Oops He Did It Again!

It may seem weird to use a Britney Spear’s song title for a book review about Zen Buddhism. However, we’re talking about Brad Warner’s latest book “It Came from Beyond Zen! More Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master”. Warner is well known for dropping some popular cultural throughout his books. (Full disclosure, I doubt he’s a Britney fan.)

As for truth in advertising, the title fits the reality. Again, Warner goes through the teachings of Dogen and breaks it down so us non-Japanese speaking, non-Chinese speaking, non-practicing Buddhists can understand the frequent twists and turns that Zen writings can take. First Warner translates the texts into a layman’s translation, then follows that with some information about other English translations and explains his personal interpretations on what each writing means. Therefore, Warner is one of my favorite writers when it comes to Zen Buddhism. He works hard so it’s accessible for everyone.

I know it’s a short review, but what more can I say? Researched, thought provoking writings presented in an accessible, fun manner.

Learn more about “It Came from Beyond Zen!” here.

Tarot Made Simple

Prepare yourselves for what you are about to see! There are loads of books on the subject of tarot and how to do tarot readings, but I think I may have come across one of the best for beginners or people with horrible memories (like me). Let me introduce you to “Tarot Made Simple” by Liz Dean.

“Tarot Made Simple” has this fantastic split page design that allows you to choose your tarot spread, leave that page open to follow along, but also lets you look up individual card meanings without losing the page the spread is on! Watch this short video of the book in action!

What more is there to say? I think it’s a great resource, particularly with its unique format.

You can learn more here.

The Life You Were Born to Live

By Dan Millman

Author Jack London once proposed that “It takes hard writing to make easy reading.” The Life You Were Born to Live took some hard writing. It was born from twenty small pages of handwritten notes, taken from several lectures given by an unusual mentor in 1985. Eight years passed, bringing experiences and insights from hundreds of personal life readings — eight years before I began teaching the system to small groups of helping professionals — eight years before those twenty handwritten pages expanded into a 500 page book to clarify and focus earlier work of many esoteric traditions.

One key element of this book is the section on spiritual laws specific to each life path for individuals born between 1750 and the year 2000. These laws, expressed as guiding principles, can help anyone overcome the hurdles on their own life path. So it is not only a book providing insight, but also action. Most people who read about their life path are astonished at the accuracy of the material. Especially when it makes no scientific sense how the date of one’s birth can provide a doorway to accurate, reliable insight into the core drives and qualities of one’s life.

As I explain in the Preface of the new 25th Anniversary Edition: We all share an innate desire for meaning, direction, and purpose — a desire as important to our psychological growth as eating is to our biological survival.

Yet few of us consciously recognize that we even have a specific life path or purpose. Meanwhile, our potential and destiny call out to us, sending messages through dreams, intuitions, and our innermost longings — hidden drives that define our personality, shape our careers and relationships, and influence the quality and direction of our life.

Until we recognize and live in accord with our underlying purpose, life may feel like a puzzle with missing pieces, as if there’s something we’re here to do but we can’t quite grasp it. As actress Lily Tomlin once quipped, “I always wanted to be somebody, but maybe I should have been more specific.” Lacking these specifics, we work and rest, eat and sleep, make money and spend it, and experience our share of pleasures and difficulties, even as clarity about our life purpose eludes us.

Over the years, I’ve written a number of books about the peaceful warrior’s approach to life — facing our inner battles with courage, compassion, and higher wisdom. The Life You Were Born to Live, one element of my work, presents the Life-Purpose System, a tool for insight and a map that reveals your life path up the mountain you’re here to climb and the most direct route to reach the summit.

The Life-Purpose System enables you to expand your awareness of not only your path but the paths of friends, loved ones, clients, colleagues, and others. The insights and guidance provided can help psychotherapists, physicians, physical therapists, bodyworkers, social workers, managers, teachers, coaches, and other helping professionals enhance the effectiveness of their ongoing work, adding a measure of compassion and insight.

Beginning in 1985, I applied, tested, and refined this system by working with thousands of people. The system’s strength lies in its relative simplicity and directness, and its demonstrated effectiveness over time. The enthusiastic responses I’ve received inspired me to write this book and to expand and revise it.

Many systems of personality typing exist in both psychological and spiritual traditions. While self-analysis can generate the impulse to change, the Life-Purpose System provides the means — namely, specific spiritual laws keyed to each life path to help us transform our health, our relationships, our work, and every other facet of our life.

For the 25th Anniversary Edition — the first major revision since the original publication — I’ve added new life-path information to include all those born in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. While the original edition addressed the thirty-seven life paths of those born in the twentieth century, this edition includes all forty-five life paths now possible. I’ve also added new insights about those working single-digit birth numbers, which only began appearing in the new millennium, and I reveal more about the origins of this particular system and how I came to share it with you. Other refinements reflect the added knowledge of twenty-five more years of real-life experience of many thousands of individuals working with the system. Even those familiar with earlier editions of the book can gain new insights.

The Life-Purpose System has illumined my life and the lives of many others, bringing new levels of clarity and compassion. I trust that this book will bring fresh appreciation and empathy, generating an impulse to make a positive difference for friends, family, and maybe even our planet. In the meantime, may this book guide you toward the fulfillment of your personal destiny — the life you were born to live.

I am gratified that my publisher, New World Library, encouraged me to make significant revisions and updates to the new, 25th Anniversary Edition of The Life You Were Born to Live. The number of life paths has increased from thirty-seven (for those born before 2000), to forty-five life paths, including relatively rare one-digit birth numbers for some children born after the year 2000. I’ve also written sections about what makes these single-digit numbers unusual, and how that relates to so-called “master numbers.”

If you are new to this work, and have healthy skepticism, I only ask that you keep an open mind. I also refer you to my website — www.peacefulwarrior.com — and to the free Life Purpose Calculator, which will reveal your birth number (and the birth numbers of friends and loved ones), and provides a few words about your life path — the beginning of greater insight and compassion as you discover the life you were born to live.

About Dan Millman:
Dan Millman, former world-champion gymnast, coach, martial arts teacher, and college professor, is the author of seventeen books published in twenty-nine languages and shared across generations to millions of readers. His internationally bestselling book “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” was adapted to film in 2006. Dan speaks worldwide to people from all walks of life. He lives in New York City. www.PeacefulWarrior.com.

From the book, “The Life You Were Born to Live — Revised 25th Anniversary Edition”. Copyright © 1993, 2018 by Dan Millman. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. NewWorldLibrary.com

The Green Burial Guidebook

Not to be morbid, but we’re all going to die. We generally learn this at a young age, which gives you (hopefully) plenty of time to ponder that fact. For as long as I can remember I told people that when I died to donate any parts of my body that could help others, cremate me, and toss the ashes in the garbage because they don’t really matter. I found the idea of my body being around in an urn, or with a headstone somewhere, to be kind of a burden on those left behind. Why bother? I’ll be dead so who cares what happens?

Then, thanks to the internet I started seeing articles about having your ashes put in a seed pod to grow a tree. Suddenly there seemed like there was a way for my body to still be useful! Of course that was the stuff of essentially internet legend, right?

This all brings us to the fascinating book “The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial” by Elizabeth Fournier. What an amazing resource! I got to learn about the impact our deaths have on the environment. Embalming, caskets, even cremation all have different impacts on the environment. Fournier expertly explains all these differences and how you can choose to lessen the environmental impact of your burial. Better still, she takes you step by step through the funeral process. Different types of funerals, various laws to consider, figuring out what to be buried in, cremations, and more are clearly outlined. Once you’re loaded with all this information and feel ready to act on your new knowledge, Fournier offers a bunch of resources.

“The Green Burial Guidebook” is a helpful book to read to just to learn about the after death process of legally burying someone and honoring the deceased wishes. Essentially if you, or anyone you know, is planning on dying one day, you should read this book.

You can learn more here.

Who Doesn’t Love Caddyshack?

The folks at Audible.com reached out to me with a new book to share. I was excited when I learned it had to do with the movie “Caddyshack”, because who doesn’t love “Caddyshack”? The book is called, “In Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story” by film critic for Entertainment Weekly Chris Nashawaty. Here’s the details:

Caddyshack is one of the most beloved comedies of all time, a classic snobs vs. slobs story of working-class kids and the white-collar buffoons that make them haul their golf bags in the hot summer sun. It has sex, drugs, and one very memorable candy bar, but the movie we all know and love didn’t start out that way, and everyone who made it certainly didn’t have the word classic in mind as the cameras were rolling.

In Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story, film critic for Entertainment Weekly Chris Nashawaty goes behind the scenes of the iconic film, chronicling the rise of comedy’s greatest deranged minds as they form The National Lampoon, turn the entertainment industry on its head, and ultimately blow up both a golf course and popular culture as we know it. Caddyshack is at once an eye-opening narrative about one of the most interesting, surreal, and dramatic film productions there’s ever been and a rich portrait of the biggest and most revolutionary names in Hollywood. So, it’s got that going for it…which is nice.

On a fun side note the audio book is narrated by Peter Berkot, who played Angie D’Annunzio in the “Caddyshack”!

Audible.com was nice enough to provide a clip for me to share with you!

Loves Me, Loves Me Not

I keep hearing that this strange season called spring is approaching. Flowers will be blooming and markets everywhere will be selling all kinds of arrangements for Mother’s Day. However, before you pick a flower based on its looks, wouldn’t it be cool to know what that flower represents? Enter “Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Hidden Language of Flowers” by Peter Loewer.

If you read my review of the “Botanical Inspirations” deck then you already know that global culture and folklore has always attributed special meanings for flowers based on their appearance or practical applications. Peter Loewer specifically takes a look at the Victorian era and their love of the language of flowers. “Loves Me, Loves Me Not” profiles 50 flowers and better yet each entry is paired with a beautiful, full color illustration by Loewer.

Obviously this book is great for nature and flower lovers. Now I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but if I was considering getting flowers for someone as a gift, I would absolutely buy this book, pick the flowers based on their meanings, and then give the flowers AND this book as a gift. But you know, you do you. “Loves Me, Loves Me Not” is a delightful and informative read that is made for sharing!

You can learn more here.

Read Around the World

You wouldn’t think that an online travel company could pitch me something I would absolutely want to share with you, however TravelBird pulled it off. They reached out to ambassadors around the world asking which book they believe best represents their country. Clever, right? The answers are part of a larger study. The larger project began by contacting embassies in over 50 countries around the world, asking ambassadors several simple yet revealing questions about their homeland. Their answers offer cultural insights and unique insider tips on how to experience their country how locals do. The questions were as follows:

If a person is visiting your country for 48 hours, where should they go? What should they see? What should they eat?

Is there a common cliche about people in your country which you believe is misrepresentative or untrue?

Which book, fiction or non-fiction, best represents your country?

You can check out the full results here. But I’m here to talk about the books. The results were interesting, but a lot of them are not in English. This just reminds me that I wish I was fluent in other languages. Sigh.

Facundo Vila, Argentina’s ambassador to Finland: Martín Fierro by José Hernández, 1872

Betina Pasquali Fonseca, Argentina’s ambassador to Norway: El Aleph by Luís Borges, 1945

Nélida María Cintreras de Ecke, Argentina’s ambassador to Sweden: El Aleph by Luís Borges, 1945

Dr. Peter Huber, Austria’s ambassador to Germany: Der Trafikant (English title, ‘The Tobacconist’) by Robert Seethaler, 2012

Elizabeth Ellison-Kramer, Austria’s ambassador to Hungary: Das Buch Österreich: Texte, die man kennen muss (translates in English to ‘The Book of Austria. The text you have to know’) by Hans Rauscher, 2005 and The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig, 1942

Dr. Phil. Heidemaria Gürer, Austria’s ambassador to Netherlands: Die gute Küche: Das österreichische Standardkochbuch (translates in English to ‘The good kitchen’: The Austrian Standard Cookbook) by Ewald Plachutta & Christoph Wagner, 1993

Thomas Stelzer, Austria’s ambassador to Portugal: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (English title, ‘The Man without Qualities’) by Robert Musil, 1930-1943

Matthias Radosztics, Austria’s ambassador to South Africa: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (English title, ‘The Man without Qualities’) by Robert Musil, 1930-1943, Das Augenspiel (English title, ‘The Play of the Eyes’) by Elias Canetti, 1985, Die Dämonen (translates in English as ‘The Demons’) by Heimito von Doderer, 1956, Die Tante Jolesch: oder Der Untergang des Abendlandes in Anekdoten (English title, ‘Tante Jolesch: Or, The Decline of the West in Anecdotes’) by Friedrich Torberg, 1975

Susan Bincoletto, Canada’s ambassador to Switzerland: The Promise of Canade by Charlotte Gray, 2016

Juan José Quintana, Colombia’s ambassador to Netherlands: Cien Años de Soledad (English title, ‘One hundred Years of Solitude’) by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, 1967

Jorge Leyva, Colombia’s ambassador to Norway: El amor en tiempos de guerra (English title, ‘Love in Times of War’) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1985

Román Macaya, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States: Cuentos de mi tía Panchita (translates in English to ‘Stories of my Aunt Panchita’) by Carmen Lyra, 1920

Tomislav Bošnjak, Croatia’s ambassador to Egypt: Gricka vjestica (English title, ‘The Witch of Grič’) by Marija Zagorka, 1913

Jetter Nordam, Denmark’s ambassador to Finland: Den afrikanske farm (English title, ‘Out of Africa’) by Karen Blixen, 1937 or Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, 1835

Aníbal de Castro, Dominican Republic ambassador to Belgium: Cuentos escritos en el Exilio (translates in English as ‘Tales written in exile’) by Juan Bosch, 1964 or Más cuentos escritos en el Exilio (translates in English as ‘More tales in exile’) by Juan Bosch, 1964

Julio Simon Castaños Z., Dominica Republic ambassador to Switzerland: La Mañosa (no English translation) by Juan Bosch, 1935

Fernando Bucheli, Ecuador’s ambassador to Netherlands: Memorias de Andrés Chiliquinga (translates in English to ‘Memoir of Andrés Chiliquinga’) by Carlos Arcos Cabrera, 2013

Hannu Kyröläinen, Finland’s ambassador to Austria: Putkinotko (no English translation) by Joel Lehtonen, 1919

Timo Ranta, Finland’s ambassador to Belgium: Kalevala, Elias Lönnrot, 1849

Vesa Vasara, Finland’s ambassador to Denmark: Tuntematon sotilas (English title, ‘The Unknown Soldier’) by Väinö Linna, 1954

Ritva Koukku-Ronde, Finland’s ambassador to Germany: A History of Finland by Henrik Meinander, 2011

Erik Lundberg, Finland’s ambassador to Norway: Trollvinter (English title, ‘Moominland Midwinter’) by Tove Jansson, 1957

Nicolas Protonotarios, Greece’s ambassador to Slovenia: Odyssey by Homer, approx. 8th century BC

Luis F. Carranza, Guatemala’s ambassador to Switzerland: Hombres de Maíz (English title, ‘Men of Maize’) by Miguel Ángel Asturias, 1949

Nagy Zoltán, Hungary’s ambassador to Belgium: A Pál utcai fiúk (English title, ‘The Paul Street Boys’) by Ferenc Molnar, 1906

Dr László Zsolt Szabó, Hungary’s ambassador to New Zealand: A gyertyák csonkig égnek (English title, ‘Embers’) by Sándor Márai, 1942

Tom Hanney, Ireland’s ambassador to Austria: Solar Bones by Mike McCormack, 2016

Jacob Keidar, Israel’s ambassador to Switzerland: The Bible, The Old Testament

Giorgio Novello, Italy’s ambassador to Norway: Il nome della Rosa (English title, ‘The name of the Rose’), Umberto Eco, 1980

Keith Azzopardi, Malta’s ambassador to Italy: The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat, 1973

Dr. Albert Friggieri, Malta’s ambassador to Germany: The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat, 1973

Joseph Cole, Malta’s ambassador to Netherlands: The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat, 1973

Y. Ramjanally, Mauritius ambassador to Belgium: Paul et Virginie by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, 1788

Eloy Cantú Segovia, Mexico’s ambassador to Belgium: Pedro Páramo (no English translation) by Juan Rulfo, 1955

Carlos Pujante, Mexico’s ambassador to Denmark: Pedro Páramo (no English translation) by Juan Rulfo, 1955

Jorge-Castro Valle, Mexico’s ambassador to Norway: El Laberinto de la soledad (English title, ‘The Labyrinth of Solitude’) by Octavio Paz, 1950 or La Región más Transparente (English title, ‘Where the Air is Clear’) by Carlos Fuentes, 1958

Agustín Gasca Pliego, Mexico’s ambassador to Sweden: Como Agua para Chocolate (English title, ‘Like Water for Chocolate’) by Laura Esquivel, 1989

Lamia Radi, Morocco’s ambassador to Norway: Le Petit Prince (English title, ‘The Little Prince’) by Antoina de Saint Exupery, 1943

Matthijs van Bonzel, Netherlands’ ambassador to Spain: Nijntje (English title, ‘Miffy’) by Dick Bruna, 1955

Nicole Roberton, New Zealand’s ambassador to Austria: Māori Myths and Legends by Alexander Wyclif Reed, 1964

Jørn Eugene Gjelstad, Norway’s ambassador to Greece: Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way by Lars Mytting, 2015

Manuel Lobo Antunes, Portugal’s ambassador to the United Kingdom: Mensagem (translates in English to ‘Message’) by Fernando Pessoa, 1934

Manuel de la Cámara Hermoso, Spain’s ambassador to Finland: Don Quijote de la Mancha (English title, ‘Don Quixote’) by Miguel de Cervantes, 1615

Fredrik Jörgensen, Sweden’s ambassador to Denmark: Ett drömspel (English title, ‘A Dream Play’) by August Strindberg, 1902, Nils Holgerssons (English title, ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils’) by Selma Lagerlöf, 1907, Pippi Långstrump (English title, ‘Pippi Longstocking’) by Astrid Lindgren, 1945, Rid i Natt (English title, ‘Ride this Night’) by Vilhelm Moberg, 1941 or I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 2011

Walter Haffner, Switzerland’s ambassador to Austria: Das Kalb vor der Gotthardpost (translates in English to ‘The calf in front of the Gotthardpost’) by Peter von Matt, 2012

Andrej Motyl, Switzerland’s ambassador to Poland: Die Physiker (English title, ‘The Physicists’) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, 1961 or Homo Faber (no English translation) by Max Frisch, 1957

Cèsar Mèndez Gonzàlez, Venezuela’s ambassador to Switzerland: Doña Barbara (translates in English to ‘Ms Barbara’) by Ròmulo Gallegos, 1929

Ngo Thi Hoa, Vietnam’s ambassador to Netherlands: Truyện Kiều (English title ‘The Tale of Kieu’) by Nguyen Du, 1820

Traditional Magic Spells for Protection & Healing Review and Giveaway

I have a hard time writing reviews for Claude Lecouteux’s books. They’re all dense tomes of knowledge, meticulously researched, and loaded with excerpts and references from medieval texts. One doesn’t casually breeze through one of his books, you slowly follow the path that he lays out before you. And his latest “Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” is no exception.

As usual Lecouteux turns his scholar’s eye towards highlighting the intersection of Christianity and Pagan beliefs, this time with medical practices tossed in. In medieval times health issues were a matter of body, the spiritual world, and spiritual concerns. Not only does Lecouteux outline means of diagnosis, but addresses the cures whether you’re being afflicted with an evil spell, or tormented by a demon. Incantations against wolf bite, using alum in water to help someone regain their speech, charms against demons, and obviously so much more!

“Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” is a must for magic nerds like myself. Honestly, every Claude Lecouteux book is a must own.

You can learn more here.

Guess what? Due to a mix up at Inner Traditions I have a copy of “Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” to give away!

The winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter contest below on Sunday, April 29th at 11:59 PM Eastern time. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Witches, Sluts, Feminists

So this book has been out for nearly a year. I didn’t get to it right away, and the next thing you know, here we are, nearly a year later. However, no matter how long it sat in my “to do” pile I knew I would eventually get to it. I mean, the book is called “ Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive”, how could I resist? And although almost a year old, this book is more relevant than ever.

Kristen J. Sollee’s book is a fascinating exploration of the way non-conformist women have been treated by society historically and in modern times. There is an intricate web woven with the threads of sexuality and gender identity and the label witch that examined in great depth utilizing extensive research and interesting first person interviews. All of this makes “Witches, Sluts, Feminists” a must read for anyone woman who considers herself a witch and/or part of “the resistance” we’re seeing today.

If you want an informative, eye-opening read, Sollee’s “Witches, Sluts, Feminists” should go to the top of your “to do” pile!

To learn more, click here.

Bad Princess

When I learned that Kris Waldherr, author of the wickedly fun book “Doomed Queens”, had a new book called “Bad Princess” coming out I knew I had to read it. I didn’t care that it was intended for ages 9-12 years-old. And yes, “Bad Princess: True Tales from Behind the Tiara” is geared for younger readers, but it still has much to offer anyone interested in learning about the true nature of royalty.

In spite of its slender 130 pages of larger size font, “Bad Princess” is full of interesting and fun facts about the fate of royal daughters throughout history, folklore, and fiction. As you may surmise from the title, being a “good” princess in the past seems less desirable than the way “bad” princesses lived their lives. Along with tons of factual information Waldherr maintains her reputation for fun by also including a “Tournament of Princesses” which pits Princesses of history against Princesses from stories. There is also a cute board game called “Princess: Paths to Power”. In it you try to dodge getting tossed into dungeons, avoid bad marriages and squabbles with other Princesses, to ultimately take your place as Queen.

“Bad Princess” by Kris Waldherr is fun read for everyone.

To learn more or purchase a copy visit here.