Wicks (Riding the Dragon) uses his experience as a veteran psychologist to introduce fourth-century desert wisdom to readers of all faiths. According to Wicks, the ancient desert fathers and mothers can "provide proven guidance on how to let go and live with a refreshing sense of freedom in the world." His book makes for a compelling read when he blends his understanding of the world's wisdom traditions—drawing from a variety of thinkers such as Henri Nouwen, Zen Master Joseph Goldstein and Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche—with his knowledge of human behavior. One of his great strengths is grounding abstract theological concepts in engaging stories, like when he introduces the virtue of gratitude with a tale of the "barefoot brother" he met in India, who had lived through many tragedies yet was so appreciative of Wick's presentation to the Jesuits. At points, the text tackles too much in too little space. For example, the first of the four desert questions—What am I filled with now?—includes five rather complicated ancillary questions for reflection. Still, the book is an excellent guide to the wisdom and insight of the early pilgrims who fled to the desert to better hear and live out the word of God. (Mar.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.