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A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill
BY Matthieu Ricard, Daniel Goleman
Read by Robert Fass

Hachette Audio
December 11, 2018 / ASIN: B07L5ZNBMD
Nonfiction / Philosophy / Audiobook - Unabridged 8 hours- 59 minutes

Reviewed by Nicole Merritt


Happiness as a title alone is enough to invite the reader into this book. Then add Ricard’s credentials as a Cellular Biologist. Further, enhance the validity of the information given by the fact that he served as the Dali Llama’s personal translator and, well, it is a winning combination. Narrator, Robert Fass takes a little acclimation because of his heavy accent, but is overall very compelling as a Buddhist storyteller.

The book is all about feelings. Ricard teaches that our feelings, however intrinsic and real, can be adjusted to help us enjoy true happiness. We all get angry, but the ability to control our anger is part of a learned response that can be changed. The five mental poisons that distort our perception of reality are responsible for factors that disrupt our inner wellbeing. When we blame others or the outside world for bad things that happen, we are not taking responsibility for ourselves.

His story of walking in the Himalayans for days and wanting to stop because of the extreme temperature and tiredness is likened to our anxiety being the result of not having direction in one’s life. It is important to grasp one’s own potential for change. Changing the negative outlook into a positive one can result in freedom. Simply knowing that making a small change in our thoughts can change our existence, is a revelation we can all use in our everyday experiences. I listened to this audio book with intense focus. As a Christian, I did not feel the least bit intimidated by the Buddhist lessons. His presentation was simple and to the point. I got a lot out of it and felt that I could use some of the lessons in dealing with my emotions as well. Getting rid of toxic thoughts that affect how we look at things and deal with others is an important lesson for us all. If you have trouble dealing with your emotions and need some guidance in harnessing some of those chronic thought patterns that send you into a spin every time they come up, listen to this audio book. If you have ever been interested in meditation but unsure of it at the same time, Ricard speaks to fear and offers clarity.

Reviewed 2019