Biography, Buddhism, and Madness – not all in one book


The newest Non Fiction books to enter the English language collection vary widely.

I.   Buddhist Boot Camp by Timber Hawkeye does not propose to teach about Buddhism, rather it is one man’s distilling of the religion into a simple guide to happiness and gratefulness for what a person already has.

What is Buddhist Boot Camp all about?

Buddhism is all about training the mind, and boot camp is an ideal training method for this generation’s short attention span. The chapters in this small book can be read in any order, and are short and easy to understand. Each story, inspirational quote and teaching offers mindfulness-enhancing techniques that anyone can relate to.

There is absolutely no reason to argue over which religion came “first” or whose philosophy is “better”. The important thing is to be kind, understanding, peaceful and compassionate, which is actually fundamental in all religions and schools of thought. “ (from the Buddhist Boot Camp website).

Timber Hawkeye also gives a TedX talk.

II.   The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson is a a look at the business of psychology.  Using humour, Ronson investigates what is normal, what is madness, how are diagnosis made, personality traits, etc. Both disturbing and funny – is it the voice of reason?

III.   Tolstoy: a Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett. “The extraordinary character of the giant is captured better by Bartlett than by any previous biographer.” (Spectator)

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