Book: Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions

Tiny Buddha by Tiny Author. She's "petite" and so's the book!

Buddhist by coincidence; written from a self-help perspective; story of my life.
278 pages, ★★★★★

I’m anything but tiny. But after three days of doing stressful bank-related stuff, I really needed to read this book. I’d already waited several weeks for it to be published (I got caught up in the pre-release internet hype) and yesterday, it finally arrived at my lavishly-decorated front door. Happy Lantern Festival! It was well worth the wait.

Tiny Buddha is Buddhism without Buddha. Author Lori Deschene steers so clear of jargon that the usual Sanskrit and self-help vocabulary (except “mindful”) are nowhere to be seen. Rather than teach us the basics, the history (or anything) about Buddhism, Tiny Buddha condenses all the worthwhile advice from hundreds of self-help manuals down to one easily-readable book. Read this book properly and you can ignore everything else from the self-help section. By omitting Buddha almost entirely, Lori Deschene both proves that Buddhism is not a dogmatic religion, and that the new-age self-help genre is merely Buddhism re-evolved.

The author’s journey is the most inspiring aspect of this this book. She spent years drifting (as I did) in what David Brooks would call the “Odyssey” (the stage between adolescence and mature adulthood). She hopped between tiny apartments, overworked, underslept, and didn’t trust anyone long enough to maintain friendships or relationships. She did almost exactly the same things as I did (there’s mention some friends of teaching in China) and uses her own experience justify her authority as a teacher.

Episodes from Tiny Buddha resonated with me. The author analyses why she once overworked and found it unsatisfying (I used to set financial goals before I realised that nothing happened when I achieved them). The author also tells us why she felt cheated after a $495 “life-changing” seminar (I can relate to this). Read this book and you’ll find your own stories. All of them are accompanied with covertly Buddhist solutions.

Tiny Buddha might not be a book about Buddha, but it’s certainly a book about you. ★★★★★

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