Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Review of Way of the Peaceful Warrior

I've been meaning to write a review on Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I finished reading it Monday into Tuesday (that should tell you something about the book: I rarely read them in almost one sitting) and intended to write a review then, but life had other plans for me. So now, here it is.

Some of you may have heard of the upcoming (well, it's actually out already, but not anywhere on the East Coast) movie Peaceful Warrior. If you haven't seen the preview for it, you can check that out here. That movie is based on the semi-autobiographical book Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior (or WPW for short) is about the journey of a young man by the name of Dan Millman from a typical 'life of quiet desperation' to something akin to the Eastern concept of enlightenment. However, most people reading or seeing this journey, if not exposed to Eastern-esque schools of thought, might view this as a typical "coming of age story" because it's quite different from all the bildüngsromans (I've always wanted to use that word!!!) typical to Western culture.

Anyway, you can read all of this somewhere else. The thing that really interests me about WPW is the set-up. This book is coined as a "personal growth" book, but it's quite clearly fictional. But that's the greatest part. The way the books set up, you can see the passage of Dan through time, see him grow. And in a way, you can grow along with him.

That's where the tricky part comes in, though. Although you can experience Dan's highs and lows, you can't tap into them in the same way that Dan can. You can't do that until you put in the effort. There are no free lunches. You must follow the path.

But the path is well trodden by many people, and this book simply offers the Way to a modern audience. Whether the path of the Samurai, the Buddhist monk, the Christian Saint, or the humanistic philosopher, all roads lead to Rome.

All in all, I highly recommend Way of the Peaceful Warrior. It's a good, entertaining read in and of itself, with an excellent plot and compelling characters. Add to that the philosophical and spiritual areas covered, and you have a summer beach read that might just WAKE YOU UP. (It did me, but I went right back to sleep).

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