the history of the Sikh community—has been shaped by misunderstanding, racism, and violence. The author recounts a shocking array of racial confrontations with people on public streets, in schools, in airports, and elsewhere. He chronicles the Sikh struggle through numerous periods of oppression and mass murder in India as well as incidents in the U.S., including the post–9/11 murder of a Sikh man and the 2012 massacre of a Sikh congregation in 2012. “They didn’t have to forgive the man who’d tormented them, but they didn’t have to internalize his hate either,” writes Singh. “Rather than calling for blood or revenge, they shared with the world a core Sikh teaching: “No fear, No hate (Nirbhau, Nirvair).” This concept—to “fight hate with love”—has helped the author deal with his own anger. He points to three major components of his faith that shaped his positivity: “chardi kala,” a teaching that imbues life with optimism and gratitude even amid pain and suffering; “ik oankar,” the concept that all people are divine, or have a light of divinity within them, making all people equal and worthy of respect; and “seva,” the practice of expressing love in all things, especially through service. “With each selfless act,” writes Singh, “we become slightly less selfish; with each loving action, we become slightly more loving.” The author calls on readers to seek a life of active empathy, seeing each person, even those who are hurtful, as valuable and worthy of kindness and love.

A worthwhile and readable introduction to Sikhi and a strong testament to peaceful living.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-08797-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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