Saturday, December 20, 2008

Two Short Books

"Why is God Laughing" by Deepak Chopra was the quick read I was looking for when I picked it up. It's written very much in the style of Mitch Albom's "For One More Day", but with a little less elegance. It's a consolidation of most of the current spiritual teachings making the rounds but the real meat of the book is in the last thirty-five pages where Chopra outlines his "Path to Joy". I don't mean to sound disparaging about the book, I did enjoy another of his fiction books, Buddha. But this book seemed like it was written while he was doing something else. Not surprising considering how much he does seem to get around.

"Sharing Good Times" by Jimmy Carter was another book I bought iMan for last Christmas. The former president of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize winner is a man I admire. The cover of the book has a photo of him and his wife posing with fish they have caught in what looks like a lake with a mountain background. Early on in the book I had a good laugh when he talked about how his mother always thought his brother, Billy, was the most intelligent of her children. I guess that is something only a mother can know. But he is equally at home living and writing about running a presidential race as he is fishing and farming. One very interesting confession he makes is that when he was younger, he took little regard in his wife's opinion in how their life would run. It was over time and a few humorous incidents that he came to build a true mutual relationship with Rosalynn and grow to admire and respect what she brought to them as a team.
Here is a quote that sums up the main lesson of the book:

"...and really for the first time, I was beginning to consult with Rosalynn and to accommodate her ideas and preferences before final decisions were made. I learned that real sharing was much more than laboring together at the warehouse or even dancing all night with each other and with friends. It included planning in advance and later savoring our experiences. What was especially challenging but enjoyable was treating my wife - and even sometimes our boys - as equal partners, with mutual respect for their opinions and with special delight in their pleasure. This did not come easy for me."

The book has just a smattering of his political life and includes snippets about many of his varied interests such as birdwatching, fishing and travelling. It was heartening to see how a man who started off almost as a male chauvinist could evolve into an open minded man of this time. The true richness of his life came from sharing.

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