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This book is worth four stars based solely on the skillful summary of scientific evidence on the benefits of mindfulness. The author is an experienced science writer and it shows.
The book earns a fifth star for the surprising, ambitious, thoughtful chapter on "The Fall," which claims that mental illness and suffering evolved in the African Savannah, when humans diverged from chimps. It is a fascinating theory that puts the book's claims in a much broader perspective. As I listened to the final chapters on the mindfulness studies, I found myself anxious for this chapter to arrive.
Any drawbacks are minor: The summaries of the science are repetitive at times, but the author breaks up the parade of data with interesting and illustrative anecdotes. The speculation about the biology of "Siddhartha's Brain" feels a little clumsy and forced at times—but it's a small part of the book, and it helps to emphasize the secular and scientific dimension of the book's argument. (I.e., the Buddha had a brain, too, like the rest of us.)
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
The author did an excellent job of comparing Science and Buddhism. One of my all time favorite 100 books. Well written and read.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful