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Although I'm glad I bought & read this book, I felt that the first two books in this series were far more valuable. If you've read the first two and understand the message that they give, then I don't think that this book will teach you anything you don't already know. I don't feel that I really learned anything new from this book as all the points discussed in it were already covered, more or less, in the first two. This book tended to go into them in more detail from the scientific point of view and I felt that, on occasions, it laboured the point a little. For me, this made the book a little boring to read and I found myself switching off sometimes when trying to read it. Having said that, I think this series of books are the best and most valuable books I have ever read. Truly life changing in the most positive yet simple way.
The author states (paraphrasing) that in 2004 there were 23,980,000,000 acts of altruism performed by Americans (according to the National Opinion Center), and during the same period of time the FBI recorded 1,367,009 violent crimes. Is there a Bureau of Altruism that I'm not aware of collecting information on each altruistic act performed by each American? It's rediculous statements like this one that make this book difficult to read. All the "feel good" stuff and all the positive versus negative comparisons are easy reading, but if you're writing something that sounds like fact, it should at least make sense. Also, when the Dalai Lama states that all people are inherently good, he is doing so from his mountain-high view of the world and not from an inner city ghetto or a war-torn part of Bosnia. I would love to think that evil only exists in the act and not in the people performing the act, but that's just not a reality from where I sit. I know in my heart that there are evil people and that evil begets evil; it's the human condition.
I was disappointed in this book. There was too much research and anaysis presented, and I think this detracts from the Dalai Lama's simple wisdom. It seemed like the goal was to present scientific proof that would sway people to believe the Dalai Lama's wisdom. I think really, that it's like preaching to the choir - those reading the book likely already see the underlying wisdom and don't need the scientific proof. For me, I was looking for more from the Dalai Lama and less from research.
It is an okay book. But I did not find it a natural fit for my beliefs. Even with that being said, it is still a very good book for living a life of simple happiness. Slow down, savor the moments of this book.