Customer Reviews for

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

Here and Now

After reading happiness books like "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World", I felt like I had a good handle on what science had uncovered about how to live a happy life and have to say that I am MUCH happier for having read them. But, while the field of positive psyc...
After reading happiness books like "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World", I felt like I had a good handle on what science had uncovered about how to live a happy life and have to say that I am MUCH happier for having read them. But, while the field of positive psychology has made some great contributions to my happiness levels, it's books like "The Power of Now" that come along and let you know there's STILL more you can learn.

A key concept of the book (if I'm explaining it right) is that you will start to experience a certain kind of enlightenment when you learn to leave your analytical mind behind. In other words, instead of "thinking" try just "observing your thinking." And when you do this, you also need to realize that all this "thinking noise" that goes on in your head all day long is not really who you are- an enlightening concept indeed!

To that end, the book is set up in a question and answer format to help you get to understand these kinds of concepts. While it might seem ridiculous to some, it really isn't. Case in point, we all talk to ourselves or have witnessed others talking to themselves at times (maybe during a sporting event perhaps). If you ask someone who they are talking to, they will usually say "I'm talking to myself." And this, by definition, means that there have to be two "selves", an "I" talking to "myself"- and so justifies the idea of two selves (a "you" and a "thinking you" in the book).

Well, if these seem to be the kind of concepts you're ready to explore, this is your book. It raises some good questions and certainly brings up one that you can't argue with: all we have is the here and now. As the book so astutely points out, "Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing ever happened in the future, it will happen in the Now." And learning to live in the now IS the point of the whole book.

posted by 532104 on December 5, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Zen with blather

My therapist recommended the audio version of this book. I listened to the CDs and found the first three to be inspiring and helpful. Most certainly, dwelling in the moment is to appreciate and live life. Wasting time in anger, pain, a drug haze, or fantasy is destru...
My therapist recommended the audio version of this book. I listened to the CDs and found the first three to be inspiring and helpful. Most certainly, dwelling in the moment is to appreciate and live life. Wasting time in anger, pain, a drug haze, or fantasy is destructive and only compounds the pain. This is one of the fundamental teachings of Zen and is very well expounded by Thich Nhat Hanh in "The Miracle of Mindfulness", and by Dennis Genpo Merzel in his writings and talks. My therapist put it something like this: Most of the time, our thoughts and constant ruminations are junk. Our mind is occupied with reliving painful events, fantasizing about how we should have reacted, fantasizing about how we are going to handle some anticipated event, even being angry about things that haven't happened yet. If we can learn to let go of all that, dwell in the moment, and focus our mind on what we are doing now we are much more productive, happier, and we can appreciate our lives.

By reinforcing this, the CD set was helpful. However, I found Mr. Tolle's diversion into completely unproven theory and psychology to be distracting and sometimes laughable. As a person making who makes his living with technology, I found his explanations of human behavior and instinct as the result of interaction between positive and negative energy fields absurd. He offers no evidence for such tripe. Indeed, when a questioner asked whether he had any scientific evidence for the statement that one's molecular density decreases when practicing mindfulness, his reply was "Try it and you will become the evidence." This answer indicates that there is no evidence and caused me to doubt that Mr. Tolle even knows what scientific evidence is.

I also found his re-interpretations of cherry-picked phrases from various religious texts to reinforce his points tiresome. I doubt that many Islamic or Biblical scholars would agree with his interpretations, and he again gives no other evidence for his view. He pontificates without giving logical justification for his statements.

A colleague suggested that these "energy fields" and "pain bodies" might serve as intellectual aids to the audience. I have to dismiss this idea. People are smart enough to grasp the ideas in the book without such absurd inventions.

What the CD set did for me was give me motivation to begin practicing meditation again. I thank Mr. Tolle for that.

posted by stephen57 on September 26, 2009

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Muddy and Condescending

    This book was recommended by an acquaintance as being very enlightening. What I awakened to about a third of the way in was the lack of organization, clarity of thought, and utter annoyance at being talked down to. I count this among the poorest pieces on the subject of awareness that I have read in many years and can't really recommend it on any grounds. Better to read D. T. Suzuki or even a book like "Illusions" by Bach.

    8 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2015

    I do believe in the need to be focused on the present. However

    I do believe in the need to be focused on the present. However this book is preachy and concocted. The author introduction as an anxious (unless suicidally depressed) person consumer by a "vortex" and coming out forever changed reads like a bad novel. Even if it was true, how many people do you know that encounter vortexes? I don;t know of any. Also the question and answer approach results in non-effective responses. The author does not answer the question posed. I do think people do spend more time locked in past experiences or planning the future than healthy - and not living today - but this book is not the answer. I've read a number of the 5 star reviews and left with the conclusion these people must have read another book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    Ideas are recycled...Nothing new here

    The concept of living in the here and now is not a new idea at all. The author was redundant and disorganized in his presentation of "recycled" ideas. It is not a wise investment of time to read this book. I would recommend that instead of reading this book, to read material about Buddhism and Mindfulness. I found books by Pema Chodron more insightful and inspirational.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2002

    recycled information

    I am a counselor for people suffering chronic pain. I was hoping this would be a book I could recommend for them to read but I was sadly disappointed. The amount of pressure put on the person to think their way out of difficulties is extreme and unbalanced. The author takes a lot of already documented ideas mixed with a claimed 'spiritual experience' and portrays himself as a guru type guide. What struck me the most was the blame the victim mentality. Also, I was annoyed with the author's twisting the reader into thinking that if they don't agree with him and see problems with his thinking it is the readers 'lack' of correct understanding causing the problem-not that the author's thinking that is a problem. I wish someone would have warned me of the waste of time this book is. Don't torture yourself with the type of mind play and unrealistic problem solving this book promotes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    Epic fail for me

    I tried to love this. I tried to force myself to read this. The words went in one ear and out the other. He used such big words that it sounded like gibberish to me.
    I was highly disappointed, sorry.

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  • Posted July 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Power of Now - Same Old, Same Old

    Nothing matters but what is happening right now. Yeah? So? Nothing new in this book that hasn't been said a gazillion times before. Stay in the NOW, just DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Power of No One Reading Your Book

    As I read Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now, I wondered why so many people had found it intriguing enough to make it a bestseller. And as I continued reading, I continued to search for that answer; but nothing came to me.

    Midway through it, I closed the book and drove myself back to Barnes and Noble where I returned the book.

    This is one of those children's stories that would have remained a bestseller had it never been written and had the idea just found its way precariously into popular culture.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2009

    more like the power of nothing

    Tolle is a genius, turning nonsense and nothingness into money. Don't waste your time or money. It is a rip-off of Zen principles, your money would be better spent on the real article instead of this tripe.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2008

    More money for Tolle!

    The only real change produced from this book (or CD) is more money for Eckhart Tolle! The only "good" information is merely a rehashing of general Zen teachings (which you should get from another source)!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    didn't understand it

    The title of this book grabbed me. I've been having all kinds of problems in my life lately and I thought I'd found the answer to creating a more peaceful existence. WRONG. I am not a dumb person, but I swear, I could not make heads or tails of what I was reading. Very difficult to follow...I'm going back to reading Sylvia Browne.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2008

    Oh, PLEASE!

    Come on, people! Does anyone really need a book that offers 'self help' by taking common sense and re-wording it in a vague manner? If you're over 18 you should know the basics that this book tries to 'beautify'. This is soooo boring and this author and others like him are doing a disservice to humankind...give me a break. Life is what you make it 'duh' and it's HARD. We make mistakes - it's OK. Just try to learn from them and treat people with kindness. End of story...

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2002

    Simplistic and unrealistic view of life.

    This book has repackaged old material nothing new. With its click phrases it tries to catch the reader, then make the reader believe they are wrong if they can not live this way of life. The truth is no one can, we are people made up of our past, present and hopes of the future. His ego has in fact been very present in this book, despite his claim otherwise. In my view this book is not worth your time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    Lacking in Balance and Wholeness

    I found this book lacking in understanding and compassion for the complexity of human existence. It also lacked a clear understanding of the goodness of a loving creator. For someone claiming to understand the role of 'ego' as the author claims he does, he certainly has an interesting way of allowing himself to be portrayed by others in his introductions and forwards. He seems to be tied into the identity of 'Spiritual Master'. It is easy to claim spiritual experience. It is easy to give out partial truths and then embellish them. It is easy to embellish truths in ways that lead readers into thinking if they disagree or feel uncomfortable, it is the reader¿s lack of understanding or immaturity on the spiritual path that needs to be looked at. It is easy to get the reader to disregard the possibility of flaws with the author¿s perceptions and the authors own immaturity. However, it is not always easy to fool all of the people all of the time. Do not waste your money- this is just another book in a long line of guru type books that try to capture a desperate audience. It will have its¿ adherents who swear by it and pass on all the inconsistencies and uncompassionate views while they pass themselves off as superior ¿enlightened beings¿. Unfortunately, they will do little to ¿enlighten¿ a society in pain all the while insisting it is the people who are in pain that need to be ¿enlightened¿.

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    Posted October 21, 2010

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