Wednesday, 24 February 2016

THE ZEN OF LISTENING by Rebecca Z Shafir

The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of DistractionThe Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction by Rebecca Z. Shafir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: TV, radio, traffic, telephones, pagers - our minds are bombarded daily by constant noise and clutter. No wonder so many people find it increasingly difficult to listen and comprehend. Simple pieces of information such as names go "in one ear and out the other." Poor listening may have tragic consequences such as the Challenger disaster and the Potomac River crash of 1982, or it can result in smaller tragedies such as lost promotions, stalled marriages, and troubled children.
Rebecca Shafir assures us that we can transform every aspect of our lives, simply by relearning how to listen. The Zen of Listening is grounded in the Zen concept of mindfulness, a simple yet profound way of learning how to filter our distractions and be totally in the present. Rather than a list of tricks, this book is an all-encompassing approach allowing you to transform your life.

Readers will be amazed at how simply learning to focus intently on a speaker improves the relationship, increases attention span, and helps develop negotiating skills. Learn the great barricades of misunderstanding, find out how to listen to ourselves, discover how to listen under stress, and boost our memory. This is a fun and practical guide filled with simple strategies to use immediately to enjoy our personal and professional lives to the fullest.

MY REVIEW: A very good survey of the practice of listening. What makes this book distinct from other books on listening is it’s location within the practice of mindfulness — which is a popular topic at the moment. Full of practical strategies to improve listening and apply mindfulness (meditation and living fully in the present) to this most significant of human activities. Everyone would benefit from reading this book — even if one didn’t wish to take on the meditative aspects. The author is clearly very experienced and writes in an engaging style.

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016


John The RevelatorJohn The Revelator by Peter Murphy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A stunningly beautiful tale of a boy, his mother, and coming of age in southeastern Ireland.

MY (BRIEF) REVIEW: Stunning it is not. Some of the writing is quite beautiful but the story just never seems to go anywhere in particular — so I was completely unmotivated to keep reading and gave up on the book.

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Friday, 5 February 2016

DIE TRYING by Lee Child

Die Trying (Jack Reacher, #2)Die Trying by Lee Child
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Featuring Jack Reacher, hero of the new blockbuster movie starring Tom Cruise. Jack Reacher, alone, strolling nowhere. A Chicago street in bright sunshine. A young woman, struggling on crutches. He offers her a steadying arm. And turns to see a handgun aimed at his stomach. Chained in a dark van racing across America, Reacher doesn't know why they've been kidnapped. The woman claims to be FBI. She's certainly tough enough. But at their remote destination, will raw courage be enough to overcome the hopeless odds?

MY REVIEW: Very fast-paced, exciting beginning. However, about halfway through, got bogged down in detail and seemed to go nowhere for awhile. I finished the book but, overall, it felt pretty average. This is the third book I've read in this series and will probably leave it and move on to other things.

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